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National FOI stories
News 07/26/01

Group wants better access to government records
Toronto Star
A national coalition bent on lifting the lid of secrecy from official Ottawa has unveiled recommendations to improve public access to government information. Among the Open Government Canada' recommendations are enhanced powers for the country's information commissioner, allowing him to order the release of records.

News 07/25/01

Fox minding chickens in government review of access act, critics charge
Canadian Press  
Bureaucrats from departments considered the most reluctant to co-operate with public information requests have been appointed to review the federal Access to Information Act, critics charged Wednesday. 

News 07/16/01

PM kept eye on access bill, memos show
National Post
The Prime Minister and his most senior civil service advisor were personally involved in efforts to alter a private member's bill that would have forced the federal government to make more records available to the public, documents show.

News 07/16/01

PM kept eye on access bill, memos show
National Post
The Prime Minister and his most senior civil service advisor were personally involved in efforts to alter a private member's bill that would have forced the federal government to make more records available to the public, documents show.

News 07/16/01

Minister has let bureaucrats take over Justice, critics charge
Ottawa Citizen
There is mounting anger at the federal Justice Department, which critics say is being allowed to undermine Canada's democratic process and exert secret, monopolistic control over new legislation, including reform of the Access to Information Act.

News 07/16/01

PM kept eye on access bill, memos show
National Post
The Prime Minister and his most senior civil service advisor were personally involved in efforts to alter a private member's bill that would have forced the federal government to make more records available to the public, documents show.

News 07/09/01

Government secrecy to be examined

National Post

A parliamentary committee examining Canada's Access to Information Act will hold a rare summer meeting to hear bureaucrats justify why they keep government documents from the public. The all-party committee will meet Aug. 27 to Aug. 29 in Ottawa.

News 07/05/01

Secrets on the Hill

National Post 

It is easy to get the basic financial goods on Tom DeLay, the powerful Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. A similar search for information on Mr. DeLay's Ottawa counterpart, Marlene Catterall, the Liberal House of Commons Whip , reveals nothing.

News 06/27/01

Ottawa gives export financing arm a new image

National Post

The federal government's export financing arm is getting a new name, as well as instructions to carry out more stringent environmental reviews of projects and disclose more information about them.

News 06/14/01

Dim the lights, draw the shades

National Post
Canada's Access to Information Act, which provides citizens access to records under the control of government institutions, is in jeopardy. That is the conclusion Information Commissioner John Reid delivered in his annual report, which was released June 12, 2001.

Editorial 06/13/01

Government secrecy threatens democracy

Ottawa Citizen  6/13/01

Information Commissioner John Reid's latest report to Parliament reveals a federal government not simply indifferent to the right of citizens to have access to information in government files, but actively hostile to the idea.

News 06/13/01

Right to know in danger: Reid
Ottawa Citizen 
A government task force reviewing the Access to Information Act could be a "wolf in sheep's clothing" that guts public accountability, warns John Reid, the federal information watchdog, in his 1999-2000 annual report.

News 06/12/01

Prime minister's office sets 'troubling example' on information access
National Post 
Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his most senior officials are breaking new ground to undermine the federal Access to Information Act, says a report tabled Tuesday in the Commons.

News 06/08/01

Canadians want overhaul of access law: report

Southam News
Many Canadians believe the Access to Information Act is too restrictive, expensive and cumbersome, says a report prepared for a federal task force reviewing the law. The report found frustration among users of the law who felt it "tends to restrict rather than facilitate access to government information." 

News 06/06/01

Grit MP creates committee to study access law

Southam News 
Liberal MP John Bryden has set up his own Commons committee to review the much-maligned Access to Information Act and wants members of the Prime Minister's Office to testify at summer hearings.

News 05/30/01

PM 'trying to shut down' cabinet agenda probe: Information Commissioner

National Post
The Information Commissioner says he has frozen his investigation into whether the Prime Minister's daily agendas should be made public because of 15 legal challenges launched by government lawyers.

News 05/23/01

Lifting lids on Ottawa's own secrets

Toronto Star
The first warning sign about the federal government's commitment to open up secrecy came when it recently refused a request to review internal recommendations on how to overhaul the Access to Information Act.

