Third Party Record Exemptions in Canada’s Access to Information Act

CIGI Policy Brief No. 172

May 2, 2022

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision making (ADM) used by and on behalf of the Government of Canada pose significant challenges to Canada’s Access to Information Act (ATIA). While the ATIA’s goal is to enhance accountability and transparency through the disclosure of records under the control of government, exemptions in the ATIA for third party records such as trade secrets make meaningful access difficult when it comes to AI and ADM. Several departments working at the epicentre of AI and ADM policy handle requests made to them through the ATIA by routinely invoking such exemptions. Citizens’ entitlements to transparency and accountability in such contexts are increasingly clashing with commercial actors’ desire to avoid or block disclosure of records.

About the Author

Matt Malone is a research associate at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa.