University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist is trying to revive the CAIRS database that allowed researchers to track freedom of information requests made to Canadian federal government departments under the Access to Information Act.
The database was discontinued by the Conservative government.
“The files include the wording of the original access to information request, date, department, file number and general information about whether the requester was with the media, business, academic or other. Once users have identified an access request that is of interest, they can ask the relevant government department for a copy of all disclosed records. Most departments will allow for an ‘informal’ request under which the records are disclosed at no cost (though the requester forfeits rights of appeal). Alternatively, a formal request for all records can be submitted to the department (a $5 fee is needed).”