In February 2013, the Centre for Law and Democracy was contacted by the Canadian Press regarding a Memorandum from the Treasury Board disputing CLD’s RTI-Rating of Canada. The Memo makes two key points in defence of Canada’s performance on RTI. The first is that the RTI Rating only measures the letter of the law and not the strength of its implementation and the second is that, notwithstanding problems in the legal framework, Canada’s overall commitment to openness, and to open data in particular, is strong. CLD Executive Director, Toby Mendel, responds to both points and calls for Root and Branch reform of the Canadian Access to Information Act, along with major shifts in official attitudes towards openness.
“CLD welcomes Canada’s commitment to transparency as demonstrated through its strong proactive disclosure policies and membership in the Open Government Partnership (OGP). However, this has no bearing on the serious structural deficiencies at the heart of Canada’s right to information framework, which is what the RTI Rating exposes”, writes CLD Executive Toby Mendel. “If the Government of Canada were to put in place a process to reform the ATIA, CLD would be more than happy to participate in and support this. Only in this way could we return Canada to a position in the global rankings that is becoming of a democracy of its stature.”