Keith Hutchings, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development. — Telegram photo
The provincial government is moving to put more information online, including completed access to information requests and cabinet directives.
In a news conference around lunchtime today, Keith Hutchings, minister responsible for access to information, announced that a pair of websites will go live this afternoon to provide public access to government documents.
The government is committing to post completed access to information requests online 72 hours after the applicant receives the file. This means that journalists, for example, will effectively have three days to break a story based on documents they receive before they're publicly available on the government's website.
Other provinces and the federal government have similar provisions.
Newfoundland and Labrador will also become one of the last provinces in teh country to post orders in council online. The orders – official cabinet directives signed by the Lieutenant Governor – have always been publicly available. But until now the government did not post them online, or inform citizens in any way that they're public documents.
In recent months, The Telegram has done a series of stories on the government's position on orders in council. Democracy Watch has called the lack of disclosure compared to other provinces “dangerously undemocratic.”