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Access to Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1)

Act current to 2022-08-08 and last amended on 2022-07-26. Previous Versions

PART 1Access to Government Records (continued)

Offences (continued)

Marginal note:Obstructing right of access

  •  (1) No person shall, with intent to deny a right of access under this Part,

    • (a) destroy, mutilate or alter a record;

    • (b) falsify a record or make a false record;

    • (c) conceal a record; or

    • (d) direct, propose, counsel or cause any person in any manner to do anything mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (c).

  • Marginal note:Offence and punishment

    (2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of

    • (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or to both; or

    • (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or to both.

Exclusions

Marginal note:Part 1 does not apply to certain materials

 This Part does not apply to

  • (a) published material, other than material published under Part 2, or material available for purchase by the public;

  • (b) library or museum material preserved solely for public reference or exhibition purposes; or

  • (c) material placed in the Library and Archives of Canada, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 by or on behalf of persons or organizations other than government institutions.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 68
  • R.S., 1985, c. 1 (3rd Supp.), s. 12
  • 1990, c. 3, s. 32
  • 1992, c. 1, s. 143(E)
  • 2004, c. 11, s. 22
  • 2008, c. 9, s. 5
  • 2010, c. 7, s. 5
  • 2013, c. 38, s. 11
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 31

Marginal note:Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

 This Part does not apply to any information that is under the control of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that relates to its journalistic, creative or programming activities, other than information that relates to its general administration.

Marginal note:Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

 This Part does not apply to any information that is under the control of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited other than information that relates to

  • (a) its general administration; or

  • (b) its operation of any nuclear facility within the meaning of section 2 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act that is subject to regulation by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission established under section 8 of that Act.

Marginal note:Confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada

  •  (1) This Part does not apply to confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

    • (a) memoranda the purpose of which is to present proposals or recommendations to Council;

    • (b) discussion papers the purpose of which is to present background explanations, analyses of problems or policy options to Council for consideration by Council in making decisions;

    • (c) agenda of Council or records recording deliberations or decisions of Council;

    • (d) records used for or reflecting communications or discussions between ministers of the Crown on matters relating to the making of government decisions or the formulation of government policy;

    • (e) records the purpose of which is to brief ministers of the Crown in relation to matters that are before, or are proposed to be brought before, Council or that are the subject of communications or discussions referred to in paragraph (d);

    • (f) draft legislation; and

    • (g) records that contain information about the contents of any record within a class of records referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f).

  • Definition of Council

    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), Council means the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, committees of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Cabinet and committees of Cabinet.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (3) Subsection (1) does not apply to

    • (a) confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada that have been in existence for more than twenty years; or

    • (b) discussion papers described in paragraph (1)(b)

      • (i) if the decisions to which the discussion papers relate have been made public, or

      • (ii) where the decisions have not been made public, if four years have passed since the decisions were made.

Marginal note:Certificate under Canada Evidence Act

  •  (1) Where a certificate under section 38.13 of the Canada Evidence Act prohibiting the disclosure of information contained in a record is issued before a complaint is filed under this Part in respect of a request for access to that information, this Part does not apply to that information.

  • Marginal note:Certificate following filing of complaint

    (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Part, where a certificate under section 38.13 of the Canada Evidence Act prohibiting the disclosure of information contained in a record is issued after the filing of a complaint under this Part in relation to a request for access to that information,

    • (a) all proceedings under this Part in respect of the complaint, including an investigation, appeal or judicial review, are discontinued;

    • (b) the Information Commissioner shall not disclose the information and shall take all necessary precautions to prevent its disclosure; and

    • (c) the Information Commissioner shall, within 10 days after the certificate is published in the Canada Gazette, return the information to the head of the government institution that controls the information.

Designated Minister’s Duties and Functions

Marginal note:Duties and functions of designated Minister

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the designated Minister shall

    • (a) cause to be kept under review the manner in which records under the control of government institutions are maintained and managed to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Part and the regulations relating to access to records;

    • (b) prescribe any forms that may be required for the operation of this Part and the regulations made under this Part;

    • (c) cause to be prepared and distributed to government institutions directives and guidelines concerning the operation of this Part and the regulations made under this Part; and

    • (c.1) [Repealed, 2019, c. 18, s. 33]

    • (d) cause statistics to be collected on an annual basis for the purpose of assessing the compliance of government institutions with the provisions of this Part and the regulations relating to access to records and cause to be published on an annual basis a report containing a summary of those statistics.

