The government of Canada is currently preparing its fourth Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) has contributed a Submission to Ideas Discussion for Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government 2018–20. CLD has provided comments on all of Canada’s previous OGP action plans. This time, unlike in the past, we are focusing on only one issue, namely the overriding need to reform Canada’s Access to Information Act.
“Unfortunately, despite the introduction of Bill C-58, which aims to reform the Access to Information Act, very little will change”, said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of CLD. “Only one of CLD’s priorities for reform of the Act was addressed in Bill C-58, so we still need the government to commit to a proper process of reform.”
In its third OGP Action Plan, the government committed to a quick round of initial reforms, followed by “a full review of the Access to Information Act by no later than 2018.” The quick round of reforms took the form of Bill C-58, first tabled in Parliament on 19 June 2017. The Bill was roundly criticised not only by CLD but also by almost all independent stakeholders, including the Information Commission of Canada, for failing to address the many serious shortcomings in the Act. CLD’s analysis shows that Bill C-58 would raise Canada’s dismal score on the RTI Rating by only two points. It is also becoming clear that the third Action Plan’s commitment to conduct a full review of the Act by the end of 2018 will not be achieved.
In its submission, CLD is calling on the government to commit to conducting a full review of the Act and to tabling a bill to amend the Act in Parliament no later than mid-2019. If you agree, please support our call on the government website hosting these submissions here: https://open.canada.ca/en/node/1089.
Our full submission is available at: Submission on Canada’s Fourth Open Government Partnership Action Plan.
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