Editorial 05/12/01

Information chill

National Post  
Mr. Radwanski's outburst is not the only disturbing attack on Mr. Reid during his dispute with the PMO. Canadians should wonder whether a pattern is developing, and they should be worried.
Feature 05/12/01

Mr. Chretien's diary

National Post 
Despite the furore over George Radwanski's letter, it is up to the federal courts to decide whether the PMO is part of the Canadian government. If they rule it isn't, observers say, government secrecy will only grow as the PMO's power continues to expand.
News 05/12/01

One privacy watchdog bites another

National Post 
A public letter from George Radwanski, the Privacy Commissioner, calling for a halt to efforts to gain access to the Prime Minister's agenda is insulting, bizarre, unprecedented and astounding, the commissioner's predecessors said yesterday.

News 05/11/01

Probe of PM 'informational rape'

National Post 
In a highly unusual intervention, the federal Privacy Commissioner yesterday urged the Information Commissioner to stop trying to obtain and release the Prime Minister's agendas for the past five years.

Editorial 05/01/01

A culture of secrecy

Montreal Gazette
The principle that the public has a right to know what is being done in its name by the government it has elected is what stands behind most freedom-of-information legislation. Canada's Access to Information Act is no exception, or should not be. 

News 05/01/01

PM accused of muzzling watchdogs

National Post 
Opposition parties yesterday accused Jean Chrétien of muzzling the activities of two federal watchdog agencies that report to Parliament in order to conceal "damaging information" about the Liberal government's conduct of public business.

News 04/30/01

Complaints of government secrecy double

National Post
Federal Information Commissioner. John Reid, who warned last year of a culture of hostility to the public's right to know emanating from the highest reaches of government, said this year's situation is far worse.

News 04/29/01

Info watchdog accused of tarnishing public service

Southam News
A senior federal official has accused Information Commissioner John Reid of making unfounded allegations that "stain the integrity" of the public service through his refusal to divulge details of supposed threats from government employees.

News 04/12/01

Information chief feels handcuffed by PMO

National Post  
Jean Chrétien's office is insisting on acting as the sole judge in deciding whether its documents should be exempt from the Access to Information Act, Canada's Information Commissioner warned yesterday.

News 04/11/01

PMO fights to prevent chief of staff's testimony

National Post 
The Prime Minister's Office has gone to court to prevent Jean Chrétien's chief of staff from testifying before Canada's Information Commissioner today. John Reid's office subpoenad Jean Pelletier last month about requested Privy Council documents.

News 04/03/01

Federal Court ruling opens secret Cabinet files to public

Southam News
A Federal Court judge has ruled that the federal Cabinet is frustrating the intent of the Access to Information Act. The case involved the Cabinet's secret decision in 1980 to stop calling factual background documents "discussion papers" which were public under the Act.

News 04/03/01

Task Force opens debate on cabinet secrecy

Southam News
Application fees, complaint procedures and the hallowed concept of cabinet secrecy are on the table according to a consultation paper released by the Access to Information review task force.

News 03/19/01

MP Bryden turns legislative process on its head

The Hill Times 
Liberal MP John Bryden wants MPs to be able to influence new federal Access to Information legislation at a very early stage, instead of simply rubber-stamping a cabinet bill when it eventually arrives in the House.

News 03/04/01

Court upholds right to see high-level defence papers, PM's daily agenda

Ottawa Citizen
The Federal Court of Appeal sided with the federal Information Commissioner, ending a battle over whether his office had to examine documents including PM Jean Chretien's daily agenda books.

News 12/13/00

Court rejects PM's bid to keep agenda secret

National Post   3/03/01
After six-month battle, Federal appeal court ruling "a great victory for public access"

Op/Ed 01/03/01

Cabinet documents can be disclosed in 20 years through access request

Ottawa Citizen
National Archives archivist explains how cabinet documents can be obtained and how responsibility for the records is divided between the Privy Council Office and National Archives.

Op/Ed 12/13/00

Information please, Mr. Chretien

Ottawa Citizen
To understand how badly out-of-date our federal Access to Information Act has become, look to the United Kingdom's new FOI law, says Prof. Alasdair Roberts

Op/Ed 12/11/00

Liberal victory means more improprieties

Calgary Herald
The polls say  the Liberals are on their way to another majority government. Canadians are hesitating to call the Chretien government to account for abuses like the treatment of the federal Information Commissioner and his staff.

