03/18/2014 12:50 EDT | Updated 05/18/2014 05:59 EDT

Ex-premier, privacy commissioner and journalist to review Newfoundland info law

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has appointed three people with backgrounds in the law and journalism to review the province's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Premier Tom Marshall has promised a review of the act about one year earlier than was required by law because of complaints about amendments that were made two years ago in Bill 29.

Those changes blocked the release of ministerial briefing notes, increased protections for cabinet records, hiked fees and allowed ministers to reject requests as frivolous.

Marshall made the independent review a priority for the government, announcing he would look for three experts at his first cabinet meeting as interim premier after Kathy Dunderdale resigned in January.

The three-member review panel consists of Clyde Wells, a former premier and chief justice of the province's Supreme Court; Jennifer Stoddart, who was Canada's privacy commissioner from 2003 to 2013; and Doug Letto, a journalist who recently retired from the CBC.

The government says it expects the panel to engage residents and groups interested in freedom of information and the protection of privacy over the next several months.

"If there are specific concerns for residents, we want the committee to hear them," Steve Kent, the minister responsible for the office of public engagement, said in a statement. "Through this process, we will gain valuable insight into ways in which we can improve our access to information and protection of privacy legislation."

No date has been given for the review's completion, but Marshall has said he's hoping it will produce a report by the fall.