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Supreme Court to rule on access to Ford government mandate letters

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is set to release its ruling today on a bid by Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government to keep his marching orders to cabinet ministers confidential.

The CBC asked, under the province’s freedom-of-information law, for the letters written to ministers after Ford won the 2018 election but the request was denied on the basis that releasing the documents would reveal the substance of cabinet deliberations.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner disagreed, ordering the government to disclose them, and two levels of Ontario courts have also sided with the CBC.

Ford’s government contends that cabinet confidentiality, candour and solidarity are fundamental to a system where responsible ministers collectively decide government policy, but the CBC has argued disclosure is key to an informed public and accountable government.

The letters themselves were made public in September after a source provided them to Global News.

But Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner has said the Supreme Court ruling could set a significant precedent for future cases involving access to such records.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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