Canadian Security Magazine

Therrien wants to curb information czar’s power

By The Canadian Press   

News Public Sector privacy privacy commissioner

OTTAWA – The privacy commissioner wants to limit planned new powers for the federal information czar.

Daniel Therrien says proposed authority for information commissioner Suzanne Legault to order the release of information should not include files that deal with personal data.

In a brief to a Commons committee, Therrien says the matter should only be discussed two years from now when the government does a full-scale review of the Access to Information Act.

The privacy commissioner says the delay would provide time to think through the full implications of allowing the information commissioner to order disclosure of material that a federal agency deems to be personal data.

Currently, the information commissioner serves as an ombudsman who can only recommend to an agency that files be disclosed when a dispute arises about whether they are exempt from release.


The privacy commissioner’s call represents just the latest suggestion that Legault’s planned order-making power – to be introduced in legislation late this year or early next – should be watered down.

In a consultation survey last month, the Liberal government floated the idea of a ministerial veto over the information commissioner’s orders – meaning cabinet would be able to step in to block the release of a document.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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