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Fact Sheet

The purpose of Right to Know is to raise awareness of an individual’s right to access government information, while promoting freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance.


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International Right to Know Day originated in 2002 in Sofia, Bulgaria at an international meeting of access to information advocates, who proposed that September 28 be dedicated to the promotion of freedom of information worldwide. Representatives of Freedom of Information (FOI) organizations from 15 countries took part – Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, India, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Rumania, Slovakia, South Africa, and USA, as well as representatives of international organizations active in the FOI field.

Since 2002, the popularity and scope of Right to Know Day has grown. In Canada, for example, Right to Know celebrations have expanded into a week-long event coast to coast. Right to Know Week events consist of conferences and panel discussions, workshops and seminars, the tabling of special reports and studies on access to information, as well as presenting awards in recognition of those who support access to information rights.

Why Exercise Your Right to Know?

Every Canadian citizen has the right to request access to government records – a right that is preserved through various federal, provincial and territorial laws across Canada. This democratic right is essential to fostering greater government accountability and transparency.

Fast Facts


"The overarching purpose of access to information legislation, then, is to facilitate democracy. It does so in two related ways. It helps to ensure first, that citizens have the information required to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, and secondly, that politicians and bureaucrats remain accountable to the citizenry."
(Justice Gérard La Forest – Supreme Court of Canada, Dagg v. Canada, 1997)