For journalists, these laws fuel conduct in the field. They guide the degree to which journalists can claim records should be publicly disclosed. Canada's laws are largely considered outmoded in an era of greater pressure for institutional electronic release of records.
This week the Supreme Court of Canada declined to pronounce freedom of information as a constitutional right. Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin and Justice Rosalie Abella wrote in their decision that there is no "general right" to access to information.
The ruling does leave open the possibility to strengthen rights, though. It said future appeals might be able to argue that certain suppression of information constitutes an abrogation of free speech rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.