Karen Kleiss, a reporter for the Edmonton Journal, is the 2014 recipient of the Robert C. Clark award. The award, established by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in 2013, recognizes a significant contribution to advancing access to information in Alberta. Ms. Kleiss was nominated for her efforts to obtain information from the Alberta government concerning the number of children who died in provincial care, which resulted in the “Fatal Care” series of articles published in the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald in November 2013, as well as reform of government legislation and policy.
Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton made the announcement yesterday in Calgary as part of Right of Know Week, an annual international event that raises awareness of an individual’s right to access government information, while promoting freedom of information as essential to democracy and good governance.
An independent, three-person panel made up of subject matter experts with extensive experience in the field reviewed the nominations and selected the award recipient. In selecting Ms. Kleiss, the panel cited her efforts as a “public demonstration of how the [access to information] law works, including the process of review by the Information and Privacy Commissioner.” The panel also recognized that “through analysis and sharing the information in an open source platform, [Ms. Kleiss] demonstrated how information obtained through requests for Access to Information can impact and improve management of our government.”
The award is named after Alberta’s first Information and Privacy Commissioner, Robert (Bob) Clark, who served in the role from 1995 to 2001. Clark led the OIPC through the introduction and expansion of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, while also acting as an educator and advocate for the principles of access to information and privacy.
The selection panel members were:
- Kevin Dunion, Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom of Information, University of Dundee, and former Scottish Information Commissioner;
- Gary Dickson, former Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner; and
- Maria MacDonald, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Prince Edward Island