Access to information | Privy Council Office criticized

Access to information |  Privy Council Office criticized

(Ottawa) The federal access to information watchdog berated the Prime Minister’s officials for rejecting several requests from the public without just cause.

In a series of decisions released Tuesday, Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard reveals that the Privy Council Office (PCO) simply closed the files of four access to information requests to avoid failing to comply with due dates.

In each case, the body supporting the Prime Minister awaited advice from other federal agencies on whether Cold War-era intelligence files could be disclosed to applicants who made formal requests under the Act. Access to Information Act.

Mme Maynard ruled that the Act does not allow PCO to refuse to respond to an access request on the grounds that it has not yet received recommendations from the organizations consulted.

In the first of four decisions, dated October 14, the Commissioner expressed her disappointment with PCO, stressing that it is a central body headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has shown his commitment. towards transparency and openness.

Mme Maynard notes in its three subsequent decisions, all dated November 9, that PCO has since ended the practice of closing claim files while consultations are ongoing.

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