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QUESTION PERIOD — Public Safety

Access to Information Requests

April 30, 2024


Leader, last month, after more than two years, Justice Canada finally responded to my access to information request. In response to another request, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada tells me that it will take them 650 days to send me the requested documents, but I consider myself lucky. If I had submitted an access to information request to the Canada Border Services Agency, the officials probably would have lost it. According to a Radio‑Canada story, CBSA has lost 12,000 access requests, and potentially thousands of other documents related to those requests.

Why does your government so chronically and miserably fail to respond to requests within the normal and reasonable 30-day time frame set out in the Access to Information Act?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

Thank you for the question. It’s true that delays in many departments are unacceptable, and the government has been working hard to improve this situation for a few years now. What’s more, this is the first government in over 30 years to reform the Access to Information Act, and the government will continue to try to do better. However, what you said is true. It may be a cliché, but clichés are clichés because they have a grain of truth. A lot more work needs to be done, and the government will continue to try to do better.

It seems that the loss of these requests resulted from work done on 40 among the hundreds of servers belonging to the Canada Border Services Agency. These 40 servers contained the 12,000 requests that disappeared.

In the interest of transparency, can you tell us what other data on these 40 Canada Border Services Agency servers were lost?

Senator Gold [ - ]

In fact, I don’t have the information you’re looking for, and I don’t know if it’s available.

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