Access to Information held by Ministers

A robust access to information regime helps to ensure government is open, transparent, and can be held accountable.  It is a crucial part of a democratic society.  While the core objective behind Canada’s Access to Information Act is that government information should be available to the public, the government may seek, in some cases, to prevent disclosure of information by taking advantage of some of the exemptions in the Act or by interpreting the Act in narrow way.

On October 7, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal which considered whether the heads of government departments (Ministers, including the Prime Minister) could be considered part of a “government institution” and thus subject to the Access to Information Act. CCLA, represented by special counsel Ryder Gilliland of Blakes LLP, argued that these individuals are included and that the Act should be interpreted in a way to secure the broadest rights of access to information for members of the public.  A decision is pending.

Read CCLA’s factum here.

See a video of the hearing before the Supreme Court here.