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October 2, 2006

Newfoundland and Labrador leads the country in providing Access to Information

An audit released by the Canadian Newspaper Association ranks Newfoundland and Labrador's Access to Information system tied for first across the country. Justice Minister and Attorney General Tom Marshall said today that the results of the audit clearly illustrate that government is living up to its openness and transparency commitments.

The Canadian Newspaper Association�s second National Freedom of Information Audit, released last week, tests the federal access to information program, as well as those of the 10 Canadian provinces. The audit ranks Newfoundland and Labrador tied with British Columbia as having the best access to information program in Canada. "We are obviously very pleased with the results of the audit, being one of the top two is certainly a record to be proud of, especially in light of the fact that this is a new program," said Minister Marshall.

"Under the leadership of Premier Danny Williams, we made a commitment to govern in a spirit of openness and transparency and all departments and agencies have been working diligently to meet that goal. Early in our mandate, we proclaimed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA) and immediately implemented the access provisions contained in the act," Minister Marshall continued. "This audit proves that our system is working very well and that we are providing Newfoundlanders and Labradorian�s with the information they deserve."

The results of this year�s Freedom of Information Audit were released at the start of Right to Know Week, which was marked for the first time in Canada. Minister Marshall on behalf of the Williams Government recognized Right to know Week in Newfoundland and Labrador through proclamation.

The minister reiterated that this accomplishment is the result of hard work by individuals throughout departments and agencies, and made special mention of the efforts of the Office of the ATTIP Coordinator. "Everyone deserves a pat on the back, however, we certainly have room to grow, and we need to build on this success to ensure we continue to lead the country in providing our citizens with access to information.

Media contact: Bill Hickey, Communications, (709) 729-6985, 691-6390

2006 10 02                                             2:35 p.m.

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