Policy 2.9.5: Access to Information

Effective Date: September 1, 2007
Responsibility: Vice-President, Legal Services, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary


The Access to Information Act describes its purpose as follows:

The purpose of this Act is to extend the present laws of Canada to provide a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.

The term record is defined as any documentary material, regardless of medium or form.


It is the policy of CBC/Radio-Canada:

  • to carry out the requirements of the Access to Information Act in a manner consistent with the requirement that access to records should be granted to Canadian citizens and persons resident in Canada unless a specific exclusion or exemption applies,
  • to apply CBC/Radio-Canada’s specific exclusion with a view of protecting CBC/Radio-Canada journalistic, programming and creative independence;
  • when an exemption should be considered, to apply exemptions in the most appropriate manner permitted by law;
  • to ensure effective and consistent administration of and compliance with the requirements of the Access to Information Act and Regulations within CBC/Radio-Canada;
  • that the President and CEO be responsible for administering the Access to Information Act and Regulations, setting out requirements for processing access requests, designating an official to coordinate the duties imposed by the legislation (the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinator) reporting to the President and CEO;
  • that the ATIP Office be responsible for the handling of ATIP requests pursuant to the delegation of authority granted by the President and CEO, acts as a liaison between CBC/Radio-Canada and the Office of the Information Commissioner and reports to the ATIP Coordinator;
  • that the functions of the ATIP Office be confidential;


This policy applies to all employees of CBC/Radio Canada.


All employees are responsible for the records they create or maintain. When requested by the ATIP Office, employees shall conduct a diligent search for records requested and submit electronic copies of them to the ATIP Office.

The ATIP Coordinator is responsible for supervising compliance with the legislation and for initiating procedures, guidelines and schedules developed to give effect to this policy.

The ATIP Coordinator is accountable for CBC/Radio-Canada’s policies and practices with respect to compliance with the Access to Information Act, and is the individual to whom complaints and inquiries can be forwarded.


Person Responsible for Interpretation and Application

Vice-President, Legal Services, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Procedures under the Access to information Policy


When the President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada chooses to delegate responsibilities under the Act, CBC/Radio-Canada will have in place a current Delegation Order, signed by the President and CEO, authorizing which responsibilities may be carried out by particular officials. The powers, duties and functions that may be delegated are as specified in the Act.

Accounting for Information Holdings

In order to support the Designated Minister in producing the publications required by the Act, CBC/Radio-Canada will provide descriptions of its organization and information holdings to Treasury Board Secretariat, in accordance with government-wide standards.

Processing Requests

CBC/Radio Canada has established anATIP Office to ensure that requests are handled in a centralized and consistent manner and that proper factors are considered in applying the provisions of the Access to Information Act to requested records. The ATIP Office will ensure that a system for processing requests accounts for all relevant deliberations and decisions taken concerning each request.

Confidentiality of the ATIP Office

No ATIP officer shall reveal the content of any records requested to individuals not concerned with the request unless required to do so pursuant to a court decision, this policy and its guidelines or the law.

Save and except pursuant to a court decision, this policy and its guidelines or the law, no ATIP officer may be required to reveal the identity of a requestor or the content of confidential correspondence with a requestor.

To protect the ATIP function, it is the policy of CBC/Radio-Canada that no ATIP officer will be required by CBC/Radio-Canada to provide evidence during any investigation, arbitration or litigation which has as its focus the content of records that have been reviewed by the ATIP officer unless the investigation or litigation is concerned with the application of the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act.

Review of Records

The Access to Information Act states: (in section 68.1)

This Act does not apply to any information that is under the control of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that relates to its journalistic, creative or programming activities, other than information that relates to its general administration.

CBC/RadioCanada will review requests to determine whether the exclusion set out in s.68.1 applies. Where it is clear from the text of the request that the exclusion applies, the request will be refused with no review of the requested records. Where it is unclear from the text of the request whether or not the exclusion applies, CBC/Radio Canada will review the relevant records to determine if an exclusion or exemption applies to some or all of the records. Where possible, CBC/Radio-Canada will sever from the records any portion to which an exclusion or exemption applies and release the rest of the records.

Indication of Exclusion or Exemption

In order that applicants are informed of the reason(s) for the refusal of access to a record or part of a record, CBC/Radio-Canada will refer to the specific provisions of the legislation in justifying an exclusion or exemption.


CBC/Radio-Canada shall recover fees chargeable under the Act for work done in processing access to information requests, except where waiver of fees in the public interest may apply. CBC/Radio-Canada will:

  • refund any portion of a deposit requested for work to be undertaken where the amount exceeds the actual charges levied; and
  • reduce any fees payable for producing a computer record where the actual cost of producing the record is less than the fee prescribed in the regulations.

Forwarding Requests to the ATIP Office

All access to information requests that are received within CBC/Radio-Canada must be forwarded to the ATIP Office immediately.

Operating Principles

Records should not be removed from CBC/Radio-Canada premises or destroyed without proper authorization.

All questions related to the interpretation and application of this policy should be directed to the ATIP Coordinator in Ottawa at 613 288-6165.

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