The numbers on the federal Access to Information Act (2012)


Some data and numbers for the federal government’s performance under the Access to Information Act (ATI).  This data may have been around for a while but I just stumbled across it today and think a few bits to be worthwhile.

This data, published by the government, is for the fiscal year 2011-2012 which would have ended on March 31, 2012. The most recent complete fiscal year for the government is the one that just ended a few weeks ago on March 31, 2013 but I suspect it will be a while before the books are closed on that year. So the data on FY2012 is, so far as I know, the most recent complete year snapshot.

Requests under the Access to Information Act Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 43,194
Outstanding from previous reporting period 8,138
Total 51,332
Closed during reporting period 43,664
Carried over to next reporting period 7,668

Who made all these requests? Continue reading The numbers on the federal Access to Information Act (2012)

McGill University seeks to ban its own student journos from filing ATI requests on it

A disturbing piece in the McGill Daily …

In December, McGill filed a motion with the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec against 14 McGill students, seeking to disregard several Access to Information (ATI) requests.

In the conclusion of the motion, McGill demands the authority to “disregard future requests […] submitted by the respondents or students of McGill or student journalists of The McGill Daily and the Link (Concordia University) or by persons associated to McGilliLeaked or by persons that could reasonably be linked to such requestors,” if those requests meet one of five vague characteristics.

One of those characteristics includes being “overly broad.” Another is if the request “is associated to one or more categories of documents and information published on McGilliLeaked, a website that compiles the results of ATI requests.

Some of the categories on McGilliLeaked include “administrative,” “contracts,” “construction,” “legal,” “expenses,” and years, such as “2010,” and “2011.”

via The McGill Daily » Keeping information under wraps.

The McGill University media relations office, having seen this article, provided me this morning with the 20-page motion it has filed in support of is request to disregard these and future ATI requests.:

McGill motion to block student journos from making ATI request by David Akin

Waiting for years: Canada's oh-so-broken access to information system

Canada’s Access to Information (ATI) system was broke long before Stephen Harper became prime minister in 2006 but the Conservatives, like the Liberals before them, have failed to fix the system that gives Canadians the right of access to records the government holds, creates, and collects on all our behalf. [For more on our broken ATI system, see “30 Years of ATI: And It’s Getting Worse”]

Indeed, despite promising to fix the ATI system in its 2006 campaign, the Conservatives have made it worse. Great example? Over at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, John Baird as much thumbed his nose at the Information Commissioner of Canada — an officer of Parliament, no less — when she told him earlier this year, in response to a complaint that I had made, that the steps his bureaucrats were taking to prevent the release of documents was flat out wrong, likely against the law, and that he ought to tell his bureaucrats to change their ways. [See: “Foreign Affairs Minister Ignores Information Commissioner’s Recommendations”]

Continue reading Waiting for years: Canada's oh-so-broken access to information system

30 years of ATI: And it's getting worse

Canada has had a federal Access to Information law for nearly 30 years, long enough for University of Laval political scientist Anne Marie Gingras to review the act and the ongoing tensions between governments that do not want to release information to citizens and citizens who believe governments have a duty to do so.

Gingras’ reviews the Act in the essay, “Access to information: An asset for democracy or ammunition for political conflict, or both?” published in the latest issue of Canadian Public Administration. Continue reading 30 years of ATI: And it's getting worse