Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It's good to be back. I'm sure they're all happy to see me.
One question I have had around the act, and one of the big conversations we had when we did a study of the act, was around the difference between exclusions and mandatory exemptions.
Can you explain for us whether this changes in any way the regime around exclusions in the Access to Information Act?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
In terms of the discussion we had, which said that one of the main problems with having exclusions as opposed to mandatory exemptions is that there's then no oversight at all by the Information Commissioner, if the government says that something is a cabinet confidence or that it falls in any category that is subject to an exclusion, there's no way to check that those matters are appropriately excluded or that the government has made the right call on whether or not this is something that ought to be excluded.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
One other issue that jumped out for me, given some of what we heard during our study, was the failure of this particular bill to expand the access to information regime to the Prime Minister's Office and to ministers' offices. What we've heard is that because there's going to be a new kind of proactive disclosure regime ushered in, we ought to be happy with the changes, because this is a new era in—I think the phrase might even have been used—openness and transparency.
Can you just explain for the benefit of the committee in what ways having proactive disclosure requirements allows Canadians to get access to information that the government doesn't want to release?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
How will ministers' offices establish what they want to proactively disclose? Is there any kind of threshold? If the same kinds of requests or requests for the same kind of information are made by a certain number of Canadians, is there any requirement on the minister's office to disclose that information, or is it really up to the minister's office to interpret according to its own criteria, whatever the criteria may be, what kinds of information would be subject to proactive disclosure?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
But there's no way, through the legislation, that Canadians, by either the aggregate of their actions or by organizing collectively, could drive certain kinds of proactive disclosure, except as they could now by applying political pressure. There's no legal mechanism in the act that would make it the case that Canadians could push governments to reveal certain kinds of information that they don't want to.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Is there anything the government would be forbidden from proactively disclosing now that it would be able to proactively disclose after this bill passes?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Part of what I'm saying is do they need to change the law to proactively disclose anything? Would the law enable some kind of proactive disclosure that's not permitted now?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Does it include any penalties for ministers' offices that aren't compliant with the proactive disclosure provisions in the legislation?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Mr. Buttarelli, thank you for sharing part of your evening with us.
Coming back to the theme that Mr. Saini had started off on, I wanted to come back to the question of the adequacy provisions in the GDPR. I just wondered if you could highlight for us some of the uses or abuses of data by third parties foreseen by the GDPR that its adequacy test is meant to prevent.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
If I could jump in, I'm curious to know whether you have an idea about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that was signed recently between Canada and Europe. We've had experiences in Canada in which legislation that was passed for Canadians' public interest has been ruled out of order by international trade tribunals under the auspices of like agreements.
Is there any concern in your office that elements of the GDPR might be found to be a non-tariff trade barrier under CETA? Do you know how the authorities work and which document would take precedence in the event of a conflict?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
My final question in the time we have is, what do you see as the instrument? Would signing on to the GDPR in a similar legislative framework, then, be a condition of trade agreements with Europe going forward? What's the mechanism for enforcing that over time?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I am just seeking information about the GDPR with regard to algorithmic decision-making and the extent to which, if at all, the GDPR speaks about transparency in cases where decision-making processes are handed off to algorithms. Does the GDPR contain or foresee any rights for people to have a sense of how those algorithms work and how those decisions are made once it goes inside the black box, so to speak?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much.
I'm sure committee members missed your humour in the chair, Mr. Chair.
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