Canada's Former Information Commissioners (1983 to 2009)

Suzanne Legault

Suzanne Legault

Suzanne Legault joined the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) in 2007 as assistant commissioner and became acting commissioner two years later. She was officially nominated Information Commissioner of Canada on June 2010 for a seven-year mandate. Ms. Legault’s mandate was subsequently extended until February 28, 2018.

As an expert in her field, Ms. Legault 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 as Assistant Commissioner, Ms. Legault worked at the Competition Bureau as Deputy Commissioner of Competition and Special Advisor to the Commissioner. She also worked as Crown counsel for the Department of Justice as a competition lawyer and practiced law as both defence counsel and Crown counsel.

Ms. Legault is a member of the Ontario Bar and the Quebec bar. She holds a bachelor degree in civil and a bachelor of common law from McGill University and a certification from Osgoode Hall Law School in Adjudication for Administrative Agencies, Board and Tribunals.

Robert Marleau

Robert Marleau

Robert Marleau, B.A., D.U., was appointed Information Commissioner in January 2007. He has received many honours throughout his distinguished career, such as the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.

Mr. Marleau has 32 years of parliamentary service, 13 of which were spent as Clerk of the House of Commons. He penned the authoritive procedural manual called, House of Commons Procedure and Practice, now in use in most Canadian legislatures.

In 2001, he was made an honorary officer of the House of Commons by unanimous resolution of the House, and received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater, the University of Ottawa.

He is a lifetime member of the Commonwealth Society of Clerks at the Table, an honorary member of the Association of Canadian Clerks at the Table, and an honorary member of the Association of Former Parliamentarians.

In June 2003, he was appointed by the Governor in Council for a six-month term as Interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, following the resignation of the former Commissioner. Mr. Marleau was given a mandate to restore credibility and sound management practices for the Privacy Office. In December 2003, he returned to retirement and his parliamentary consulting practice with clients in Canadian, Caribbean and African legislatures, as well as municipal councils in Canada.

From 2007 to 2009, he was appointed as the fourth Information Commissioner of Canada.

Mr. Marleau returned to public life in 2012 as the current Integrity Commissioner for the City of Ottawa.


The Honourable John Reid, P.C.

John Reid

John Reid was born on February 8, 1937, in Fort Frances, Ontario. He received a Bachelor of Arts in 1959 and a Masters in History in 1961 from the University of Manitoba. He continued his studies in history at the University of Toronto from 1960 to 1963.

In 1963, Mr. Reid became the Special Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Technical Affairs. In 1965, Mr. Reid was elected Member of Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River, Ontario. He also served as Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Broadcasting, Film and Assistance to the Arts (1969 to 1972); Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (1972 to 1975); Minister of Federal-Provincial Relations (1978 to 1979), and Chair of the House of Commons Committee on Procedure and Organization. From 1981 to 1984 he was Co-chairman, Canadian Group, of the Canada-U.S. Parliamentary Association.

As Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Reid was charged with improving the flow of requested information to Members of Parliament. This led him to collaborate with Jedd Baldwin, M.P., to develop a report on information and privacy of the Scandinavian countries, a series of Committee hearings, the first Access to Information Bill introduced by Walter Baker in 1979, culminating in the current Access to Information Act, introduced by Francis Fox in 1983.

After 18 years of public service, Mr. Reid retired from federal politics and established John Reid Consulting, a public policy and government affairs consulting business. During that same year, he became the part-time Executive Director of the Forum for Young Canadians, a position he held for five years. From 1987 to 1990, Mr. Reid was the Founding Chair of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians.

From 1990 to 1995, Mr. Reid was the President of the Canadian Nuclear Association. In 1996, he represented Canada as a senior member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a member of the Provisional Election Commission with responsibility for the writing of an Election Act and its implementation. In 1997, he became the Political Advisor to the Chief Electoral Officer of the United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slovenia (Southern Croatia).

On July 1, 1998, Mr. Reid began his seven-year term as Canada's Information Commissioner.

In 2001, Mr. Reid received the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, which is awarded to former parliamentarians who have made an outstanding contribution to Canada and its democratic institutions.


John Grace

Photo of John Grace

John Grace (1927–2009) was born in Ottawa, Ontario. He earned a Bachelor of Arts diploma at St. Patrick's College. Dr. Grace furthered his education in Washington, D.C. where he attended The Catholic University of America and graduated with a Master of Arts in 1952. He then earned a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Grace began his career as a journalist in 1958 for the Ottawa Journal, and was later promoted to chief editor and vice president of the newspaper until it closed in 1980. 

During his time at the Ottawa Journal, Dr. Grace was also a part-time lecturer at the University of Ottawa, and served four terms as a member of the university's board of governors. Between 1971 and 1977, he also served two terms as a member of the Canada Council for the Arts.

After the Ottawa Journal closed, Dr. Grace was appointed Commissioner of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. In 1983, he served a seven-year term as the first Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Dr. Grace was the second Information Commissioner of Canada from 1990 to 1998.


Inger Hansen

Inger Hansen

Inger Hansen (1929-2013) was Canada’s first Information Commissioner from 1983 to 1990.

Born in Denmark on May 11, 1929, Ms. Hansen immigrated to Canada in 1950. She attended the University of British Columbia where she received a Bachelor of Law in 1960. She practised law in British Columbia, mainly as counsel in criminal matters.

Ms. Hansen subsequently joined the federal Department of Justice, working primarily on matters related to penitentiary services and inmates' rights. This led to her appointment in 1973 as the first Penitentiary Ombudsman.

In 1977, Ms. Hansen was appointed to the Human Rights Commission as Canada's first Privacy Commissioner, where she was responsible for complaints relating to privacy rights and data protection. In 1983, she was appointed as Canada's first Information Commissioner. In 1991, Ms. Hansen began a new career, with her appointment to the Ontario Court of Justice, serving in Kitchener, Toronto and Ottawa, before serving on the criminal bench in Perth, Ontario for several years until 2003.

In these many roles, Ms. Hansen was a pioneer. She won many awards and honours throughout her career, including honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Carleton and Trent Universities, as well as the Order of Commander of Dannebrog, Denmark's highest civilian honour, with the assent of the Queen of Denmark in 2000. She earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Queen's University in 1996.

Ms. Hansen passed away on September 28, Canada’s Right to Know Day.