Column 12/11/00

NCC accountability is an open and firmly shut case

Ottawa Citizen
Columnist Randall Denley argues the National Capital Commission's supposed new interest in being more open and accountable is a sham. More "consultation" and more PR bureaucrats, but no open meetings.

Article 12/11/00

Accessing government

After years of studies, court cases and annual reports from the Information Commissioner that have strongly criticized Canada's Access to Information Act, the federal Liberals have finally agreed to examine the legislation. 

News 12/09/00

NCC responds to secrecy complaints

Ottawa Citizen
The National Capital Commission has thrown a crack of light into its closed boardrooms, pledging to hold three open meetings a year and create an advisory committee that includes two mayors.

Op/Ed 10/27/00

We need action on public access 

Ottawa Citizen
After the federal election, the government should launch a public inquiry into allegations from Info Commissioner John Reid that his staff have been intimidated and threatened by public officials.

Editorial 10/24/00

Taxpayer's right to know  

Montreal Gazette  
The reign of ministerial secrecy that Canada's information commissioner says holds sway over public documents should be a matter of real concern to all Canadians as they prepare to elect a new government.

Letter to the editor 10/24/00

We can't let government fortify the iron cage

Ottawa Citizen
Canadians should be asking themselves: How can we account for government's "palpable animosity" to the Access to Information Act ?

Op/Ed 10/22/00

Liberal victory means more improprieties 

Calgary Herald 
The polls say  the Liberals are on their way to another majority government. Canadians are hesitating to call the Chretien government to account for abuses like the treatment of the federal Information Commissioner and his staff.

Op/Ed 10/21/00

Government is allergic to light

Calgary Herald
The festering corruption exposed by the auditor general's casual lifting of stones in Human Resources Development Canada, explains why the federal government is committed to restricting the flow of information. 

Op/Ed 10/21/00

Access to information: Don't let anyone erode it 

Ottawa Citizen
Election campaigns bring promises about open and accountable government. Too often these promises are forgotten after an election. The Canadian Newspaper Association hopes that voters will not allow this to happen again.

News 10/20/00

PMO forces Information Commissioner back to court

National Post
Lawyers acting for the Prime Minister's Office have successfully blocked access to the Prime Minister's agendas and forced the Information Commissioner to go to court for a second time in a bid to see them.

News 10/19/00

Hike access-to-info fees, federal study suggests

Southam News
The fee for requesting information from the federal government under the access law should be increased to $30 from the current $5, an internal study suggests.

Op/Ed  10/19/00

Too many secrets

Peterborough Examiner
Seventeen years ago, the federal government proudly handed Canadians the keys to the storage rooms of government information. Since then, bureaucrats and politicians have been changing the locks and barricading the doors.

News 10/18/00

PM defends right to keep material secret
National Post
Opposition parties attacked the Prime Minister in question period yesterday for blocking public access to government documents.

News 10/18/00

Alliance attacks access to info, not HRDC 

Canadian Press
The Canadian Alliance surprised observers by switching targets during Tuesday's Question Period.
Op/Ed 10/18/00

Promise of open government was a sham
Vancouver Sun
Questing citizens are being treated with far less respect than even the false currency of current political discourse would indicate.

News 10/17/00

Information watchdog says he's under 'attack'

Ottawa Citizen 10/17/00

The federal information watchdog says the government has done everything it can to undermine his office.

Editorial 10/1700

Your right to know nothing 

Ottawa Citizen
Canadians should be very worried about how far the Chretien government will go to keep them from knowing what it is doing. 

Op/Ed 10/17/00

Whaddaya know? Not much 

Ottawa Citizen

Information Commissioner John Reid warns of an attack on access to information

News 10/17/00

Grits assail public's right to know, bureaucrats threatened
National Post

The Prime Minister's Office is conducting a full-scale assault on the public right to scrutinize how it is governed, the Information Commissioner, John Reid, said yesterday.

News 10/17/00

PM vows to "take action" against bureaucrats
Southam News 
PM Jean Chretien says he'll punish those who allegedly threatened the careers of other civil servants in attempts to suppress the release of government documents under the Access to Information Act.

