Lack of funding has led to growing complaint backlog: info watchdog

The federal information watchdog says the government's refusal to properly fund her office has led to an increased backlog of complaints from the public.

OTTAWA — The federal information watchdog says the government’s refusal to properly fund her office has led to an increased backlog of complaints from the public.

In her annual report, information commissioner Suzanne Legault calls it a concerted effort to deny seekers of federal files the right to timely review of government decisions on disclosure.

Legault says 2014-15 was probably one of the most challenging for her to date.

The information commissioner is an ombudsman for users of the Access to Information Act, handling complaints about delays, fees, and difficulties in obtaining records from federal agencies.

The access law allows people who pay $5 to request a variety of records from federal agencies — from correspondence and briefing notes to audits and hospitality receipts.

Departments are supposed to respond within 30 days or provide good reasons why more time is necessary.