FOI Appearances

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Federal Access to Information Act Legal Representations: References to Judgements and Commentary

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I have been a witness in front of Parliament committees at several critical junctions on access to information issues, including in 2006 at the House of Commons and Senate on Bill C-2, the Accountability Act, in 2009 at the House of Commons Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee where I presented a model Public Right Act, in 2016 and 2017 where I put forward the ingredients needed for a broader transparency law, and in 2022-2023 where I elaborated on a transparency action plan of action.

My first appearance, back in 1979, was at the Joint House of Commons-Senate Committee on Regulations and other Statutory Instruments, where I appeared as a resource person with the then Canadian Federation of Civil Liberties and Human Rights Associations.

There, I discussed my personal access experiences that came with using the Protection of Privacy Part IV provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and offered recommendations designed to extend existing privacy access provisions.

Next in 1981, I was a witness at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs hearings where I advocated progressive access to information legislation. In 1984, I appeared at the Regulations and other Statutory Instruments Committee to discuss the operation and regulations under the then new 1982 Access to Information and Privacy Acts.

In 1986, during the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General Committee’s statutory review of both acts, I was a witness advocating the specifics of reforms then needed for both acts.

Over the years, I have also been a witness on freedom of information and protection of privacy legislation in Ontario and made submissions on other provincial and territorial legislation.

I also, along with a representative from the Nader Public Citizen Litigation Group and the United Kingdom Campaign for Freedom of Information, made suggestions internationally in India in 1993 for access legislation in that country.

I had the fortunate opportunity to aid in and be the sole witness in 1998 at the House Commons Justice Committee on MP Colleen Beaumier’s Bill C-208 concerning record tampering penalties. This has been the only real substantive amendment made to the Access to Information Act to date.

I was also a witness in 2001 on matters effecting information rights at the House Commons Special Committee on the Anti-Terrorist Bill C-36.

I made a presentation at the House Commons Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee in 2006 on targeting certain access users for discriminatory treatment. And I testified in 2007 as well at House Commons Transport Committee on the secrecy and disclosure provisions found in the proposed Aeronautic Act.

As well, I have submitted other briefs on freedom of information and other consumer matters where I did not appear as a witness (Click here for this more general list).

Article: Testifying to what’s wrong with the Accountability Act