The Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) released their joint Submission to the formal review of Canada’s federal Access to Information Act (ATIA), launched in June 2020. Many of the recommendations for change raised in the Submission have featured in previous submissions by CLD, the BCCLA and various other stakeholders, demonstrating the need for the federal government to abandon its piecemeal approach to amending the ATIA in favour of root-and-branch reform.

Although Canada was one of the early countries to adopt a law giving individuals a right to access government documents or right to information (RTI) law, in 1982, the ATIA has not been significantly reformed since then. According to the RTI Rating, CLD’s internationally recognised methodology for assessing the strength of RTI Laws, the federal Canadian law scores 93 out of 150 possible points, placing it in 52nd place out of the 129 countries currently on the RTI Rating, far behind leaders such as Mexico, Sri Lanka and Slovenia.

The Submission can be found here.