The University of Winnipeg



CFI supports research to increase access to information and justice

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Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters, Unsplash

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced more than $77 million to support 332 research infrastructure projects at 50 universities across the country. This contribution, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), will help universities — including The University of Winnipeg — attract and retain top researchers.

One of the projects receiving CFI funding is the UWinnipeg-based project The Centre for Access to Information and Justice (CAIJ), the Access Lab, and Transparency in the Digital Age, which gives researchers and community members increased access to space and technology.

We hope the Access Lab will be a place where community groups interested in research can make connections to help meet their own research objectives.

Dr. Kevin Walby

Dr. Kevin Walby and Dr. Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land are co-applicants on this award, which they hope will draw attention to the importance of access to information in social science research and its impact on social and environmental justice.

Through this project, they will be looking for creative, participatory ways to reach as many people and communities as possible.

“We hope the Access Lab will be a place where community groups interested in research can make connections to help meet their own research objectives and mobilization efforts,” said Walby. “We also hope that CAIJ will be able to have an impact on the learning and training of graduate students.”

The CAIJ regularly organizes talks to bring together faculty and graduate students from across the social sciences and humanities. 

Thanks to Connection Grant funding for The Right to Know and Government Transparency in the Pandemic Age, Walby is looking forward to a series of talks on data politics and the politics of information.

On August 17, from 1:30 – 3:00 pm, he will be co-hosting Access to Information and Nonfiction Media: Contrasting U.S. and Canadian State Archives and Access Approaches exploring topics of law enforcement, prison, and surveillance records, including the use of records in non-fiction media such as cinema and journalism. This is the third CAIJ summer Politics of Information webinar for 2021.

He hopes these talks help direct scholarly attention to issues of access to information and freedom of information law at this time of crisis, raise public awareness and foster critical discussion about emerging “right to know” discourses worldwide during a public health emergency, and mobilize knowledge to community groups, activist organizations, and journalists.

“This series aims to foster an interdisciplinary, theoretical, scholarly discussion around issues of access, information, secrecy, transparency, and government,” Walby explained.

The Centre for Access to Information and Justice (CAIJ) promotes public interest research using freedom of information and access to information law. The CAIJ is built for social sciences and humanities scholars, as well as access advocates, investigative journalists, and legal professionals from across Canada and beyond.

Every year, the federal government invests in research excellence in the areas of health sciences, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities through its three granting agencies. Support from the Research Support Fund ensures that UWinnipeg’s federally funded research projects are conducted in world-class facilities with the best equipment and administrative support available.

For more information, follow the Canada Foundation for Innovation on Twitter @InnovationCA, LinkedIn, Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel to find videos about the CFI and its transformative research projects.