Cri de coeur! Is the Access to Information (FOI) slipping into irrelevance

IrreloevanceApril 24, 2015.  Hill Times publishes an article titled “Access to Information regime slipping into irrelevance?” written by Professor Michel W. Drapeau.  

The article suggests that the Minister responsible for the administration of this Act [The President of the Treasury Board] should charge the Auditor General to conduct a wall-to-wall audit of the Access to Information (ATI) regime including the modus operandi and staffing of the Office of the Information Commissioner which added to an already large number of executives by recently appointing a “Commissioner-in-Residence”.  

The article is written as a veritable “cri de coeur by the author who is becoming increasingly alarmed by the slow descent of the ATI regime into irrelevance.  A situation brought upon by a combination of factors including but not limited to the patent resistance by government institutions to the right of access coupled with:

a) the significant bureaucratization of the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) which has seen a significant growth in the number of executives and a corresponding decrease in the number of investigators;

b)  a significant reduced public presence by the Commissioner in the public domain to both alert Canadians to the deteriorating health of the access regime;

c) an unsustainable and detrimental focus by the OIC on changing the ATI statute  as opposed to making the current ATI work for users;

d) a large backlog of ATI complaints which now requires years before access users be provided with a Report of Findings and Recommendations which is, in turn, signed off by a junior official instead of the Commissioner. 

See article:  Hill Times article (ATi irrelevance)

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