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Investigation launched into muzzling of Canadian government scientists

In a letter dated March 27, 2013, the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada announced that it would be launching an investigation into the government practices restricting scientists' abilities to speak about their work.

The decision comes in response to a joint request by the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre and Democracy Watch, which asked the Commissioner's office to investigate six government departments for their policies surrounding scientists speaking to the media. The departments mentioned were the Department of the Environment, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Department of Natural Resources, the National Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Department of Natural Defence.

In addition to these six departments, the Office also added the Treasury Department to the list of those to be investigated, "because of its role in relation to the development and implementation of government policies."

CJFE supported the original request by Democracy Watch and the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre, as an open discussion of these issues is critical for an informed public. The announcement of this investigation is welcome news.

Read more from CJFE: Information Commissioner asked to investigate government muzzling of scientists

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