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Message from the commissioner

I am very pleased to present this annual report—a review of the activities of my office during my first full year as Information Commissioner.

It would be an understatement to say that it was a busy year. It was certainly a successful one, with my team completing significantly more investigations than the year before and finishing them more quickly. 

I set four clear priorities at the start of my mandate. Exemplary work by my staff and valuable input from institutions and other stakeholders led to considerable progress on all of them. 

The consistent focus of my office’s work was on ensuring institutions meet their obligations under the Access to Information Act. So, whether it was investigating complaints, meeting senior institutional officials, making recommendations to improve institutional or system-wide practice, taking matters to court or improving the investigation process, my goals were the same. I sought to increase compliance with the legislation, enhance government transparency, and ensure Canadians receive the information to which they are entitled in a timely manner. 

As I enter the second year of my seven-year term, I have a clear vision of where I would like to be when I issue next year’s annual report. My office will be making every effort to conclude the most investigations possible. Ideally, implementation of amendments to the Act will be well under way, and Canadians will be benefiting from the reforms. My team will be transparent in all its dealings with complainants and institutions, and will be working collaboratively with all parties to resolve complaints.

I have an excellent and innovative team in place to achieve these results. But more remains to be done, requiring the involvement of institutions and the government. 

Institutional leaders must step up. I will be continuing to meet with deputy ministers and other executives, looking for evidence of concrete actions they are taking to ensure their organizations are meeting their obligations under the Act.

Importantly, the government must follow up on its previous commitments to provide sufficient permanent funding to my office. While I welcome the additional temporary resources announced in Budget 2019 for reducing the inventory, operating year-by-year is inefficient and unsustainable. Ultimately, it jeopardizes access rights, particularly given the large number of complaints my office has received in recent years.

For my part, I have taken significant steps to put the Office of the Information Commissioner on a firm footing, by restructuring the investigations group and assembling an experienced senior management team. My office will continue to conduct high-quality investigations and improve its processes to conclude investigations as efficiently as possible. Positive actions by institutions and increased permanent funding is required to enhance these results for Canadians seeking information from their government. 

Date modified: 2019-06-17