Something to Talk About: Is There a Charter Right to Access Government Information?
Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2009
50 Pages Posted: 9 May 2009 Last revised: 22 Jun 2010
Date Written: May 7, 2009
Can sections 2(b) and 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms be interpreted to protect a constitutional right of access to government information? The author argues that the constitutional principle of democracy provides a foundation for judicial recognition of such a constitutional right of access even though the inclusion of an explicit right to access to government information was rejected during the process of drafting the Charter. Given that the Supreme Court of Canada's section 2(b) and 3 jurisprudence has been informed by the principle of democracy, the application of the principle may now guide the Court to include protection of access to government information in its evolving interpretation of those Charter rights. Finally, a hypothetical case is considered in order to outline ways in which a constitutional right to access may be justifiably limited.
Keywords: Canada, constitutional law, access to information, constitutional interpretation, charter
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