Access to Information Act - The CHA demands immediate action

Published on: 30 Jun 2016

Ottawa, 30 June 2016

The Honourable Scott Brison
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
President's Office
90 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0R5

Dear Minister Brison,
I write on behalf of the CHA/SHC, an organization representing many researchers who use the Access to Information Act (ATIA) on a regular basis. The frustrations of our members with the ATIA have grown over time as they have experienced increasing delays, and most important, a narrowing of access through administrative interpretation of the Act.

In the attached memo on the ATIA, we argue for a thorough revision of the Act after a consultation with stakeholder groups. These revisions should also encompass an examination of more recent provincial access legislation and comparisons with international examples which are, in some cases, more advanced than our dated legislation.

The need for revision has already been well documented, not only by organizations like the CHA/SHC, but also by regular reports on the problems with the Act issued by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Most important, we want to argue very strenuously that the current timetable set out by the government for consultation and revision be accelerated, to begin this year. Since there has already been recognition that the current act is badly in need of repair, it would be preferable to begin the process as soon as possible.

Your sincerely,

 Dr. Joan I. Sangster, FRSC
Vanier Professor, Trent University
Peterborough, Canada K9J 7B8
Canadian Historical Association/Société historique du Canada

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