The Right to Information Alliance Canada is deeply concerned about the federal government’s increasing neglect of transparency, especially during the current pandemic.
The alliance was recently formed out of our common alarm about the deterioration of openness, specifically in the areas of access-to-information, whistleblower protection and the proactive disclosure of health and safety data, among others. Our alliance brings together news media, civil liberties, consumer, health, environment and Indigenous groups, each of which need a free flow of government information to fulfill their mandates; to keep Canadians reliably informed on matters of public concern; and to hold ministers to account.
Sadly, in the years since the Prime Minister has formed government, withholding information has become only too common. As transparency evaporates, the federal government is slow-pedaling any potential fixes. A promised review of the Access to Information Act has plodded along for almost a year with no public input, and with no report planned until next January.
The federal government has publicly declined to fix Canada’s whistleblower law. And basic information about Canada’s response to COVID-19, including vaccine contracts, remains buried and inaccessible. Indigenous Nations face numerous barriers in obtaining the very data they require to substantiate historical grievances, defend their title and rights, and to protect their members.
We therefore call on the Prime Minister to fulfill the commitments to transparency that they have been declaring repeatedly since 2014.