B. Proposed Changes to the Act
(i) Proposed Changes further to Bill C-12
The Government Bill C-12 (previous session Bill C-78) entitled AnAct to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts (Received First Reading in the Senate on December 11, 2006, Debates at 2nd Reading on March 1st, 2007) proposes to amend the following sections of the Act:
Added to subsection 20(1):
(b.1) information that is supplied in confidence to a government institution by a third party for the preparation, maintenance, testing or implementation by the government institution of emergency management plans within the meaning of section 2 of theEmergency Management Act and that concerns the vulnerability of the third party’s buildings or other structures, its networks or systems, including its computer or communications networks or systems, or the methods used to protect any of those buildings, structures, networks or systems [section 8].
Amends subsection 20(6):
(6) The head of a government institution may disclose all or part of a record requested under this Act that contains information described in any of paragraphs (1)(b) to (d) if (a) the disclosure would be in the public interest as it relates to public health, public safety or protection of the environment; and (b) the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs in importance any financial loss or gain to a third party, any prejudice to the security of its structures, networks or systems, any prejudice to its competitive position or any interference with its contractual or other negotiations [subsection 8(2)].
Amends subsection 27(1):
27. (1) If the head of a government institution intends to disclose a record requested under this Act that contains or that the head has reason to believe might contain trade secrets of a third party, information described in paragraph 20(1)(b) or (b.1) that was supplied by a third party, or information the disclosure of which the head can reasonably foresee might effect a result described in paragraph 20(1)(c) or (d) in respect of a third party, the head shall make every reasonable effort to give the third party written notice of the request and of the head’s intention to disclose within 30 days after the request is received [section 9].
Amends paragraph 35(2)(c):
(c) a third party if
(i) the Information Commissioner intends to recommend the disclosure under subsection 37(1) of all or part of a record that contains — or that the Information Commissioner has reason to believe might contain — trade secrets of the third party, information described in paragraph 20(1)(b) or (b.1) that was supplied by the third party or information the disclosure of which the Information Commissioner can reasonably foresee might effect a result described in paragraph 20(1)(c) or (d) in respect of the third party, and
(ii) the third party can reasonably be located.
However no one is entitled as of right to be present during, to have access to or to comment on representations made to the Information Commissioner by any other person [section 10].
Section 12 of Bill C-12 provides for a coordinating amendment with Bill C-2 as follows:
If Bill C-2, introduced in the 1st session of the 39th Parliament and entitled the Federal Accountability Act, receives Royal Assent, then, on the later of the day on which section 154 of that Act comes into force and the day on which section 1 of this Act comes into force — or, if those days are the same day, then on that day — paragraph 35(2)(c) of the French version of the Access to Information Act is replaced by the following:
c) un tiers, s’il est possible de le joindre sans difficultés, dans le cas où le Commissaire à l’information a l’intention de recommander, aux termes du paragraphe 37(1), la communication de tout ou partie d’un document qui contient ou est, selon lui, susceptible de contenir des secrets industriels du tiers, des renseignements visés aux alinéas 20(1)b) ou b.1) qui ont été fournis par le tiers ou des renseignements dont la communication risquerait, selon lui, d’entraîner pour le tiers les conséquences visées aux alinéas 29(1)c) ou d).
(ii) Proposed Changes further to Bill S-223
The Senate Private Bill S-223 entitled An Act to amend the Access to Information Act (Received First Reading on February 15, 2007 and received Second Reading on March 1, 2007) proposes the following:
Amends subsection 16.1 (1) of the Act:
16.1 (1)The following heads of government institutions shall refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains information that was obtained or created by them or on their behalf in the course of an investigation, examination or audit conducted by them or under their authority:
(a) the Auditor General of Canada;
(b) the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada;
(c) the Information Commissioner; and
(d) the Privacy Commissioner.
(2) However, the head of a government institution referred to in any of paragraphs (1) (a) to (d) shall not refuse under subsection (1) to disclose any record that contains information that was created by or on behalf of the head of the government institution in the course of an investigation or audit conducted by or under the authority of the head of the government institution once the investigation or audit and all related proceedings, if any, are finally concluded [section 1].
Amends subsection 22.1 (2) of the Act:
(2) However, the head of a government institution shall not refuse under subsection (1) to disclose a draft report of an internal audit of a government institution or any related audit working paper if a final report of the audit has been published or if a final report of the audit is not delivered to the institution within two years after the day on which the audit was first commenced [section 2].
Adds section 26.1 of Act:
26.1 Despite any other provision on this Act, the head of a government institution may disclose all or part of a record to which this Act applies if the head determines that the public interest in the disclosure clearly outweighs in importance any loss, prejudice or harm that may result from the disclosure. However, the head shall not disclose under this section any information that relates to national security [section 3].
(iii) Proposed Changes further to Bill S-216
The Private Senate Bill S-216, entitled An Act providing for the Crown’s recognition of self-governing First Nations of Canadareceived Second Reading and was referred to Committee (Aboriginal Peoples) on December 13, 2006. The Committee met on February 27 and 28, 2007. The Bill will amend section 8 of thePrivacy Act by adding to subsection 8(6):
(e) a recognized First Nation under the First Nations Government Recognition Act.