An Ontario Divisional Court decision on a six-year-old battle at York University about secrecy in university real estate projects was published on September 1, 2022.
The decision in York University Development Corporation vs. Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario et al. ended a long game in which the University tried to hide records that were legally accessible to the public.
Many groups in the Greater Toronto Area are challenging Metrolinx’ ambitious and largely evidence-free transit plans, in terms of transparency and accountability.
Metrolinx is a very powerful agency spending many billions of public money. Like most other arms-length boards and agencies, it was structurally set up to diminish accountability -- to municipalities and also to citizens.
Access to information (ATI) is animated by a simple principle: the public ought to know. Despite governments unfortunately tending towards secrecy and risk-aversion, a free flow of information is absolutely vital for democracy. ATI, then, is an important democratic safeguard, to mitigate the negative predilections of government and ensure a robust state of public discourse. ATI legislation first emerged in Sweden in 1766, but it wasn’t until the postwar era that it began to flourish in a number of other liberal democracies.
The justice system is facing unprecedented challenges. Like almost every other sector of society, the new realities of province-wide “social distancing” have raised fundamental questions about whether — and perhaps even how — courts and tribunals can continue to function in the age of the pandemic.
There’s been a ceasefire in the “legal Twitter war” between Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and three people who sued him for blocking them from his Twitter account. The three plaintiffs argued that in blocking them, Mayor Watson was violating their constitutional right to free expression.
Eventually Watson and the plaintiffs reached a legal settlement. But initially the Mayor’s position was that he would fight the suit on the grounds that the Twitter account in question was held in his personal and not mayoral capacity and therefore, constitutional rights weren’t applicable.