Government & Corporate Transparency

The Issue

Canadians’ right of access to information held by governments and public agencies is embarrassingly inadequate. Internationally, the quality of our access to information law ranks 59th out of 102 countries. The implementation of the law makes matters even worse – often imposing excessive delays, high costs, and significant censorship.  Even more limited is the public’s right of access to information about the decisions and practices of the corporate sector that increasingly shape every aspect of our lives.

Why It Matters

Healthy democracy depends on an informed public with ready access to the information it needs to engage in effective political decision-making.

Our Work

The Centre for Free Expression works to promote greater government and corporate transparency through public education and advocacy for better right to know laws and practices. 

Resources

Commentary

Artificial intelligence another avenue for government to thwart transparency

By Ken Rubin

Treasury Board rules note that departments should categorize just how risky their planned uses of AI are. Those algorithm impact assessments could help the public understand the risks and uses of AI. Under the current broad exemptions of the Access to Information and Privacy Acts, the details of departmental AI use could be denied as being proprietary or matters of national security, law enforcement and government economic interest.

February 17, 2021

Commentary

Payette goes, but secrecy remains

By Ken Rubin

February 1, 2021 - Julie Payette leaves, but picking up the pieces means more than a little house cleaning. It requires radical transparency changes. Let's give Canadians the tools they need to monitor and improve those hiding from us.

Commentary

There's No Excuse for Stifling Information

By Ken Rubin

December 21, 2020 - Trudeau isn't transparent enough; Some agencies have simply placed requests for information from the public on hold, despite this being a violation of the Access to Information Act.

Commentary

Honey, the Pandemic shrunk transparency

By Ken Rubin

Novemeber 9, 2020 - It's time for the government to take off the mask that disguises and robs us of our public right to know. Trustworthy and revitalized government requires effective access and more public scrutiny.

Commentary

Review won't fix Canada's Access to Information law significantly, Ken Rubin Ottawa Citizen August 10, 2020 A9

By Ken Rubin

August 10, 2020 - There's no real desire to remedy shortcomings. It is no longer good enough to continue holding Canadians hostage to incomplete data