Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

"Freedom" of Information in Canada: Implications for Historical Research

Document type Article
Author Clément, Dominique
Journal Labour / Le Travail
Volume 75
Date 2015 Spring
ISSN 1911-4842
Pages 101-131


Discusses the problems faced by historical researchers in placing freedom-of-information requests. Although FOI legislation is on the books both federally and provincially, researchers must navigate significant barriers in obtaining information from government agencies and ministries, including censorship of documents, delays in responding, costly processing fees, and institutional cultures of secrecy. The author describes his variable experiences and makes suggestions for the submission of requests. A 2012 federal court ruling on FOI [Canada (Canadian Heritage) v. Bronskill] is also discussed. The conclusions lists recommendations for legislative reform and notes that the FOI debate has impacted on archival work and researchers' relationship with archives.