Quebec got an F grade to get access to public information

Entre temps, on parle d’une enquête de la construction, mais il y a un vice de forme dans toute la gouvernance du Québec, le manque de transparence à l’accès à l’information.


Transparence au Québec

Le Québec souffre sérieusement de transparence, les requêtes d'accès à l'information sont rarement traitées à l'intérieur du délai prescrit de 30 jours, de plus, souvent les données sont fragmentaires et difficiles à établir des corrélations.

·         Une saine transparence réduit les coûts et le gaspillage, la fraude et l’abus.

·         Avoir une saine transparence permet aux journalistes ou simples concitoyens de vérifier les dépenses de l’État.

·         Élimine certaines instances publiques qui refusent systématiquement de donner des informations ou créent des entraves qui aideraient aux journalistes à faire leur enquête.

·         Savoir si un entrepreneur a été favorisé de façon indue pour l’attribution des contrats par un ministère en particulier.

·         Exemple permet à un simple concitoyen de vérifier si sa commission scolaire dépense plus pour l'aménagement de ces bureaux que d'avoir des orthopédagogues. Permets à un simple concitoyen de vérifier si sa commission scolaire dépense plus pour l'aménagement de ces bureaux que d'avoir des orthopédagogues.

·         Exemple, un entrepreneur peut vérifier  si le contrat qui a été alloué à son compétiteur respecte bien les clauses de la soumission initiale.

Quand le Missouri a implanté son portail ‘Transparency 2.0’ en moins de 18 mois, ils ont reçu plus de 13 millions de hits, 13 millions de ‘Watchdog’ qui vérifie si l’État dépense bien, s’il n’y a pas des conflits d’intérêts sur l’attribution des contrats, si les gens de la fonction publique dépensent avec justesse les fonds publics, si le processus des soumissions est transparent, autant de raison pour avoir une transparence efficace.

Ne jamais oublier que l'État ne crée aucune richesse, elle ne fait que là redistribuée, c'est vous le peuple qui est le GRAND PATRON et vous être en droit de vérifier si le gouvernement utilise l'argent de vos impôts et de vos taxes avec justice et discernement.


Extrait de: Canadians still struggling to get access to public information, audit shows, The Canadian Press, Sep. 27, 2011

A new audit shows Canadians are still facing challenges when trying to get information in a complete and timely manner from various levels of government.

Newspapers Canada’s sixth annual National Freedom of Information Audit found that Canadians continue to have uneven access to what should be public information. The group represents Canada’s newspapers.

A student audit team found a wide variation in how quickly and completely various levels of government respond to requests for information.

The team made 354 requests on 40 topics to 11 federal departments and agencies, five provincial departments, 39 municipalities and 10 major hospitals.

It found Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Yukon were the fastest responders and B.C. the slowest.

Federal institutions completed 61 per cent of requests within the legally mandated 30 days, up from 50 per cent the previous year.

Some of the problems the audit revealed show the city of Winnipeg refusing to release contracts, claiming they were confidential, while Quebec denied even basic accountability information about top officials’ spending.

Newspapers Canada CEO John Hinds said the audit shines a light on uneven practices that are not in line with the spirit of freedom of information legislation.

The audit gave B.C. and New Brunswick F grades for their speed of disclosing information while the federal government earned a D.

Quebec got an F grade and Ontario a D for the completeness of disclosure while the Ottawa received a C in this category.


National Freedom of Information Audit 2011

National Freedom of Information Audit 2011

The results also show that some governments are far more transparent than others, especially on how money is spent with private contractors. For example, Winnipeg said contracts were confidential and off limits. There were also wide variations in willingness to release credit card statements or travel claims of senior officials. The report makes 10 recommendations for improvement and greater openness:

1.      Companies that do business with government should be notified when the contracts are let that contracts are subject to release under access legislation. There should be no need to consult with contractors before releasing agreed contract details to the public.

2.      Federal officials should heed the government’s call for open data, and release data electronically rather than converting to unreadable image files or providing printouts.

3.      Officials should avoid asking for clarification by letter mail unless no other means of communication has been provided. Clarifications sent my mail create unnecessary delay in a process than can already be protracted for requesters.

4.      Officials should avoid charging fees of less than $50. Fees add an extra step to the access process, making it less user-friendly and more bureaucratic. The staff time required to calculate small fees, as well as the administrative costs of processing payments, may approach or exceed the amounts collected in many cases.

5.      In a situation where third party interests may apply to part of a record, where practical, the remainder of the records should be released while notification and appeal procedures run their course on the portion in question. Where acts provide for appeals by third parties of disclosure decisions, strict timelines should be introduced to ensure such appeals are dealt with quickly.

6.      In instances where large quantities of paper are involved, alternative means to release than photocopies should be offered, to cut costs to applicants.

7.      While efforts to provide information informally should be encouraged, this should be done with full explanation to the requester, both of the information being provided and of the rights of the requester with regard to the original request should the requester agree to an informal conclusion to the request. Ambiguous, ill-explained communications should be avoided.

8.      Officials should avoid using extra-legal procedures, such as asking requesters to withdraw requests and redirect them, when a legal procedure exists and could be used. This will ensure that all applicants’ rights, such as the right to ask for a review or a transfer, are preserved.

9.      B.C. should give serious consideration to restoring the 30-calendar-day response period to bring itself back in line with established practice in the rest of Canada.

10.  Government institutions need to ensure internal processes do not introduce unnecessary delays. For example, once officials believe it may be best to transfer a request to a department or ministry better suited to respond, that decision should be taken quickly to facilitate faster release to applicants.

CONCLUSION

The 2011 Newspapers Canada Freedom of Information Audit shows that while access is an important democratic right in Canada, how meaningful that right is varies depending on where you live in Canada. From a total refusal to release contracts in Winnipeg to Quebec’s denial of basic accountability information about top officials’ spending, to the federalgovernment’s stubborn refusal to release data in a useful form, there is still a lot to be done to make Canada’s access statutes work as citizens have a right to expect. On the other hand, speedy handling of requests by municipal officials, a refreshing openness about municipal contracts in Saskatchewan and Charlottetown’s continued willingness to release information even though no act obligates it to do so, show there is reason for hope.


 

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    # by Anonyme - 13 octobre 2011 à 21:29

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