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Access to information is the right of the public to obtain information held by public bodies as well as an obligation for governments to ensure records are created, maintained, and made readily available. Access to information is essential for informed public discourse on which democracy depends. It not only facilitates developing effective solutions to societal problems but also empowers communities that have historically been marginalized and silenced.

Page February 17, 2021

Artificial intelligence another avenue for government to thwart transparency

By Ken Rubin Treasury Board rules note that departments should categorize just how risky their planned uses of AI are. Those algorithm impact assessments could help the public understand the risks and uses of AI. Under the current broad exemptions of the Access to Information and Privacy Acts, the details of departmental AI use could be denied as being proprietary or matters of national security, law enforcement and government economic interest.
News February 16, 2021

Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks wins the provincial 2020 Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy

Quebec's Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy in the provincial category.  The provincial ministry is being recognized for its unwillingness to share lab data with scientists at Environment Canada related to four mysterious fish kills that took place during the summer of 2019. At the time, dead fish showed up in the Ottawa River, with the source believed to be the Lièvre River, east of Ottawa and Gatineau. 
News February 9, 2021

Federal Cabinet wins the federal 2020 Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy. Dishonourable mentions go to Treasury Board and to National Defence

The Federal Cabinet is the 2020 recipient of the Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy in the federal category. The Cabinet is recognized for suppressing public access to details about very large loans—at times amounting to billions of dollars—given to corporations out of the public purse.
Page February 1, 2021

Payette goes, but secrecy remains

By Ken Rubin February 1, 2021 -  If only a non-partisan arms-length vetting committee would be around, Canadians would have had a better Governor General than Julie Payette, so they say. Yet the secrecy around her appointment, the prime minister's role, and the vetting process involved are part of the problem. There is no shining light on the vetting process for this job and starstruck officials from the Prime Minister's Office may have gotten suckered by a former astronaut.
Blog November 12, 2020

Freedom of Information, Universities & Transparency: Lessons from Emily Eaton and the University of Regina

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.
Page November 9, 2020

Honey, the Pandemic shrunk transparency

By Ken Rubin It's time for the government to take off the mask that disguises and robs us of our public right to know. Trustworthy and revitalized government requires effective access and more public scrutiny. November 9, 2020 - In these pandemic months, no one, not the public or Parliament, is getting greater transparency.