OTTAWA – Canada’s information watchdog is warning that federal budget-cutting may also be chopping away at citizens’ right to information.
Information commissioner Suzanne Legault says that in the last six months, she’s seen a sharp rise in the number of complaints about departments that improperly delay responses to access-to-information requests.
Legault says in a report to Parliament that the growing delay problem is likely the result of budget cuts that are reducing staff levels in most departments.
And she plans to ask a House of Commons committee this month for more staff in her own office to help cope with the rise in complaints.
The information commissioner has herself seen a five per cent cut in her office resources because of the deficit-cutting budgets of the Conservative government.
A spokeswoman for the Treasury Board, however, says government has coped well with a huge increase in the number of access-to-information requests in the last five years, up by 50 per cent since 2006.