A “B” for New Brunswick In A National Study On Access To Information

A group representing the Canadian media gives the “B” rating of the level of transparency of the New Brunswick government, following a national analysis of access to information systems.

News Media Canada filed access to information requests with municipal, provincial and federal governments and gave them a rating on their openness.

Of the 15 applications sent to the Government of New Brunswick, eight were completed in full, six were partially rejected and only one was answered “no data”.

The Access to Information study was conducted by an Associate Professor of Journalism at King’s College in Halifax, Fred Vallance-Jones.

New Brunswick has had good results in general.

Fred Vallance-Jones, Associate Professor of Journalism at King’s College

The score “B” represents a satisfaction rate of 75 to 87.5%.

According to him, the survey revealed problems with the Departments of Education and Early Childhood Development, Health and Justice and Public Safety. They responded to queries with a PDF document, rather than an electronic spreadsheet format, as requested.

“We asked for a machine-readable format, so it’s an obstacle if you can not open an electronic file. We put a lot of emphasis on that in the investigation and made comments when it happened. ”

At the municipal level, the cities of Moncton and Fredericton were both rated “A”.

Saint-Jean was not noted, for “technical reasons,” says the report.

A “F” at the federal level

The Government of Canada has not passed the test of News Media Canada.

The access to information system is worse under Justin Trudeau than in the last years of the Harper government, reports the study. The rating “F” was awarded. “It’s perhaps the worst we’ve seen in the seven times we’ve tested since 2008,” says Fred Vallance-Jones, one of Canada’s leading access to information.

The Trudeau government said in 2015 that “transparent government is a good government. ”

Only 25% of requests were answered within 30 days. In New Brunswick, this rate is 87%.

The Information Commissioner of Canada, Suzanne Legault, also denounced Bill C-58 on the same day that the report was released. This measure, introduced in June, aims to increase transparency in Ottawa. Rather, it would have the opposite effect.

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About the Author: James Johnson

James Johnson is one of the lead editors for NB Post Gazette. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. James specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.

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