Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Board (June 2024)

June 4, 2024

Bill Matthews
Secretary of the Treasury Board
90 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario 
K1A 0R5

Dear Secretary Matthews,

I am writing to extend my congratulations on your appointment as Secretary of the Treasury Board. I look forward to working collaboratively to enhance access to information and promote government transparency.

Since my appointment as Canada’s Information Commissioner in 2018, I have been committed to upholding the right of access to information by ensuring that the Access to Information Act is respected across government institutions. Over the past six years, I have witnessed a growing desire among Canadians to understand their government’s decision-making processes and actions on issues affecting their lives. They understand that they have a right to expect transparency and openness from their government and demand readily available information from public institutions. As the access system continues to falter, it hampers the Canadian population's ability to obtain timely access to such information and undermines public trust and engagement in government affairs.

My team and I have read with interest the Government’s Trust and Transparency Strategy and Access to Information Modernization Action Plan recently announced by the President of the Treasury Board. I would like to meet with you to discuss how this strategy and plan will translate into concrete, measurable improvements to the federal access to information system for the benefit of Canadians.

During our first meeting, I would also like to discuss my ongoing concerns regarding the methodology used by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) to calculate funding for new collective agreement salary increases. TBS’s rigid formulas have resulted in a funding shortfall of 700,000 dollars for the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC), which represents a reduction in my budget of approximately 5 per cent.

As you may know, I have raised this critical issue with your predecessors and discussions between my team and TBS officials are ongoing. I have also begun to explore some of the avenues recommended to me, and will be pleased to outline whatever progress is made when we meet.

In the meantime, I invite you to familiarize yourself with my May 14, 2024 letter to Acting Secretary Blanchard, which provides more detail on the circumstances that led me to inform the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics of my office’s situation the last time I was called to appear before its members on May 16, 2024. As an agent of Parliament, I have pledged to keep the committee informed of any significant developments in this matter.

In closing, I look forward to hearing your perspective on the topics I have outlined above, and I invite you to have your officials contact Manon Côté, my Manager of Parliamentary and Stakeholders Relations, by email (parl@oic-ci.gc.ca) to arrange a meeting at your earliest convenience. 


Caroline Maynard
Information Commissioner of Canada


Shalene Curtis-Micallef, Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General of Canada, 
Department of Justice

Chris Forbes, Deputy Minister, 
Department of Finance

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