No independent oversight of federal obligation to routinely publish info: officials

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Senior officials acknowledged today there is no independent oversight of the requirement that federal departments proactively publish government records.

Justin Trudeau promised in the 2015 election campaign to allow Canadians to request documents from ministerial offices through the Access to Information Act, but he backed away from the pledge after the Liberals assumed power.

Instead, the government introduced a requirement that ministers regularly publish information including mandate letters, certain briefing materials, and travel and hospitality expenses.

During a session today, part of a federal review of the access law, Jennifer Schofield of the Treasury Board Secretariat says there is no specific oversight mechanism for proactive disclosure, but notes the public can readily see if the information has been published or not.

Schofield's colleague Sonya Read says deputy ministers in each department are responsible for ensuring they're in compliance with the publication scheme.

A report from the government review of the Access to Information Act is to be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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