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Lower freedom of information fees

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In all the jurisdictions I've worked, Nova Scotia has, by far, the most unfriendly access to information laws. The Freedom of Information process is something of a private, sad joke among journalists, as we get denied, delayed and ignored at every turn by public bodies holding allegedly public info.

But it's not just journalists who face these obstacles--- we at least have companies behind us that can (sometimes) afford to finance public record searches. The situation is far worse for individual people who seek access to information about themselves held by government agencies. The fees alone can be enough to frustrate someone: it costs $25 to simply ask for the information, and then come the "processing" fees, which can top $1,000 in some cases.

Fortunately, there's the Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia, which is working diligently to remove these obstacles. In addition to their other fine work, they are now circulating a petition to reduce the access to information application fee to $5 and to lower the processing fee to $5/hour, with the first two hours at no charge. These changes will go a long way to giving real access to information to people across the province.

I urge you to sign the petition.

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