2008-2009 Strategic use of systemic actions

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Many compliance problems cannot be solved adequately when treated in isolation, independent of the larger issues affecting the access to information system. To effect greater compliance across federal institutions and to reduce the number of complaints we receive, we approach certain problems with a more strategic and proactive approach. By integrating key information, observations and conclusions drawn from our own experience and that of our stakeholders, we can suggest more effective solutions and achieve better results.

As preventative or proactive actions, we review complaints and extension notices (for time extensions taken beyond 30 days) to identify systemic issues, or undertake a systemic investigation to formally address a problem hindering access to records of federal institutions. We also review and grade the performance of federal institutions in complying with the Access to Information Act. These assessments are called “report cards.” These reviews provide information about the challenges, weaknesses, strengths of the federal institutions, and assesses what progress has been achieved. (More information on report cards and systemic issues is provided in Chapter 4.)

These actions enable us to develop expert and independent advice about the access to information implications of legislation, jurisprudence, regulations and policies. The Commissioner can then bring this unique perspective regarding access to information to parliamentarians, public servants, federal government institutions and the Canadian public.

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