  • Marginal note:Duties and functions of designated Minister

    (1.1) The designated Minister may fix the number of officers or employees of the Information Commissioner for the purposes of subsection 59(2).

  • Marginal note:Exception for Bank of Canada

    (2) Anything that is required to be done by the designated Minister under paragraph (1)(a) or (c) shall be done in respect of the Bank of Canada by the Governor of the Bank of Canada.

Regulations

Marginal note:Governor in Council

 The Governor in Council may make regulations

  • (a) prescribing limitations in respect of the format in which records are to be provided under subsection 4(2.1);

  • (b) prescribing limitations in respect of records that can be produced from machine readable records for the purpose of subsection 4(3);

  • (c) prescribing the procedure to be followed in making and responding to a request for access to a record under this Part;

  • (d) prescribing, for the purpose of subsection 8(1), the conditions under which a request may be transferred from one government institution to another;

  • (e) prescribing a fee for the purposes of subsection 11(1);

  • (f) prescribing, for the purpose of subsection 12(1), the manner or place in which access to a record or a part of a record shall be given;

  • (g) specifying investigative bodies for the purpose of paragraph 16(1)(a);

  • (h) specifying classes of investigations for the purpose of paragraph 16(4)(c); and

  • (i) prescribing the procedures to be followed by the Information Commissioner and any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Information Commissioner in examining or obtaining copies of records relevant to an investigation of a complaint in respect of a refusal to disclose a record or a part of a record under paragraph 13(1)(a) or (b) or section 15.

PART 2Proactive Publication of Information

Senate, House of Commons and Parliamentary Entities

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definition of quarter

 In sections 71.02 to 71.14, quarter means a three-month period that begins on the first day of January, April, July or October.

Senators

Marginal note:Travel expenses

 Within 90 days after the end of the quarter in which any travel expenses incurred by a Senator are reimbursed, the Speaker of the Senate shall cause to be published on the Senate’s website the following information:

  • (a) the Senator’s name;

  • (b) the purpose of the travel;

  • (c) the dates of the travel;

  • (d) the places visited;

  • (e) the total cost for each of the following classes of expenses, including the costs for any other person such as a spouse or dependant who participated in the travel:

    • (i) transportation,

    • (ii) lodging,

    • (iii) meals and any incidental expenses, and

    • (iv) other expenses; and

  • (f) the total amount of the travel expenses.

Marginal note:Hospitality expenses

 Within 90 days after the end of the quarter in which any expenses incurred by a Senator for a hospitality activity are reimbursed, the Speaker of the Senate shall cause to be published on the Senate’s website the following information:

  • (a) the Senator’s name;

  • (b) the purpose of the hospitality activity;

  • (c) the date of the hospitality activity;

  • (d) the municipality in which the hospitality activity took place;

  • (e) the name of any commercial establishment or vendor involved in the hospitality activity;

  • (f) the number of persons who attended the hospitality activity; and

  • (g) the total amount of the expenses for the hospitality activity.

Marginal note:Contracts

  •  (1) Within 90 days after the end of the quarter in which a contract is entered into by a Senator with respect to Senate business, including a contract for professional, technical or administrative services or expertise, the Speaker of the Senate shall cause to be published on the Senate’s website the following information:

    • (a) the Senator’s name;

    • (b) the subject matter of the contract;

    • (c) the names of the other parties;

    • (d) the contract period; and

    • (e) the value of the contract.

  • Marginal note:Increase or decrease in value of contract

    (2) Within 90 days after the end of the quarter in which a contract referred to in subsection (1) is amended so that its value is increased or decreased, the Speaker of the Senate shall cause to be published on the Senate’s website the value of the contract as amended.

Members of the House of Commons

Marginal note:Travel expenses

 Within 90 days after the end of the quarter in which any travel expenses incurred by a member of the House of Commons are reimbursed, the Speaker of the House of Commons shall cause to be published on the House of Commons’ website the following information:

  • (a) the member’s name;

  • (b) the purpose of the travel;

  • (c) the dates of the travel;

  • (d) the places visited;

  • (e) the total cost for each of the following classes of expenses, including the costs for any other person such as a spouse or dependant who participated in the travel:

    • (i) transportation,

    • (ii) lodging,

    • (iii) meals and any incidental expenses, and

    • (iv) other expenses; and

  • (f) the total amount for all travel expenses.

 
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