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Federal review of Access to Information law to take another year amid impatience

Last Updated Jan 21, 2021 at 1:24 pm EST

OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government’s key transparency law is complete. 

Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year.  

The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government advocates who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law.

The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly administered.

Ken Rubin, a longtime user of the access law, says putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea. 

He says the Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press