The Information Commissioner of Canada
Suzanne Legault was named Information Commissioner of Canada in June 2010 for a seven-year mandate. She was appointed on an interim basis for a six-month term, effective June 29, 2017. During her tenure, the Commissioner and her team conducted more than 10,000 investigations and completed several systemic investigations. She tabled Special Reports to Parliament on the health of the access to information regime, the use of instant messaging in the federal public service, the political interference in the processing of access to information requests, the federal government’s retroactive nullification of access to information rights in the case of the Long Gun registry, and a comprehensive road map to modernize the outdated Access to Information Act.
The Commissioner steered several precedent setting cases through the Federal Court, including the interpretation of the provisions dealing with the CBC, the reasonableness of time extensions under the Act, and a reference dealing with the application of fees for electronic records.
The Commissioner is a recognized leader both nationally and internationally. She has worked to advance freedom of information at home and abroad. She has supported her national colleagues through joint resolutions, various provincial legislative reform initiatives and interventions before the courts. She has assisted many countries in their efforts to advance transparency in partnership with the Carter Center, the Organisation of American States, the World Bank and Global Affairs Canada. Notably, she has worked in India, Nigeria, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico. In 2011, she hosted the 7th International Information Commissioners conference. The Commissioner was an early advocate for Open Government leading the way for the adoption by the federal government of its Open Government initiative.
As an expert in her field, the Commissioner has received a number of awards including the Spencer Moore Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, the Canadian Open Data and Social Justice Award in 2014 and her office received an award for Leadership and Education from the University of Alberta in 2013.
Before joining the OIC in 2007 as Assistant Commissioner, she worked at the Competition Bureau as Deputy Commissioner of Competition and Special Advisor to the Commissioner. During her tenure, she led legislative and parliamentary initiatives and worked on competition matters in various industry sectors, including oil and gas, air, rail and land transportation sectors, banking, telecommunications, health, and security. She also worked as Crown counsel for the Department of Justice as a competition lawyer.
Before joining the Competition Bureau, the Commissioner practised law as both a defence counsel and a Crown counsel.
The Commissioner is a member of the Ontario Bar and the Quebec bar. She holds a bachelor degree in civil law and a bachelor of common law from McGill University and recently received certification from Osgoode Hall Law School in Adjudication for Administrative Agencies, Board and Tribunals.
She has been married for 27 years and has three adult children and resides in Ottawa. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, soccer, swimming and yoga. She is also an avid traveler.