I have create a search tool that allows you to search completed Access to Information Requests in several Government Departments. I envision it being useful for looking up topics like “Enbridge” or “Windsor” both of which appear in requests from a range of departments. Once you have found the records that is of interest to you, write to the department holding the records asking for a copy along with the file number and they will send you a copy in the mail.
Try it out: Completed Access to Information Requests Search
The tool searches the completed requests from the following departments: Natural Resources, CRTC, CBSA, RCMP, Aboriginal Affairs, Finance, Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Public Safety, PCO, CSIS, Health Canada, National Energy Board, Justice, Fisheries and Oceans, SIRC, Corrections, Immigration, and Treasury Board.
I would have loved to include more, but the freemium version of Googles Custom Search only allows you to search 20 sites at a time.*
These sites were picked based on assumptions of what might be most useful. I would have like to include others like Environment Canada and Transportation Canada, but the way those sites structure their URLs wouldn’t allow them to be searched in the Custom Search. The number of Departments is only 19, instead of 20. That is because I had to include privy councils 2012 and 2013 searches separately.
Last year I collaborated with some programmers on a more ambitious project that attempted to compile all completed requests. However the idea seems to have been too ambitious as it has it lost steam before it was finished being built.
The idea was to have a system that not only searched all the requests and nicely presented them, but to also have a bunch of interesting features, like a shopping cart that created letters to send to each department asking for records, and a platform to make notes and comments on requests, allowing requestors to dialogue with one another, and post links if copies of a record are ever posted online.
The search that I have now created is far from ideal, but it din’t take a lot of work to build, and I believe that it will be useful.