Abstract Two disparate trends have influenced Canada's long history of examining and developing government information policy. First, various publishing policies of the 1960s and 1970s recognized the public's right to government information. This trend culminated in freedom of information legislation in 1983. Following a transitional period in the mid-1980s, the advent of a corporate resource approach to government information resulted in information policies that emphasized information resources management, cost recovery, and commoditization. Recent attempts to merge the inherent contradictions between the concepts of the public's right to government information and information as a commodity have resulted in policy that leaves much to individual interpretation.