Premier Tom Marshall announced a sweeping review of the access to information system, and Bill 29.
Premier Tom Marshall (right) speaks to members of the media today about appointing an independent committee to conduct the statutory review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA), as amended by Bill 29. Minister Steve Kent is at left. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
He said the government will be appointing a three-person panel, independent from government, to do public consultations and a full study of access to information issues.
Marshall said he hoped that the review is done in time for the fall session of the House of Assembly, but he's putting no restrictions on it, and the reviewers will have as much time as they need.
The announcement comes after nearly two years of relentless controversy, after the government passed Bill 29 in the spring of 2012.
The legislation vastly increased the government's ability to keep information secret from the public, and in many cases, made it illegal for the government to provide certain information to the public.
Since Kathy Dunderdale resigned as premier last week, and Marshall took over, he's been signaling a more receptive tone when it comes to public criticism.
Marshall said that the government hasn't named anyone to the three-person panel yet; he said if anybody has suggestions, they should get in touch with the government.
Marshall announces independent review of access to information act
Premier Tom Marshall said today the provincial government will appoint an independent committee to conduct the statutory review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA), as amended by Bill 29.
“There is a mandatory review outlined in the ATIPP legislation and in response to public concerns about the amendments to the legislation made by Bill 29, we want to get the process underway immediately,” Marshall said in a news release.
“We will appoint an independent review committee and ask it to hold public hearings. We invite the general public, experts, businesses, labour and others to make their views known as part of this process.
“If people have specific areas of concern, we want to hear them.”
The committee, consisting of three individuals, will submit a report to government. The final report and all recommendations will be made available to the public and government will consider all recommendations it receives.
Proclaimed in January 2005, the ATIPPA mandates in Section 74 that a review of the legislation be commenced every five years.