Bill C-58 results in a regression of the rights of access to information

Gatineau, Quebec, September 28, 2017 ‒ Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada, tabled a special report in Parliament today entitled Failing to Strike the Right Balance – Recommendations to Improve Bill C-58: An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

“After studying the Bill, I have concluded that the proposed amendments to the Access to Information Act will not advance government transparency,” stated Commissioner Legault. “The proposed Bill fails to deliver on the government’s promises. If passed, it would result in a regression of existing rights.”

The special report recommends 28 amendments to improve Bill C-58. Commissioner Legault provides an in-depth look at:

  • The right of access
  • Coverage of Minister’s offices, Parliament and courts
  • Fees
  • The Commissioner’s oversight
  • Solicitor-client privilege

It also addresses other areas of concern.

The Access to Information Act needs to be modernized in a way that reflects the public’s desire for more transparency from government. The amendments in Bill C-58 do not achieve this goal. They take Canadians’ right to know backwards and rather than forward.

The special report is available on the OIC website.

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