Study ranks Canada’s freedom-of-information laws dead last

From the Toronto Star:

A study by two British academics, Robert Hazell and Ben Worthy of University College in London, looked at the effectiveness of freedom-of-information laws in five parliamentary democracies. Of the five nations, New Zealand finished first while Canada was ranked last. Rankings were based on official statistics of appeals, court decisions, delays and other factors related to the releasing of government information to the public .The paper reports that,

“Canada comes last as it has continually suffered from a combination of low use, low political support and a weak Information Commissioner since its inception.”

The authors criticized Canada FOI law as an antiquated system that generally prevents citizens from filing requests electronically and compels them to submit paper cheques to cover fees. Under the Access to Information Act, any resident of Canada can request government-controlled information, such as a bureaucrat’s expense claims or a minister’s briefing notes, for an initial $5 fee. The application is subject to a range of exemptions.

Read full articlehere

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