Information Commissioners call on governments to create a duty to document

January 25, 2016 – Canada’s Information Commissioners have called on their respective governments to create a legislated duty requiring public entities to document matters related to their deliberations, actions and decisions.

In a joint resolution, information commissioners expressed concerns about the trend towards no records responses to access to information requests. This lack of records weakens Canadians’ right of access and the accountability framework that is the basis of Canada’s access to information laws. Without adequate records, public entities also compromise their ability to make evidence based decisions, fulfill legal obligations, and preserve the historical record. 

Canada’s information commissioners have urged governments to create a positive duty for public servants and officials to create full and accurate records of their business activities. This duty must be accompanied by effective oversight and enforcement that ensures Canadians’ right of access to public records remains meaningful and effective.

The resolution is available on the websites of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada ( and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia ( 

Related document

Backgrounder on a duty to document

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