The Canadian government’s refusal to modernize freedom of information laws means we’re now 51st in the world on a list rating 89 countries with freedom of information laws.

We’re behind Mexico, The United States, Columbia, and Uganda among others. Our score on the report compiled by Halifax-based Centre for Law and Democracy and Access Info Europe of Madrid is 79, significantly behind first-place Serbia which scored 135. The United Kingdom, likely the closest comparator with a Westminster system of government, scored 95 for 27th place. The United States is in 36th with 89 and Australia in 28th with 86.

The report states: “As a country that was once among the world’s leaders in government openness, it is unfortunate that Canada has dropped so far down the list. Partly, this is the result of global progress, with which Canada has failed to keep pace.”

As a mature democracy, we take for granted our freedoms and often fail to exercise or push for them. This ranking is an example of how other parts of the world are modernizing their democracies. We need a modern freedom of information act and we need more government information proactively disclosed.

Failure to modernize could put us even further down the list behind China (72) next year.