Accountability group seeks whistleblower protection, transparency amid COVID-19

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An ad-hoc transparency group is calling on governments to make crucial records related to the COVID-19 pandemic open by default as a measure of accountability to Canadians.

The Canadian COVID-19 Accountability Group urges public officials to proactively release documents concerning health and safety enforcement, scientific and public health research, and contracts, grants, and loans provided to companies and organizations.

The coalition includes academics, lawyers and representatives of groups including the Whistleblowing Canada Research Society and Anti-Corruption and Accountability Canada.

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In a report released today, it says the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded dramatic action, both politically and financially, to slow the spread of the disease.

But the coalition says public and private bodies have been less than transparent with the news media and the public about those actions.

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The group echoes a recent call from federal information commissioner Caroline Maynard for agencies to release pandemic-related records they create without prompting.

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