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COVID-19 pandemic highlights need to document decisions: Information commissioner

OTTAWA — The federal information czar says the shift to doing government work at home is underscoring a need to ensure decisions are properly documented.

Information commissioner Caroline Maynard is concerned the use of instant messaging, email and team-sharing tools might mean some communications slip though the digital cracks.

Maynard is an ombudsman for users of the Access to Information Act, which allows people who pay $5 to request government records ranging from briefing notes to meeting minutes.

However, the law doesn’t require federal agencies to create records, only to provide what they have.

During a panel discussion, Maynard notes commissioners have been pressing the government to usher in a formal duty to document government decisions.

She says the idea has resurfaced as a result of the move to makeshift work arrangements during the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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