Info watchdog warns access system fragile as complaints to her office rise

By , on June 5, 2014


OTTAWA—Complaints to the federal information watchdog about access to government records climbed 30 per cent last year.

In her annual report, Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault says she continues to have serious concerns about the access to information system—and the resulting harm to Canadians’ right to know.

The Access to Information Act allows people who pay $5 to request a variety of records from federal agencies—from correspondence and briefing notes to expense reports and audits.

The government is supposed to respond within 30 days, or provide good reasons why a delay is necessary.

Legault renews her call to modernize the law—which has barely changed since it took effect more than 30 years ago—to ensure government transparency and accountability.

She says administrative fixes to the system, which are bearing some fruit, can only do so much.