Duty to Document

How governments avoid transparency and sideline citizens through ‘oral government’ and deleting public records

Presented by InterPARES Trust and the Canadian Centre for Information and Privacy Studies

This short documentary uses an infamous Canadian incident — the ‘Triple Delete’ scandal — to illustrate how many governments around the world are moving to a form of “oral government” — failing to keep essential records of their decisions, and even illegally destroying records to avoid accountability. This subverts freedom of information laws and suppresses democratic participation.

In 2015 the government of British Columbia was caught improperly deleting email records concerning missing and murdered indigenous women along the “Highway of Tears”. The scandal opened a window on an entire toolkit of bad records practices that go on today within governments across Canada and around the world.

or view:

A full Zoom webinar with documentary premiere and panel discussion

The documentary was premiered in a Zoom event with an interactive panel and Q&A session on April 16, 2021. The full recorded session may be viewed on YouTube at:

Speakers and panelists:

  • Luciana Duranti, Professor, Archival Studies, School of Information, University of British Columbia
  • Mike Larsen, Professor of Criminology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Co-author of Brokering Access: Power, Politics, and Freedom of Information Process in Canada
  • Victoria Lemieux, Associate Professor, Archival Studies, School of Information, University of B.C.; Lead, Blockchain research cluster, Blockchain@UBC
  • Andrew MacLeod, Legislative Bureau Chief, The Tyee magazine

For more information: info@ciips.ca or 604-441-3441