Access to Information
The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or any person or corporation present in Canada a right to access information that is contained in government records. The Act is intended to complement existing procedures for access to government information such as Proactive Disclosure and Open Government initiatives.
Access to Information Requests, Procedures and Forms
Requests for government information should be directed to the institution that has control of the record. There are currently two different ways to submit an Access to Information Request:
- Submit an online request through the Access to Information and Privacy Online Request Portal for select institutions; or
- Mail an Access to Information Request Form to the institution’s Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator directly
Act and Policy Instruments
- Access to Information Act and Access to Information Regulations.
- Policy on Access to Information – Supports sound management and decisions for complete timely and accurate responses to access to information requests, clear responsibilities under the Access to Information Act and consistent public reporting.
- Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act – Provides direction for the implementation of consistent practices and procedures for the processing of access to information requests.
- Implementation Reports and Information Notices – Provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the Access to Information Act and related policies.
Guidance, Best Practices and Tools
- Guidance: Access to Information Manual – A reference publication to help government institutions interpret and administer the Access to Information Act and the Access to Information Regulations, and to meet the requirements of related policy instruments.
- Guidance: Info Source: Decentralized Publishing Requirements – Instructions for institutions that self-publish their Info Source chapters.
- Best Practices: Delegation under the Access to Information Act – Fact sheet and examples of delegation orders for institutions subject to the Access to Information Act.
- Best Practices: Best Practices for Posting Summaries of Completed Access to Information Requests – Further information and guidance related to Appendix E of the Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act.
- Tools: Access to Information and Privacy Glossary – Definitions of commonly used access to information and privacy terms.
- Tools: Form for the Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act.
- Info Source: Access to Information Act and Privacy Act Bulletins – Summaries of federal court case decisions and statistics relating to the number of requests made under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
- Reducing Delays in the Processing of Access to Information Requests – The final report of a study group which examined the reasons for delays in the processing of access to information requests and made recommendations for corrective action to enhance timeliness.
- Report on the TBS Study of Best Practices for Access to Information Requests Subject to Particular Processing – Report and best practices on how institutions which categorize or label access requests for special handling, with no detriment to the timely processing of access requests, organize their processes.
- Access to Information: Making it Work for Canadians, Report of the Access to Information Review Task Force – Results of an administrative and general legislative review of access to information in the federal government.
Links of Interest
- Info Source: Sources of Federal Government and Employee Information – Provides information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
- Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada – Independently oversees public sector compliance with the Access to Information Act.
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