Legislative activity affecting the Access to Information Act and touching on access to information in general, 2011–2012

Amendments to the Act, the Schedules and the Regulations
Statute or Order in Council Bill Citation Received Royal Assent Amendments
An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts C-10 Statutes of Canada: 2012, c. 1 March 13, 2012 Section 120 amends subsections 6(1) and (2) of the Criminal Records Act which is found under Schedule II of the ATIA. The amendment pertains to terminology and has no impact on the ATIA.
An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011 and other measures C-13 Statutes of Canada: 2011, c. 24 December 15, 2011 Subsection 71(2) amends section 241(3.2) of the Income Tax Act that addresses the disclosure of information relating to charities listed in Schedule II of the Access to Information Act (ATIA). The amendment adds registered Canadian amateur athletic associations. The impact on the ATIA is minimal as the exception to non-disclosure is broadened.
An Act to reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board and to make consequential and related amendments to certain Acts C-18 Statutes of Canada: 2011, c. 25 December 15, 2011 Section 58 strikes out “Canadian Wheat Board” from Schedule I of the ATIA. The section would only come into effect once the Canadian Wheat Board was dissolved under Part 4 or continued as a corporation under Part 3. Section 57 provides that in either case, records that were under the control of the Board prior to its removal from Schedule 1 of the ATIA are subject to the Library and Archives of Canada Act.
New laws that touch on access to information in general
Statute or Order in Council Bill Citation Received Royal Assent Amendments
An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act C-19 Statutes of Canada: 2012, c. 6 April 5, 2012 The Act affects records retention policies regarding the Long Gun Registry and gun licenses.
An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012, and other measures C-38 Statutes of Canada: 2012, c. 19 June 6, 2012 This Act contains numerous amendments to Schedules I and II of the ATIA, both striking out and adding references.
A third Act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of Quebec and to amend certain Acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law S-3 Statutes of Canada: 2011, c. 21 November 29, 2011 A change was made regarding privileged information in the Business Development Bank of Canada Act. It harmonizes the language to include equivalent civil law terms.
Proposed legislation and private members’ bills of note
Proposed legislation Bill Last stage at March 31, 2012 Proposed changes
An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts C-15 First Reading in the House of Commons on October 7, 2011 Section 115 proposes to strike out “Canadian Forces Grievance Board” from Schedule I of the ATIA and add “Military Grievances External Review Committee”.
An Act to enhance the financial accountability and transparency of First Nations C-27 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on November 23, 2011 This Act deals with access to information held by aboriginal governments.
An Act to amend the Access to Information Act (response time) C-253 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on June 23, 2011 The ATIA would be amended to add to section 9 the procedure to follow when a request is still outstanding after hundred days.
An Act to establish and maintain a national Breast Implant Registry C-255 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on June 23, 2011 Schedules I and II of the ATIA would be amended to add Registrar of the Breast Implant Registry and Breast Implant Registry Act.
An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census questionnaire) C-260 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on June 23, 2011 This bill would amend the Statistics Act to provide that the census of population taken under section 19 of that Act must be taken using a long-form census questionnaire
An Act to establish the office of the Veterans’ Ombudsman C-283 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on September 23, 2011 The ATIA is applicable with respect to the inclusion of personal information in a report.
An Act to amend the Access to Information Act (open government) C-301 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on October 29, 2011 The bill includes numerous amendments to the text of the ATIA, as drafted by former Information Commissioner John Reid in 2005.
An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act (disclosure of undertakings and demands) C-333 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on October 21, 2011 This bill requires proactive disclosure of certain information under the Investment Canada Act.
An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act (enhanced ministerial oversight) C-334 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on October 21, 2011 This Act proposes to repeals section 36 of the Investment Canada Act, which is listed in Schedule II of ATIA.
An Act to establish the Department of Peace C-373 Introduction and First Reading in the House of Commons on November 30, 2011 A new government institution would be added under Schedule I of the ATIA.
An Act to establish and maintain a national registry of medical devices S-202 Second Reading in the Senate on November 2, 2011 The Medical Devices Registry Act would be added to Schedule II of the ATIA.

Other parliamentary activities of interest

Senate inquiries
Inquiry Topic and date Excerpt
Inquiry No. 17 Statement by the Honourable Senator Francis Fox, P.C. on November 30, 2011 on the Canadian Access to Information System

“…[The Access to Information Act] deserves to be constantly updated and can only be updated with the cooperation of the government of the day. This pillar of our democracy calls for a constant recommitment by the authorities to ensure that transparency is part of our political DNA. […]

Nearly 30 years after the coming into force of the legislation, our access to information system needs to be reinvigorated in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century and remain effective. It often takes so long to process requests for information that it would seem the government is denying people information. I would like the current Prime Minister to send a clear message to every component of the machinery of government: the culture of proactive disclosure of documents must take precedence over the culture of secrecy. […]

 

Rapports du Comité permanent de l’accès à l’information, de la protection des renseignements personnels et de l’éthique
Report 1: Access to Information Dispute and the Resulting Court Actions Concerning CBC (adopted by the Committee on February 28, 2012; presented to the House on March 8, 2012) The Committee calls on the Government to amend section 68.1 of the Access to Information Act in accordance with the expert testimony heard during the study. In doing so, the Government should consider international models as presented by the Information Commissioner.