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What the Access Process Involves

First generation access to information laws are limited but nonetheless a means of testing for and obtaining information from governments.

Getting results requires a strong will, curiosity and skills. Agency fees can vary and service too dependent with which department and jurisdiction you deal.

Stages of Access

The access process is unduly complicated but normally consists of four stages that I would be undertaking for you.

Stage One - The Framing Period

This is the key period where you determine what you want. It is important to spend the time drafting and discussing your request.

Stage Two - The Waiting/Watchdog Period

Just what is happening to your application? It pays to keep on top of time deadlines, check out fee estimates and negotiate for a better response.

Stage Three - The Review Period

You now have the response - analyse it for content, exemptions, authenticity.

Stage Four - The Follow-up/Use Period

File any complaints or appeals or further information requests if necessary. Assess how best to make use of the data received. Note departmental inconsistencies and share problems you encountered with others.

Next: The FOI Workshop

“Ken Rubin’s work helped Transport Action uncover Amtrak’s biggest obstacle to adding a second daily Seattle-Vancouver train. The documents showed the Canadian Border Security Agency was responsible for months and months of delays. Rubin’s Access To Information documented the CBSA demand Amtrak pay a $1,500 per train “facility fee”. A broad coalition pressured the agency to hold off on the charge until the Olympics. To date no final decision has been made. Transport Action continues to protest CBSA’s imbalance in its treatment of modes i.e. airlines don’t have to pay CBSA to inspect passengers.”

Transport Action
April 2010

“On behalf of MiningWatch Canada, I would like to express our appreciation for the valuable skills and support that Ken Rubin brings to filing and pursuing the results of Access to Information requests in Canada for organizations like our own".”

Jennifer Moore
Latin America Program Coordinator
MiningWatch Canada
August 21 2015

More on Access Services

What people do not know can often hurt them