The federal Access to Information Act turns 30!

Ottawa , July 6, 2012 –The Access to Information Act received Royal Assent 30 years ago, on July 7, 1982. At that time, Canada was one of the few nations to open its doors to transparency in government.

In the early years of the Access to Information Act, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that the fundamental purpose of the Act is to facilitate democracy, by allowing citizens to participate meaningfully in the democratic process and by holding the government to account. In the 30 years since, Canadians have exercised these rights.  

However, while Canada was a trailblazer in government transparency three decades ago, today, the Access to Information Act would benefit from an assessment with other, more progressive, freedom of information laws around the World.

There have been many attempts to reform the Access to Information Act. “Our investigations have demonstrated a number of deficiencies in the law which hampers the development of a truly open government,” said Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada.

In the coming months, the Office of the Information Commissioner will engage in a dialogue with the public and stakeholders on the modernization of the Access to Information Act.  This will launch a detailed review by the Commissioner of the Act’s provisions, including a comparative analysis of other jurisdictions, with a view to making recommendations to Parliament on possible improvements to the Act.

Canadians expect to benefit from access rights that are equivalent or superior to those in other jurisdictions. “A strong freedom of information law is a necessary step towards sustainable transparency and accountability,” said the Information Commissioner.


Media requests:

For any media requests, please contact:

Josée Villeneuve
Director of Public Affairs
Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 947-2223