Governing Through Transparency: Investigating the New Access to Information Regime in Canada


This paper examines the state of Canada’s federal access to information (ATI) regime. Drawing from literature on government transparency, we conceptualize Bill C-58 and the problems it proposes to address as a form of policy discordance. We assess the recent digitization of ATI in Canada by analyzing data on request abandonment, record exemptions, as well as variation by ministry. In so doing, we identify tensions between strategic narratives of “open, honest, government” and recent changes brought about through legislative amendments. We conclude by problematizing notions of proactive disclosure, open government, and transparency as currently promoted in the Canadian federal context.

The Information Society