Information and Privacy Commissioner Observes Right to Know Week

October 1, 2007

Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner is reminding Albertan’s of their right to be able to access information as Right to Know Week kicks off in Canada.

Information and Privacy Commissioner, Frank Work, says open transparent government must be a priority of all levels of government. “Reluctance to keep citizens completely informed, or the refusal to release public documents, casts a cloud of suspicion over government, and that is not good for the democratic process,” said Work.

The commissioner believes open access to government is a pillar of the democratic system. “Information held by governments at all levels does not belong to the government. It belongs to the people the government represents. In the past year, I have been encouraged to see flight logs and ministerial expenses released by the government, though there is still much work to do. I am concerned when I hear reports that freedom of information requests are being stalled or delayed. I must remind government that it needs to live up to the spirit of freedom of information legislation. That spirit includes processing requests that are legitimate under the terms of legislation.”

In 2006/07, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner opened 397 cases; 386 of those cases were resolved and closed.

The Alberta government processed 95 per cent of all information requests on time in 2006/07. A total of 99 per cent were handled without complaint to the privacy commissioner, an increase of four per cent since 2004/05.