2008-2009 Introduction

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After a year of regrouping and redefining the direction we needed to take to respond to the challenges brought on by our changing business environment, we in the Office of the Information Commissioner streamlined and fine-tuned our investigative process in 2008–2009 to maximize efficiency. We then turned our gaze outward to see how, given our resources, we could best encourage federal institutions to comply with the Access to Information Act and be increasingly accountable and transparent.

Chapter 1 of this annual report offers highlights of our work in 2008–2009.

Chapter 2 presents our new business model. It explains how we have adjusted our investigative process to maximize efficiency and timeliness and to resolve all ongoing cases carried over from previous years. It also explains the course of action that we have taken, and the tools we are using, to widen the influence of our findings, actions and expertise.

Chapter 3 provides a detailed account of our investigative performance in 2008–2009, including basic facts, figures and graphs, with a sample of noteworthy investigations.

Chapter 4 focuses on how we address performance and systemic issues. It briefly reviews the results of our latest report cards process and provides an account of two recent systemic investigations.

Chapter 5 presents important court cases in which the Information Commissioner intervened or that raised interesting legal and constitutional issues related to access to information. These cases serve to highlight the Information Commissioner’s position on various issues in an effort to be as transparent and to provide as much guidance as possible to all stakeholders.

Our recommendations to modernize and strengthen the Access to Information Act form the basis of Chapter 6. The Information Commissioner presented these recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in March 2009 as part of our efforts to impress upon the government the urgent need for change.

Chapters 7 to 9 explain our internal strategies with respect to information management and technology, communications, and financial and human resources. These strategies share the goal of ensuring that we have the proper resources, skills and tools to carry out our mandate in the most efficient manner, while providing excellent client service. Chapter 7 also includes our own report card on how well we handled the access to information requests we received in 2008–2009.

Finally, Chapter 10 looks to the future—how we will follow up on commitments from institutions and on our own, and how we will further strengthen our organizational capacity as well as our relations with partners and stakeholders.

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