Systemic Investigation of Library and Archives Canada brings to light critical access to information challenges

Gatineau, April 26, 2022 – The Information Commissioner of Canada’s special report, Access at issue: the challenge of accessing our collective memory, was tabled today in Parliament. The report details findings that resulted from her investigation into systemic issues affecting Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

This investigation provided the Commissioner with the opportunity to draw Parliament’s attention to two of the broader challenges facing Canada’s access to information system, explored in detail in her special report:

  • the manner in which consultations on access requests are conducted between institutions; and
  • the lack of a Government-wide framework for the declassification of records.

The Commissioner’s systemic investigation found several issues impeding LAC’s ability to provide access to the information under its control, leading the Commissioner to conclude that LAC is not meeting its obligations under the Access to Information Act. At the conclusion of her investigation, the Commissioner provided ten recommendations for tackling these issues effectively.

As timeliness across the system continues to deteriorate, the consequences of inaction can no longer be ignored. 

“The failure of any federal institution to uphold the right of access is unacceptable, but when the institution is mandated to provide access to our collective memory as Canadians, addressing the problem is all the more urgent. I call upon the Government and all Parliamentarians to give the matters I have raised in this report the attention they deserve.”

Caroline Maynard,
Information Commissioner of Canada

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