After pushback from Indigenous groups and the information commissioner, the government is backing down on a number of changes proposed to the Access to Information Act, calling on Senators to make the friendly amendments during their study of the bill that critics have called “regressive.”
Treasury Board President Scott Brison (Kings-Hants, N.S.) told a Senate committee Oct. 3 that he was open to “eliminating” part of a section of the government’s Bill C-58 that required requesters to describe the document time period, subject, and type. Witnesses had warned that level of detail, particularly with First Nations attempts to get land-claim records, would limit access to records where such detail is not known and almost certainly lead to departments denying requests.
Information commissioner Caroline Maynard also successfully convinced the government to give her order-making power when the bill reaches royal assent and is formally approved, rather than a year after the bill becomes law, as it’s currently written.