News 10/11/00

Judgement reserved on information access case
National Post

The public has no right to see material produced by the political staff of the Prime Minister or his Cabinet ministers because those workers are not part of "government institutions," the Justice Department argues.

News 1/09/00

Cabinet secrecy challenged

Ottawa Citizen

Information Commissioner John Reid is going to Federal Court to argue that the federal cabinet is frustrating the will of Parliament  by reclassifying publicly accessible "discussion papers", containing background facts,  as parts of top-secret "cabinet confidences".

British Columbia
News 05/24/01

B.C. Info and Privacy commissioner welcomes open cabinet

CBC British Columbia
B.C. Information and Privacy commissioner David Loukidelis says incoming Premier Gordon Campbell's plan for open cabinet meetings sounds like a good idea.

News 10/27/00

MLAs urged to open books

Vancouver Province  

B.C.'s 1993 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act doesn't apply to the legislature itself. But B.C. information and privacy commissioner David Loukidelis wants to open up the legislature's $38-million budget to public scrutiny.

News 07/2401

[AB] Gov't ordered to release info on 1997 explosion
CBC Edmonton News 
Albertans may soon learn more about the 1997 explosion at the Bovar hazardous waste treatment facility in Swan Hills. The Privacy Commissioner has ordered the government to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and release documents about the blast.

News 11/03/00

Documents lost for more than a year

Edmonton Journal 
The Alberta government lost for more than a year nearly 450 documents related to the province's controversial pine-shake industry. Liberal MLA says this shows government revamp "very disorganized".

News 5/02/01

Winnipeg judge orders release of 911 tapes

CBC Manitoba 
Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jeffrey Oliphant has released the tapes of multiple 911 calls made by two aboriginal sisters in Winnipeg before they were stabbed to death. Oliphant said releasing the tapes is in the best interests of the public.

News 4/27/01

Police pressured to release 911 tapes

CBC Manitoba
The calls continue for the Winnipeg Police Service to release a series of reports concerning its 911 communications centre. But so far the police won't budge. The reports outline exactly what went wrong the night Corrine McKeowen and her sister Doreen Leclair were stabbed to death. 

Op/Ed 4/19/01

Make information truly free (Op/Ed)

Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba's NDP government is beginning a review of an FOI law they campaigned on reforming. It has the opportunity to create the best access legislation in North America, giving Manitobans the information they need to exercise their citizenship to the full.

News 4/02/01

Minister's attendance record revealed

CBC Manitoba
After months of delay, Manitoba's NDP government has released the attendance records for Treasury Board meetings. The CBC requested the records last October and had to fight for the information because the government didn't want to release it.

News 3/22/01

NDP to issue paper on privacy, access issues

Winnipeg Free Press
The Manitoba government will ask citizens for their views on access to information and privacy. The move surprised access advocates, who thought the NDP had dropped the issue after winning the election.

News 6/13/01

Watchdog accuses Ontario of impeding access to information

Southam News 

Ontario's information and privacy commissioner is accusing the Conservative government of political interference aimed at thwarting freedom of information requests from journalists, opposition parties and public interest groups.

News 6/7/01

Ontario Ministry of Health buries data on Toronto emergency room crisis

CBC Toronto
If the emergency room crisis in Canada's largest city is getting worse, the government doesn't want the public to know by how much. A CBC Radio request for information about the heavy traffic at Toronto's hospitals was denied.

News 1/21/00

Newspaper denied access to police board records

St. Catherines Standard
The police services board, the civilian body that oversees Niagara Regional Police, has denied The Standard access to its public motions and directed the newspaper to the NRP’s freedom of information unit.

News 5/09/01

Reporters out to get politicians: Speaker

Montreal Gazette
Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, speaker of the National Assembly, said yesterday that opening up the spending records of each MNA would undermine the independence of elected officials.

News 4/10/01

Quebec speaker slams delayed release of summit text

CBC Montreal
The speaker of the Quebec National Assembly says he thinks there's a secret deal to keep a translated draft of the Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiating texts from the public. 

Editorial 10/23/00

Let's see the evidence

Montreal Gazette
The Parti Quebecois government is refusing to release studies that don't support  the municipal mergers the government has announced.

