Retrospective on the Tenure of Former Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault
Suzanne Legault completed her nine-year tenure as Information Commissioner of Canada on February 28, 2018.
Commissioner Legault and her team at the Office of the Information Commissioner conducted more than 15,000 investigations and argued several precedent-setting cases before several levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Commissioner Legault was also an early champion of Open Government and encouraged the Government of Canada to get involved in the Open Government Partnership and adopt a made-in-Canada strategy towards openness and transparency. She appeared before a Canadian parliamentary pommittee in April 2010 on the topic of open government and proactive disclosure. Subsequently, in 2011, the government joined the Open Government Partnership and Canada is now a co-chair of its steering committee.
Commissioner Legault was a strong advocate for modernizing the Access to Information Act. In a March 2015 special report to Parliament, she made 85 recommendations for modernizing the Act, covering themes such as the institutions that the Act should apply to, the right of access, timeliness, proactive disclosure, and the Commissioner’s oversight powers.
This report led to a study of the Act conducted by a House of Commons committee. The committee tabled a report in Parliament in June 2016 featuring 32 recommendations that closely aligned with Commissioner Legault’s.
When the government tabled Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts in 2017, Commissioner Legault tabled a comprehensive response in Parliament to the Bill, offering recommendations for improvements to benefit Canadians.
Throughout her mandate, Suzanne Legault worked to enhance public understanding of the right of access by presenting at speaking engagements across Canada and the world, hosting and attending various access and transparency conferences, and appearing before numerous Parliamentary committees. She also collaborated with colleagues and advocates from across Canada and around the globe, working closely with her fellow Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Information and Privacy Commissioners on joint resolutions, and assisting various countries with their transparency initiatives.
Commissioner Legault will be remembered for her important contributions as an agent of Parliament and her tireless efforts to advance access rights on behalf of Canadians.