Canadians using the Access to Information Act system frequently find that it is simply does not work as the legislation prescribes, with most facing long delays and widespread redactions. Canada’s Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard is trying to do something to fix that. She has been calling for legislative reforms, more resources, and leadership within government departments to prioritize providing information instead of hiding it. Commissioner Maynard joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the current system, how exceptions are often used too aggressively to limit public access, and what can be done to fix these problems.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 143: Canada’s Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard on Why Government Needs a Culture of Providing Information Instead of Hiding It
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 142: CCLA’s Brenda McPhail on the Privacy and Surveillance Risks in Bill C-26
Earlier this year, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino introduced Bill C-26, new cyber-security legislation. The bill may address an issue that is widely regarded as essential, but once Canadian privacy and civil liberties had the opportunity to review the fine print in the bill, many came away concerned. Indeed, by September a coalition of groups and experts wrote to the Minister and party leaders, stating “Bill C-26 is deeply problematic and needs fixing”, warning that it risks undermining privacy rights.
Brenda McPhail, the Director of the Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, led the effort to place Bill C-26 in the spotlight. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the bill and the myriad of concerns that it raises.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 141: Why the Online News Act is a Bad Solution to a Real Problem, Part Five – My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage launched its hearings on the Online News Act (Bill C-18) with a pair of hearings late last month. At this stage, it remains unclear whether the committee will undertake the extensive study the bill deserves. I appeared in the very first hearing, using my opening statement to touch on four key concerns: the definition of “use”, government intervention, the risk of increased misinformation, and the breaches of Canada’s trade and treaty obligations. Coinciding with National Newspaper Week, this week’s Law Bytes podcast features an introduction to the bill and audio clips from the appearance.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 140: Anthony Housefather Reflects on the Fight Against Anti-Semitism Online and the Laith Marouf Incident
The Law Bytes podcast returns with a special episode focused on combatting online anti-semitism with a particular emphasis on an incident involving the department of Canadian Heritage and Laith Marouf, a well known anti-semite. As part of Heritage’s anti-hate program, the government had provided funding to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC), led by Marouf, to develop an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting. While there was years of evidence of Marouf’s anti-semitism, the department didn’t look or didn’t find it. The contract was cancelled after a public outcry, but even that led to concerns as it was left to Jewish MPs such as Anthony Housefather, Ya’ara Saks, and Melissa Lantsman to say something while many others remained silent.
Anthony Housefather, a Liberal MP from Montreal, not only spoke out on the Marouf situation but also called on all MPs to become more vocal. Housefather has been working on the online anti-semitism issue with politicians from around the world as part of an Inter-Parliamentary Task Force on Online Antisemitism and he joins me on the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the work of the task force and its recent hearing in Washington, DC, the Marouf incident, and the urgency for all to speak out more aggressively against anti-semitism.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 139: Florian Martin-Bariteau on the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act
Bill C-27, Canada’s privacy reform bill introduced in June by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, was about more than just privacy. The bill also contains the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA), the government’s attempt to begin to scope a regulatory environment around the use of AI technologies. Critics argue that regulations are long overdue, but have expressed concern about how much of the substance is left for regulations that are still to be developed. Florian Martin-Bariteau is a friend and colleague at the University of Ottawa, where he holds the University Research Chair in Technology and Society and serves as director of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. He is currently a fellow at the Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and he joins the Law Bytes podcast to breakdown the AIDA.