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Information commissioner needs more "teeth" and resourcesPolitics Watch® News Services
September 27, 2007, updated 4:00 p.m.

Information Commissioner Robert Marleau . 

OTTAWA  —  A group representing Canadian newspapers said Wednesday the Conservative government needs to change the Access to Information Act to provide the Information Commissioner more "teeth" and resources.  

"I think the law needs to be changed and with a change in the law would come greater enforcement and greater teeth in the legislation and hopefully a greater emphasis on providing the necessary resources to the information commissioner," Anne Kothawala, president and CEO of the Canadian Newspaper Association, said at a news conference in Ottawa. 

"We've been calling on the government for some time to stick with their election promise of updating the Access to Information Act, which is so seriously out of date."

In an interview with PoliticsWatch earlier this week, Information Commissioner Robert Marleau confirmed his office has a backlog of 532 unresolved complaints dating as far back as 2002. 

The backlog includes three complaints that have been with the office for over 5 years, 32 for three to four years, 43 complaints that have been with the office for three to four years, 164 for two to three years and 290 for one year to two years. 

Marleau called the backlog "unacceptable" and said resolving it was his top priority as information commissioner. He also said it was "a resources problem."

The information commissioner said he plans to go to Parliament "cap in hand" next year to ask for more money to rectify the long-term backlog.

However, things may get worst as Marleau is also expecting an increase in cases due to additional government institutions being subject to access to information under the Federal Accountability Act. 

Canada's crisis in Access to Information
(September 25, 2007)

Information Commissioner Robert Marleau tells PoliticsWatch he has an "unacceptable" backlog of 532 complaints dating back to 2002. 

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