Access to Information Act: CBC/Radio-Canada responds to Sun Media charges

June 5, 2009

Sun Media newspapers are suggesting that “CBC/Radio-Canada is dragging its feet” regarding its obligations to comply with the Access to Information Act. We want to set the record straight.

The Facts

Sun Media is a CBC/Radio-Canada competitor.

When CBC/Radio-Canada was made subject to the Act in September 2007, it was inundated with requests — close to 500 in the first three months. We could not have imagined that CBC/Radio-Canada would receive more information requests, for the same period of time, than the BBC, which serves a population twice as large. The BBC received 971 requests for information during its first year under comparable legislation.

The vast majority of the requests we’ve received have come from one source, which has publicly revealed to have among its clients Sun Media Corporation.

Requests may be, and have been, made for a wide variety of information. CBC/Radio-Canada remains committed to respecting the intent and spirit of the legislation while safeguarding commercially competitive information as permitted by the Act. As well, records relating to CBC/Radio-Canada’s journalistic, creative and programming activities are specifically excluded from the scope of the Act.

As a leader in the Canadian broadcasting industry, CBC/Radio-Canada expects to attract more attention than other Crown corporations. CBC/Radio-Canada takes its responsibilities under the legislation very seriously and will continue to respond to incoming requests as quickly as possible in a fair and transparent manner.

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