Suzanne Legault, Canada’s Interim Information Commissioner, and Michael Mulley, a Montreal-based software programmer, may occupy different worlds, but my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that last week both placed an important spotlight on open and transparent government.
Legault is responsible for administering the Access to Information Act and last week her office warned that inadequate resources and lengthy delays were causing enormous damage to access to information rights in Canada. Legault released a 154-page report that gave below average or failing grades to the majority of the 24 government departments she reviewed.
The implication of a broken access to information system extends to virtually every policy area. For example, Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada typically lead on policies involving broadcasting and new media. While Industry Canada received a solid "B" grade, handling a 93% increase in requests relatively smoothly, the first review for Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore’s department yielded an "F" grade.