Press "Enter" to skip to content

Feds kill govt accountability registry

OTTAWA–The federal Conservatives have quietly killed a giant information registry that was used by lawyers, academics, journalists and ordinary citizens to hold government accountable.

The registry, created in 1989, is an electronic list of every request filed to all federal departments and agencies under the Access to Information Act.

Known as CAIRS, for Co-ordination of Access to Information Requests System, the database allowed ordinary citizens to identify millions of pages of once-secret documents that became public through individual freedom-of-information requests over many years…

Alasdair Roberts, a political scientist at Syracuse University in New York, built a version of the database by requesting the CAIRS electronic records through an Access to Information Act request, and updated the site monthly.

CBC journalist David McKie took over the work in 2006 using another publicly accessible website (…