2. Information Free of Charge

Institutions must provide information free of charge when the information is in their control and it:

  1. is needed by individuals to make use of a service or program for which they are eligible;

  2. explains the rights, entitlements and obligations of individuals;

  3. consists of personal information requested by the individual whom it concerns;

  4. informs the public about dangers or risks to health, safety or the environment;

  5. is required for public understanding of a major new priority, law, policy, program or service; or

  6. is requested under the Access to Information Act and fees are waived at the discretion of the head of the institution.

3. Plain Language

An institution's duty to inform the public includes the obligation to communicate effectively. Information about policies, programs, services and initiatives must be clear, relevant, objective, easy to understand and useful.

To ensure clarity and consistency of information, plain language and proper grammar must be used in all communication with the public. This principle also applies to internal communications, as well as to information prepared for Parliament or any other official body, whether delivered in writing or in speech.

4. Official Languages

In all communications, institutions must respect the equality of status of the two official languages as established by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and given effect through the Official Languages Act and the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations. Institutions must adhere to all legal requirements and regulations derived from these statutory provisions.

Institutions must identify and respect all official language requirements that apply when engaging in any of the communication activities stipulated in this policy. Institutions must abide by the Treasury Board's official language policies, which set out various requirements with respect to communications. They must also abide by the requirements of the Federal Identity Program concerning the visual presentation of the official languages in communications or information materials.

5. Corporate Identity

Clear and consistent corporate identity is required to assist the public in recognizing, accessing and assessing the policies, programs, services and initiatives of the Government of Canada. To maintain a recognizable and unified corporate identity throughout the government, institutions must ensure that their buildings, facilities, programs, services and activities are clearly identified