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Bill C-248

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First Session, Forty-second Parliament,
64-65 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
BILL C-248
An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and the Access to Information Act (transparency)
FIRST READING, MARCH 9, 2016
Mr. Masse
421033


SUMMARY
This enactment amends the Parliament of Canada Act to require the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons to open its meetings, with certain exceptions, to the public. It also amends the Access to Information Act to modernize and clarify the purpose of the Act and to give the Information Commissioner the power to make compliance orders.
Available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the following address:
http://www.parl.gc.ca


1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
64-65 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
BILL C-248
An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and the Access to Information Act (transparency)
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
R.‍S.‍, c. P-1
Parliament of Canada Act
1(1) Section 50 of the Parliament of Canada Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (4):
Public meetings
(4.‍1) 
Meetings of the Board shall be open to the public. However, a meeting or portion of a meeting shall be held in camera
(a) if the issues being discussed relate to security, employment, staff relations or tenders; or
(b) if the unanimous consent of the members of the Board present at the meeting is obtained.
(2) Subsection 50(6) of the Act is repealed.
2Form 3 in the schedule to the Act is replaced by the following:
Form 3
I, . . . . . . . . . . . . .‍, do solemnly swear (affirm) that I will faithfully, truly and to the best of my judgment, skill and ability execute and perform the duties required of me as a member of the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons. (In the case where an oath is taken, add “So help me God”.‍)
I further solemnly swear (affirm) that I will not communicate or allow to be communicated to any person without due authority in that behalf any information relating to matters discussed in a meeting of the Board that is held in camera. (In the case where an oath is taken, add “So help me God”.‍)
R.‍S.‍, c. A-1
Access to Information Act
3(1) Subsection 2(1) of the Access to Information Act is replaced by the following:
Purpose
2(1) 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 all government institutions in accordance with the principles that
(a)government information must be made openly available to the public and accessible in machine readable form;
(b)necessary exceptions to the right of access should be rare, limited and specific; and
(c)decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed and enforced independently of government.
(2) Section 2 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
Access prevails
(3) 
In the event of any uncertainty as to whether an exception applies to a record requested under this Act, the principle set out in paragraph 2(1)‍(a) applies and the record shall be made available.
4The definition record in section 3 of the Act is replaced by the following:
record means any documentary material, regardless of medium or form, including any digital data; (document)
5Subsection 4(3) of the Act is replaced by the following:
Records produced from machine readable records
(3) For the purposes of this Act, any record requested under this Act that does not exist but can be produced from a machine readable record under the control of a government institution using computer hardware and software and technical expertise normally used by the government institution shall be deemed to be a record under the control of the government institution.
6The portion of section 7 of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
Notice and access
7When access to a record is requested under this Act, the head of the government institution to which the request is made shall, subject to sections 8 and 9, within 30 days after the request is received,
7(1) The portion of subsection 10(1) of the Eng­lish version of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
When access is refused
10(1) When the head of a government institution ref- uses to give access to all or part of a record requested under this Act, the notice given under paragraph 7(a) shall state that the person who made the request has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the refusal. The notice shall also
(2) Paragraph 10(1)‍(b) of the Act is replaced by the following:
(b) provide a detailed explanation of the reason for the refusal, taking into consideration the principles set out in section 2, and indicate the specific provision of this Act on which the refusal was based or, if the notice does not indicate whether a record exists, the provision on which a refusal could reasonably be expected to be based if the record existed.
8Section 11 of the Act is replaced by the following:
Application fee
11(1) Subject to subsection (2), a person who makes a request for access to a record under this Act shall be required to pay an application fee of five dollars at the time the request is made.
Waiver
(2) The head of a government institution to which a request for access to a record is made under this Act may waive the requirement to pay all or part of a fee under this section or may refund all or part of such a fee.
Refund
(3) 
If, following a request for access to a record made under this Act and despite sections 8 and 9, the head of a government institution fails to comply with section 7 within 30 days after the request is received, the application fee shall be refunded to the person who made the request.
Obligation to respond
(4) 
For greater certainty, despite the payment of a refund under subsection (3), the head of the government institution to which the request is made must respond to the request in accordance with this Act.
9Paragraph 30(1)‍(b) of the Act is repealed.
10The Act is amended by adding the following after section 37:
Compliance order
37.‍1
(1) After completing an investigation in response to a complaint or on his or her own initiative, the Information Commissioner may, if he or she determines that the head of the government institution did not have grounds on which to refuse to disclose all or part of the record, order the head of the institution to disclose all or part of the record; the Information Commissioner may also order the taking of any other measure to ensure that the institution complies with this Act.
Time limit
(2) 
The Information Commissioner shall establish a time limit for the implementation of the order.
Extension of time limit
(3) 
On the request of the government institution that is the object of the order, the Information Commissioner may, at any time within the time limit specified in the order, extend that time limit.
Duty to comply with orders
37.‍2
The government institution that is the object of the order under section 37.‍1 shall comply with the order within the time limit established in the order or any extension of that time limit granted under subsection 37.‍1(3), unless an application for judicial review of the order is sought under section 41.
Enforcement of orders
37.‍3
(1) The Information Commissioner may file a certified copy of an order made under section 37.‍1 with the Court, and such an order has the same force and effect, and all proceedings may be taken on it, as if it were a judgment of the Court.
Conditions
(2) 
The order may be filed under subsection (1) only if the time limit established in the order or any extension of that time limit granted under subsection 37.‍1(3) has expired and if the order is not the subject of an application in judicial review or if any proceedings in relation to the judicial review have been completed.
11Section 41 of the Act is renumbered as subsection 41(1) and is amended by adding the following:
Review of order
(2) 
The head of a government institution that is the subject of an order under section 37.‍1 may apply to the Court for a review of the order within 45 days after the expiry of the time limit established in the order or any extension of that time limit granted under subsection 37.‍1(3).
12Section 75 of the Act is replaced by the following:
Review of Act by Parliamentary committee
75(1) The administration of this Act shall be reviewed within 90 days after the coming into force of this section and at least once every five years after that, by a committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament that is designated or established by Parliament for that purpose.
Report to Parliament
(2) The committee designated or established for the purpose of subsection (1) shall within a year after the review is undertaken or within any longer period authorized by the Senate, the House of Commons or both Houses of Parliament, as the case may be, submit a report to Parliament including its conclusions and rec-ommendations.
13Paragraph 77(1)‍(d) of the Act is repealed.
Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons

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