Before the development of access to information legislation, government information was not generally available to the public. While the emergence of access to information legislation in Canadian jurisdictions reflected important public policy decisions that providing access to information promotes good government, the courts had always recognized that there was no constitutional right to require the government to disclose information in its possession. In Criminal Lawyers’ Assn. v. Ontario (Ministry of Public Safety and Security) the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously reached the novel conclusion that the right to freedom of information protected by section 2(b) of the Charter contained, in limited circumstances, a derivative right to government information. The new right to government information recognized by the Court is an extremely narrow right, limited to situations “where access is necessary to permit meaningful discussion on a matter of public importance, subject to privileges and functional constraints”. This article discusses the content of the new limited right to government information and its implications.
"Criminal Lawyers’ Assn. v. Ontario: A Limited Right to Government Information under Section 2(b) of the Charter."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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