Conservatives reject Access to Information Act reform in openness plan

The Conservative government has rejected calls to reform the Access to Information Act as part of a new openness plan.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government has rejected calls to reform the Access to Information Act as part of a new openness plan.

The final version of the federal plan on open government for 2014-16 remains silent on updating the 32-year-old law despite public pleas during several consultations — including a recent round of feedback on a draft plan.

The final plan, published today, would see the government make more information and data — including scientific research, federal contract details and archival records — more readily available.

However, it suggests no legislative changes to the access law, which allows people who pay $5 to request government records.

The federal information watchdog, opposition parties, pro-democracy groups and members of the government’s own advisory panel have urged modernization, saying the law allows federal agencies to withhold too much information.

Reform of the law was suggested during federal online consultations for the openness plan and during meetings in Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa and St. Catharines, Ont.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement calls the law “a good piece of legislation.”

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