TORONTO / Oct. 24 / CNW — Toronto Hydro is the 2017 recipient of the Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy in the category of local government departments and agencies.
The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University (CFE), News Media Canada and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) have joined forces to expand an award that the CAJ has for almost 20 years handed out to government departments, agencies or public bodies that put that extra bit of elbow grease into keeping any sunlight from reaching public attention.
The awards jury, which comprised representatives of the four press-freedom advocacy groups, « honoured » the Toronto Hydro with this citation:
Toronto Hydro has demonstrated remarkable resistance to openness and transparency in its long-running fight to block access to information requests regarding its communications and estimated costs associated with possible privatization. Toronto Hydro refused the initial request for this information, claiming it was frivolous and/or vexatious. Toronto Hydro vigorously fought the appeal of its refusal, even claiming that disclosure would constitute insider trading—despite the fact that Toronto Hydro is not publicly traded. Toronto Hydro subsequently refused two new information requests—regarding how much it had spent on contractors to fight the initial requests, stating it was unable to confirm or deny the existence of such records, and that the requests were frivolous and/or vexatious.
In light of this persistent determination to deny information to the public, Toronto Hydro has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy in the category of Local Government Departments and Agencies.
The CAJ, CFE, News Media Canada and CJFE will announce the Code of Silence Award winners in the Provincial and Law Enforcement categories in the coming weeks. They had previously announced the Federal winner – the Treasury Board of Canada.
All four organizations will continue to advocate for substantive reform to Canada’s federal access-to-information law.
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