Secret Canada logo

Nova Scotia gets a gold star for FOI response

A Nova Scotia flag on the grounds of Province House in Halifax on June 22, 2023. Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail
A Nova Scotia flag on the grounds of Province House in Halifax. Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

The Secret Canada team is in the field right now collecting a new batch of completed FOI summaries. We’re hoping to add summaries from 2022/23 to our database in the spring.

But for now, we wanted to give a big shout-out to the government of Nova Scotia for doing an amazing job fulfilling our request. They were helpful. They kept us updated. They made the process easy. They gave us exactly what we wanted in the format that we requested.

There are 25 ministries in Nova Scotia and they let us file our request with just one letter. (In most cases, we have to file and pay for each ministry or department individually.) This is possible because Nova Scotia has a centralized system. The FOI co-ordinator then proactively let us know that they have access to FOI summaries from other institutions as well – such as the Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency – and added them. The province then sent us all of our requested information in an Excel spreadsheet, which makes processing infinitely faster and easier.

In a perfect world, it would be unremarkable for a government to seamlessly handle an FOI request. In our actual world, where so many public institutions in Canada seem to go out of their way to break access laws, it’s worth noting.

Well done, Nova Scotia. 

(While we have you here, please don’t forget to fill out our Secret Canada user survey! Help us make the site better.)

We'd love to hear about how you're using Secret Canada. Send us a note or use the hashtag #SecretCanada on social media. This information helps us grow the project.

To stay updated on FOI news, upcoming data releases and new features, sign up for The Globe's Secret Canada newsletter.