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Professionalizing Access to Information Officers
For many years, there has been a recognition that those who administer access to information and privacy rights constitute a new profession – a profession having specialized knowledge, specific ethical obligations, and direct impact on the rights of Canadians.
In recognition of this reality, this year, the Canadian Access and Privacy Association (CAPA), primarily composed of federal government access to information and privacy employees, and the Canadian Association of Professional Access and Privacy Administrators (CAPAPA), primarily composed of provincial and municipal access to information and privacy employees, announced the establishment of a joint committee to develop canadian professional standards – and associated training, education, ethical requirements, and certification – for "information rights" professionals. Both the federal Privacy Commissioner and the Information Commissioner have endorsed this initiative and have agreed to be represented on the committee.
Professionalizing the administrators of information rights, whether those rights are administered in government institutions or in private sector firms, will yield better informed, more consistent, and more principled implementation and delivery of information rights programs.
The government of Canada is urged to support the professionalizing of its ATIP administrators and to reflect such support in ATIP officer job descriptions, hiring practices, and training plans.