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CAJ sounds alarm about Canada's broken Access to Information regime

·2-min read

OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 28, 2021 /CNW/ - On this Right to Know Day, the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) calls on the federal government, provincial governments, municipalities, and other publicly-funded agencies, once again, to take meaningful steps towards implementing long-sought solutions to ensure the right to know of Canadians is respected.

Logo: CAJ (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Journalists)
Logo: CAJ (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Journalists)

To mark #RTK2021, the CAJ is working with the Public Service Information Community Connection (PSICC) on their Right to Know Week festivities. The CAJ will be participating in a panel discussion called Fresh Eyes on FOI on September 29. CAJ members can receive a $20 discount to attend the week's events. Contact us for a promo code.

In advance of the recent federal election, the CAJ and other press freedom groups asked the leaders of each federal party to explain how they would implement much-needed changes to the Access To Information Act. The Liberal Party's response did not directly address the questions, instead citing "significant" amendments to the Access to Information Act.

"It speaks volumes that, across the political spectrum, civil society organizations agree that this system is broken," said CAJ president Brent Jolly. "The CAJ is extremely concerned by a lack of recourse for journalists, and all Canadians, when government departments refuse to hand over documents to which the public has a right."

Last month, the CAJ also made a cheeky submission to the Treasury Board Secretariat criticizing government inaction over many decades and repeating calls for reforms—some as basic as permitting payment for ATIPs to be made online and ensuring departments can send records electronically.

"For more than 40 years, the CAJ has been beating the drum for enhanced transparency and disclosure regimes across the country," said Jolly. "Sadly, without proper attention, the black hole of information poverty will only continue to deepen."

For #RTK2021, we encourage all members to share with us their experiences about their challenges accessing public records and government obfuscation. Tag @caj on Twitter. As well, you can:

  1. Check out this mind-blowing database of FOI stories compiled by journalist Stanley Tromp.

  2. Call out ridiculous abuses of the system by submitting to the Code of Silence Awards.

  3. Build networks - join the CAJ's access-to-information channel in our Slack community. If you're a member and haven't already joined, sign up here.

  4. Later this year, we're looking forward to building out provincial and regional caucuses to better share information. Please email Brent Jolly at: brent@caj.ca if you're interested in being involved.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 1000 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

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View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2021/28/c1454.html

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