By the New Transparency Project
BCCLA – The Access to Information Act allows individuals and groups to access information held by federal government bodies, but preparing an Access to Information (ATI) request and the follow-up process can be confusing. This guide was created to simplify the process and help people get useful and informative results from their ATI requests.
This resource is for filing a request for access to records kept by Canadian federal government bodies, such as the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Canada Border Services Agency, the Correctional Service of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, etc.
Christopher Parsons, The Citizen Lab – On April 29, 2014 the Interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Chantal Bernier, revealed that Canadian telecommunications companies have disclosed enormous volumes of information to state agencies. These agencies can include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canadian Border Services Agency, as well as provincial and municipal authorities. Commissioner Bernier’s disclosure followed on news that federal agencies such as the Canadian Border Services Agency requested access to Canadians’ subscriber data over 19 thousand times in a year, as well as the refusal of Canadian telecommunications companies to publicly disclose how, why, and how often they disclose information to state agencies.
This post argues that Canadians are not powerless. They can use existing laws to try and learn whether their communications companies are disclosing their personal information to state agencies. I begin by explaining why Canadians have a legal right to compel companies to disclose the information that they generate and collect about Canadians. I then provide a template letter that Canadians can fill in and issue to the telecommunications companies providing them with service, as well as some of the contact information for major Canadian telecommunications companies. Finally, I’ll provide a few tips on what to do if companies refuse to respond to your requests and conclude by explaining why it’s so important that Canadians send these demands to companies providing them with phone, wireless, and internet service.