“Public access” does not equal “public notice”

Government has a duty to inform Canadians about its programs, services, policies and decisions. Advertising is one of many ways the Government ensures that individuals, families and businesses have the information they need to exercise their rights and responsibilities and to make decisions about their health, safety and security.

Research from 2018 confirms that two thirds (64%) of Canadians believe that newspapers are the most appropriate place to communicate information about government programs and services.  However, many municipalities still want to bypass the public forum of the newspaper in favour of simply posting them online on their own websites or social media.  This would mean that residents would be responsible for searching the web to find out information that could affect their communities.

Publishing public notices in newspapers is vital to the democratic process of a community.  In many cases, the newspaper is also the printed record of history for a community.  Once printed, it cannot be altered, erased or hidden.  Making information available online does not mean the public has been informed.  It is critical to keep public notices in the public with newspapers.  If not, the door is open to potential government corruption, misuse of office and less accountability.

Download an updated News Media Canada fact sheet on Public Notices here.