Information Commissioner’s appearance before ETHI Committee

by Caroline Maynard, Information Commissioner of Canada

May 14, 2021
Ottawa, ON

(Check against delivery)

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. It has been over a year since we last spoke, and I am pleased to be here to answer questions about my office’s portion of the main estimates. 

Generally speaking, in the past, our figures have not changed that much from year to year.  However, you may notice that this year there is an increase to my permanent funding. I received this as part of the supplementary estimates (B). 

This has made a significant difference to the OIC’s operations.

In past years, the temporary nature of the additional funding granted to my office annually to address my backlog of complaints prevented me from permanently staffing a number of positions in my investigations teams. And year after year, my predecessors and I were forced to request the funding anew. 

Permanent funding has at last allowed me to adopt longer-term approaches to human resources planning in order to ensure stability within my office and contend with the volume of complaints we are investigating. And we are capitalizing on the opportunity.

I have used this funding to begin staffing processes which, once concluded, will result in a net gain of 26 Full-Time equivalents, 21 of whom will be working in the investigations and governance sector. Some of these new employees are already hard at work on investigations at the OIC.  Others will soon be joining them.  I look forward to welcoming them to my team. Together, we will continue to work to uphold the right of access, which is compromised due to the pressures we see within the system. A situation I have highlighted since even before the pandemic, but which I believe, with strong leadership and bold actions, including voluntary disclosure and proper information management, can be addressed.

I would just end with the assurance to you all that my office’s commitment to transparency and fair and efficient investigations endures. We could always do more with more resources, but we have proven to be innovative with what we have and we have demonstrated great adaptability, particularly in this time of upheaval.

It is a great source of pride to me that since the very beginning of the pandemic, the OIC has been able to maintain its operations, and indeed continue to innovate, even as we all dealt with the restrictions imposed upon us.  This bodes well for the future of the organization.

I am happy to stay and answer any questions you may have.

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