Canadian Supreme Court found limited right to government information

On June 17, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 7-0 in Ontario (Public Safety and Security) v. Criminal Lawyers' Association that Canadians have a limited right to government information if the information is necessary to the effective exercise of the freedom of expression and is not privileged. The court held that under § 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms a claimant must show that denial of access to withheld information "effectively precludes meaningful public discussion on matters of public interest." In establishing this, a claimant creates a prima facie case for production of the information that may be refuted through an assertion of a privilege which would place it outside of the scope of § 2(b). Additionally, information may be withheld from release if its release would interfere with the functions of government.


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