DAOD 1001-0, Access to Information

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 1999-10-12

Date of Last Modification: 2015-09-30

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Supersession: NDHQ Instruction DG Exec Sec 3/91 Implementation - Access to Information Act

Approval Authority: Corporate Secretary (Corp Sec)

Enquiries: Director Access to Information and Privacy (DAIP)

2. Policy Direction

Context

2.1 The right of access to information in records under the control of government institutions is an essential element of the Canadian system of democracy and has been recognized as a quasi-constitutional right by the courts due to the role it plays in:

  1. providing access to information required to participate in the democratic process; and
  2. ensuring that public office holders and public servants are accountable.

Note – The terms “government institution” and “record” are defined in section 3 of the Access to Information Act (AIA).

2.2 The AIA sets out the process by which the public may exercise their right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution, and the limited and specific exceptions to that right which may be applied by a government institution.

Policy Statement

2.3 The DND and the CAF are committed to ensuring that:

  1. the public is able to exercise their right of access, under the AIA, to information in records under DND and CAF control, subject only to those exceptions permitted by law;
  2. access is provided without interference; and
  3. decisions regarding access are reviewed independently of government.

Requirements

2.4 In order to implement this policy, the DND and the CAF must:

  1. exercise discretion in a fair, reasonable and impartial manner in the processing of requests for access made under the AIA and in the resolution of complaints;
  2. establish effective policies and instructions to respond to requests for access, and ensure that deliberations and decisions in respect of requests are documented;
  3. ensure that DND employees and CAF members are aware of the policies and instructions in respect of requests for access and of their legal responsibilities under the AIA and the Access to Information Regulations;
  4. ensure that the identity of a person making a request for access is protected and only disclosed if there is a clear need to know in order to perform duties and functions related to a lawful program or activity;
  5. ensure that every reasonable effort is made to assist a person making a request for access in receiving a complete, accurate and timely response in the format requested, without regard to the identity of the person;
  6. establish measures to ensure that the DND and the CAF meet the requirements of the AIA when contracting with private sector organizations or when establishing agreements or arrangements with public sector institutions; and
  7. ensure that appropriate procedures are in place to investigate any alleged obstruction of the right of access in contravention of section 67.1 of the AIA.

3. Consequences

Consequences of Non-Compliance

3.1 Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for DND employees and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance may be investigated. The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from actual non-compliance will be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance. Consequences of non-compliance may include one or more of the following:

  1. the ordering of the completion of appropriate learning, training or professional development;
  2. the entering of observations in individual performance evaluations;
  3. increased reporting and performance monitoring;
  4. the withdrawal of any authority provided under this DAOD to a DND employee or CAF member;
  5. the reporting of suspected offences to responsible law enforcement agencies;
  6. the liability of Her Majesty in right of Canada;
  7. the application of specific consequences as set out in applicable laws, codes of conduct, and DND and CAF policies and instructions;
  8. other administration administrative or disciplinary action, or both;
  9. the provision of additional information relating to the development and implementation of compliance strategies in the AIA annual report to Parliament; and
  10. the reporting of non-compliance in the assessment prepared as part of the Management Accountability Framework process.

Note – In respect of the compliance of DND employees, see the Treasury Board (TB) Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.

4. Authorities

Authority Table

4.1 The following table identifies the authorities associated with this DAOD:

The …

has or have the authority to …

Minister of National Defence

  • designate, by order, one or more officers or employees to exercise or perform any of the powers, duties or functions of the head of a government institution under the AIA that are specified in the order.

Deputy Minister, Corp Sec and DAIP

  • exercise all powers, duties and functions as designated by the Minister under the AIA; and
  • issue direction to the DND and the CAF on all matters related to the AIA as specified by the President of the TB, the designated Minister responsible for preparing policy instruments concerning the operation of the AIA and the Access to Information Regulations.

 

5. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other Reference

  • DAOD 1001-1, Formal Requests for Access to Departmental Information