ERIC Number: ED236613
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Freedom of Information in a Parliamentary Government: Canada's New Access to Information Legislation.
Einsiedel, Edna F.
Despite a tradition of government secrecy, Canada recently adopted freedom of information legislation. Reflecting greater public and media interest in the issue of public access to information and government secrecy, Bill C-34, the Access to Information Act, received royal assent in 1982, as did a privacy act, enacted to protect the complementary right to individual privacy. The major issues covered in the Access to Information legislation include the question of who has access to government information, procedures for obtaining the information, the appeal process, and exemptions. While the Act has a number of positive features--it establishes a two-tiered review of the legislation and, by its very existence, encourages greater openness in government--it also has serious weaknesses. The fee for viewing government documents, for example, discrimimates against the individual citizen, and critics have suggested that the many exemptions in some ways fortify secrecy rather than limit it. It is apparent, comparing Bill C-34 as introduced with the Act as passed, that more limitations were imposed, resulting in a more restrictive statute. The limitations strongly suggest that individuals in Canada have access only to information the government wants them to have. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Canada; Freedom of Information; Government Records
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).