Info watchdogs call on governments for ‘duty to document’ key public decisions

By on January 26, 2016

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OTTAWA—Canada’s information watchdogs are calling for laws that would force public officials to write important things down.

In a joint resolution, federal and provincial information commissioners express concern about a trend toward no records turning up in response to formal access requests from the public.

They want governments to create a legislated duty requiring public bodies to document matters related to their deliberations, actions and decisions.

The duty would be accompanied by oversight and enforcement.

The watchdogs argue a lack of records not only diminishes accountability, it compromises the ability of public organizations to make evidence-based decisions, fulfil legal obligations and preserve the historical record.

They say a duty to document does not mean drafting more records, but rather creating and keeping the right ones.