New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
News 2/08/01

[NS] Council business is public business

Halifax Daily News 
Halifax City Coun
cil is being dragged into the spotlight of doing more public business in public. No more unjustified closed door sessions.

News 2/07/01

[NS] Halifax city hall shroud lifted

Halifax Daily News   2/07/01
Town's lawyer tells councilllors they cannot bar the media and the public from their committee meetings as a matter of policy.

Prince Edward Island
News 4/24/01

[PEI] Freedom of information act updated

Attorney General Jeff Lantz has tabled an amended version of P.E.I. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Lantz says the proposed changes reflect suggestions by a legislative committee.

News 4/17/01

[PEI] Gov't to introduce Freedom of Information bill

Prince Edward Island will soon be the last province in the country to pass Freedom of Information legislation. PEI's government plans to introduce a bill after hearings convinced a legislative committee to recommend the such a law.

News 3/12/01

[PEI] Freedom of information costly

The PEI government says it's concerned about the cost of passing FOI legislation. PEI's attorney-general says first year start-up costs will be $1.4 million. NS FOI commissioner says that sounds high.

News 7/24/01 [NF] Yeah, yeah, we know all that
The Telegram (St. John's)
Striking the Balance, the report of the review of Newfoundland's Freedom of Information Act concludes that the Act doesn’t work. But that’s something any user could have told the review committee in a heartbeat. 
News 7/24/01 [NF] Group ponders court action to get report
The Telegram (St. John's)
The Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation is upset the provincial government won’t release a Department of Environment report on the White Rose offshore oil development. 
News 7/21/01 [NF] Recipe sounds good, but we'll wait for the pudding
The Telegram (St. John's)
The committee’s report is a giant step forward, though there are potential grey areas that could cause problems. 
News 7/20/01 [NF] Request answered - month late, heavily edited
The Telegram (St. John's)
On the very day that Justice Minister Kelvin Parsons released a long-awaited report on the FOI Act, his department said it couldn’t acknowledge the existence of almost 200 reports and documents.
News 7/20/01 [NF] Report suggests sweeping changes
The Telegram (St. John's)
The new Newfoundland Freedom of Information Act should cover more government agencies, have fewer exemptions and include an independent commissioner to investigate appeals, a new report recommends.
News 5/16/01

NF Ombudsman bill attacked

CBC Newfoundland
The Opposition Tories say they'll filibuster the government's ombudsman bill because the new office lacks true independence.
News 5/14/01

NF Govt to reinstate Ombudsman's office

CBC Newfoundland
Premier Roger Grimes is living up to one of his Liberal leadership campaign promises by re-instating the office of the Ombudsman. 
News 5/11/01

Newfoundlanders will finally find out state of province's water supply

CBC Newfoundland
For the past two years the government has denied repeated freedom of information requests from CBC News asking for the 1996 report. But now the premier's office says it will be made public.

News 5/11/01

Government to release water report

CBC Newfoundland 
Newfoundland premier Roger Grimes has changed his mind...he now says the government will release a 1996 report on the state of the province's water supply.

News 5/10/01

Newfoundland withholds drinking water report

CBC Newfoundland 
The opposition in Newfoundland is angry that the government is keeping a report on the province's water supply submerged in cabinet secrecy. 

News 11/15/00

City may sue for job move info

St. John's Telegram 
The city of St. John's, NF,  is considering a Supreme Court of Newfoundland FOI challenge of the province's refusal to give them information on the cost of moving provincial employees out of St. John's. 

News 11/11/00

Premier rejects bid for details

St. John's Telegram 
NF Premier Beaton Tulk has denied two separate freedom of information requests from the Telegram for details of the government's controversial civil service relocation plan. Tulk is claiming a cabinet confidences exemption. 

News series 28/10/00

Access Denied

St. John's Telegram

A three-part series, the result of a seven-month investigation into the limited effectiveness of Newfoundland's FOI Act. The series was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2000 FOI Award.

Oct. 26 - Freedom train off track (Part 1)

Oct. 27 - Flawed from the start (Part 2)

Oct. 28 - PCs say their job hindered (Part 3)

Oct. 30 - Editorial

United States
In-depth series 03/27/01

Your right to know

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

Ohioans don't realize how much information they have a right to.  A Special Report from THE PLAIN DEALER.