Access to Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1)

Act current to 2015-11-16 and last amended on 2015-07-30. Previous Versions

Access to Information Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1

An Act to extend the present laws of Canada that provide access to information under the control of the Government of Canada


Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Access to Information Act.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “1”.


Marginal note:Purpose
  •  (1) The purpose of this Act is to extend the present laws of Canada to provide a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.

  • Marginal note:Complementary procedures

    (2) This Act is intended to complement and not replace existing procedures for access to government information and is not intended to limit in any way access to the type of government information that is normally available to the general public.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “2”;
  • 1984, c. 40, s. 79(F).


Marginal note:Definitions

 In this Act,

“alternative format”

« support de substitution »

“alternative format”, with respect to a record, means a format that allows a person with a sensory disability to read or listen to that record;


« Cour »

“Court” means the Federal Court;

“designated Minister”

« ministre désigné »

“designated Minister” means a person who is designated as the Minister under subsection 3.2(1);

“foreign state”

« État étranger »

“foreign state” means any state other than Canada;

“government institution”

« institution fédérale »

“government institution” means

  • (a) any department or ministry of state of the Government of Canada, or any body or office, listed in Schedule I, and

  • (b) any parent Crown corporation, and any wholly-owned subsidiary of such a corporation, within the meaning of section 83 of the Financial Administration Act;


« responsable d’institution fédérale »

“head”, in respect of a government institution, means

  • (a) in the case of a department or ministry of state, the member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada who presides over the department or ministry, or

  • (b) in any other case, either the person designated under subsection 3.2(2) to be the head of the institution for the purposes of this Act or, if no such person is designated, the chief executive officer of the institution, whatever their title;

“Information Commissioner”

« Commissaire à l’information »

“Information Commissioner” means the Commissioner appointed under section 54;


« document »

“record” means any documentary material, regardless of medium or form;

“sensory disability”

« déficience sensorielle »

“sensory disability” means a disability that relates to sight or hearing;

“third party”

« tiers »

“third party”, in respect of a request for access to a record under this Act, means any person, group of persons or organization other than the person that made the request or a government institution.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 3;
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 1;
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 183;
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 141.