2020–21 Annual Report: The pandemic has exacerbated deficiencies of the access to information system
Gatineau, June 15, 2021 – Today, the Information Commissioner of Canada, Caroline Maynard, submitted her 2020–21 Annual Report to Parliament.
The report reviews the year 2020–21, and focusses on challenges and opportunities associated with access to information throughout this unusual year. It includes observations related to vulnerabilities in Canada’s access system, which were identified over the course of investigations conducted by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) in 2020–21. The report also proposes practical solutions for government institutions seeking to improve their access performance, such as a broader application of the principle of voluntary disclosure beyond compliance with legislative requirements for proactive disclosure.
“In addition to exacerbating deficiencies in the access to information system, the pandemic has increased the need to document the government’s decision-making process,” said Commissioner Maynard. “It is only by being fully transparent, and respecting good information management practices and the right of access, that the government can build an open and complete public record of decisions and actions taken during this extraordinary period in our history—one that will inform future public policy decisions.”
In spite of the constraints associated with the pandemic, the OIC surpassed its goal of closing 4,000 complaints in 2020–21. In addition to highlighting the systemic investigations conducted since April 2020 and their influence on the access system, the Annual Report outlines the strategies adopted by the OIC to improve operational efficiency following the allocation of $3 million in permanent annual funding.
The 2020-2021 Annual Report is available on the Office of the Information Commissioner's website.