Employment Concerns Due to Previous Usage of ATI/FOI

The terms freedom of information and access to information may be used interchangeably. Generally, FOI refers to freedom of information and are usually requests that are made under provincial acts whereas ATI known as Access to Information are requests made under federal acts.  At the federal level, the Privacy Act governs the use, disclosure, and collection of personal information which all individuals are permitted to only access information about themselves through a process of request. Since, access to information and freedom of information recognize the legal right for an individual to access public records about themselves; there has been concern that individual who request information may be using information given by the state to gain further research information of the government secrecy. Therefore, these individuals are more inclined to be under the radar of the government surveillance. In addition employment within the field of government would increase difficulty in seeking a job position.

Drawing from Michel Foucault’s theory looks into the importance of how power, knowledge and subjects all work together to create social forms, laws etc.. Furthermore, Foucault emphasises “We should admit rather that power produces knowledge…that power and knowledge directly imply one another; that there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations…the subject who knows, the objects to be known and the modalities of knowledge must be regarded as so many effects of these fundamental implication of power-knowledge and their historical transformation” (Pavlich pg.139). In this sociological theory from Michel Foucault we observe that the value of power, subjects, and knowledge working together as a team to form laws as well as social norms. The power of knowledge through the work of a subject that hold knowledge which leads to power can make historical transformations as Foucault states. In this particular theory I believe it is strongly related to a concern to those who want or plan to seek an occupation within the government. Reason being, with individuals who possess knowledge have a clearer understanding of how the government functions and therefore with more knowledge leads to greater power once employed into a position within the government.

Another sociological theory Michel Foucault looks another type of power which is governmentality. The word government did not refer to political structures or the management of a state, but rather it was designed as a method in which the conduct of group or individuals might be directed towards (Sokhi-Bulley, 2014). The power of governance is a way of gatekeeping which individuals are employed and whom does not. This has largely to do with the definition of governance and how it’s definition may be warped overtime. Since individuals who seek information through the process of access to information or freedom of information. The secrecy and privatization of the government has an impact in determining who gets employed into a government position.

Theory of law has always been about power. Finnis looks in the area of natural law where he believes that natural law is nothing other than a theory of good reasons for choice. He emphasis that practical reasoning is crucial not only to law but generally to how we live our lives, because practical reasoning allow us to hold the basic values of human existence and thus, too, the basic principles of all moral reasoning (Pavlich, pg. 34)

Practical reasoning is a way to reveal moral ways of acting, moreover it cannot be derived from human nature but practical nurturing of the human to use moral reasoning. Yet, in regards to determining those who seek employment in the government. However, the practical reasoning of determining who gets employed and who doesn’t should base its reasoning not by who has used a process of ATI or FOI, but be unbiased towards individuals who have used ATI and FOI to gain information about themselves.

Moreover, Finnis argues, “It is never possible to have a value free description and analysis of law. By expressly focusing on the moral dimensions of law, he argues that ‘natural law theory tries to do openly, critical and discussably, what most other analytical and descriptive theorists do covertly and dogmatically” (Pavlich, Pg.36).  ATI and FOI should have its acts such as the Access to Information Act, as well as Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. These should be open to the public’s right to access information about them and should not then be further questioned or put under the radar for the assumption of gaining information about them which translates to a greater possibility to harm governmental procedures.


Bal Sokhi-Bulley, B. (n.d.). Governmentality: Notes on the Thought of Michel Foucault. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society. Canada: Oxford University Press.



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One response to “Employment Concerns Due to Previous Usage of ATI/FOI

  1. I am convinced that Foucault offers us some important theoretical and conceptual tools for making sense of ATI/FOI processes, and I am glad to see that you have engaged with his work on governmentality. However, this post needs revision. Note that Foucault does not propose that knowledge leads to power. Rather, he uses the unified concept of ‘power-knowledge’ to explain the coterminous nature of power and knowledge; to be able to ‘know’ something is itself a relationship of power, and power operates through forms of knowledge.