BY MARGARET THOMPSON, ELYSE AMEND AND LUISA MARINI J-Source, Dec. 8
The Canadian federal Access to Information Act is an essential yet inadequate piece of legislation that, in theory, helps facilitate democratic engagement.
Making use of this legislation is an essential way for journalists to hold power to account; to provide the public with newsworthy information; to illuminate government officials’ decision-making processes; to verify information gained from other sources; and to provide context for their audiences.
However, multiple challenges involved in navigating the federal ATI system pose significant setbacks for journalists, according to Concordia University researchers Margaret Thompson, Elyse Amend and Luisa Marini.
As a result, ATI is not being used to its fullest extent, the quality of journalism being produced is hampered by incomplete information, and the ability of citizens to make informed choices in their lives and in the political sphere is obstructed.