The Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award is presented in memory of John Grace and Marcel Pépin. Both made significant contributions to the development and promotion of access to information principles in Canada.
John Grace (1927-2009)
Former Information Commissioner of Canada, John Grace, began his career as a journalist in 1958 for the Ottawa Journal, and was later promoted to chief editor and vice president of the newspaper until it closed in 1980. During his time at the Ottawa Journal, Dr. Grace was also a part-time lecturer at the University of Ottawa, and served four terms as a member of the university's board of governors. Between 1971 and 1977, Mr. Grace also served two-terms as a member of the Canada Council for the Arts.
After the Ottawa Journal closed, he was appointed Commissioner of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. In 1983, he served a seven-year term as the first Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and from 1990 to 1998, he was the Information Commissioner of Canada.
Independent minded and full of integrity, Mr. Grace stood up for his beliefs in matters concerning privacy, government transparency, and accountability.
Marcel Pépin (1941-1999)
Founding-president of the Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec, Marcel Pépin began his career as a journalist for La Presse from 1970 to 1977, and then chief editor for Le Soleil.
He was part of the Paré Commission, which prompted the National Assembly to adopt the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information in 1982. That same year, Mr. Pépin founded the Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec, of which he became president until 1988.
He then returned to journalism taking the lead at Radio-Canada information services, later becoming vice-president of CBC French Services, and then ombudsman in 1997.
A passionate policy maker, Mr. Pépin was a strong advocate of freedom of information as being the foundation of democracy.