Advice for the Information Commissioner: Do your job.


Longtime readers of this blog may be familiar with my ongoing battle with the Canadian International Development Agency over an access-to-information request I made in April 2007. I wanted to know about CIDA programs in Zimbabwe, but when CIDA claimed such a supposedly broad request would require thousands of dollars in “research fees,” I narrowed the request to one phase of one program – in other words, nothing too broad or onerous.  

Almost two years later, CIDA still hasn’t completed the request. Every few months or so, I check in with CIDA or the Office of the Information Commissioner, where I registered a formal complaint more than a year ago, mostly just to get my blood boiling, because nothing productive ever results. I did so again this week.

 The Access to Information Act gives the Commissioner the power to subpoena recipients of complaints to give oral evidence and produce records. I asked someone in the office of the new Commissioner, Robert Marleau, how many times Marleau has done this since his appointment in January 2007. The answer: zero. Not once. Apparently, he wants to use a “collaborative” rather than a confrontational approach.

How’s that working out for him? Not so good


Advice for the Information Commissioner: Do your job.

  1. Sounds like he’s doing exactly the job his appointer intended.

    He’ll probably get a promotion.

  2. Who is the recipient of the funding, the agent who carried out the program? Is it a local public body in Ontario? Because if it is, you could put in a request to that entity, and then, if it’s refused, you could put in a complaint with the provincial info comm, Ann Couverkian, I think her name is. And she’s very good. If that route is not possible, then another alternative would be to file a complaint against the Info Comm with Government Services. I would make that a big complaint if possible. Hold a press conference, give people a way of contacting you if they’re interested in filing a group complaint. Become very very noisy. Try to get journalist groups to take up your cause. Squawk to Sun Media. Keep us posted, eh?
    Marnie Tunay
    Fakirs Canada

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