Access to information law plagued by delays and secrecy

Canadians using the Access to Information Act have expressed concern about excessive delays in the production of government records and even a “culture of secrecy.”

The findings come in an interim report from a federal review of the access law, the main federal transparency tool, that summarizes the feedback collected during the consultations.

The Access to Information Act allows Canadians to request records, including internal documents such as emails and expense reports, from federal government agencies.

People using the system complained that the exemptions and exclusions were “over-applied,” preventing the release of relevant government information.

The interim report also says that users lamented the government-wide inconsistencies in the application of waivers.

Treasury Board Chair Mona Fortier says the government is committed to a full review of the access law and the report is an important first step.

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 22, 2021.

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