Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act 2011-2012

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Report on the Access to Information Act

About Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada exercises a broad leadership role that brings coherence to the activities of the departments and agencies responsible for public safety and security. The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act, 2005, and the Emergency Management Act, 2007, set out two fundamental roles for the Department: supporting the Minister's responsibility for all matters except those assigned to another federal minister related to public safety and emergency management, including national leadership; and coordinating the efforts of Portfolio agencies, as well as provide guidance on their strategic priorities. The Department's leadership role is reflected in its strategic outcome, a safe and resilient Canada, and through the pursuit of the following program activities: National Security, Border Strategies, Countering Crime, Emergency Management and Internal Services. The Department, in its portfolio coordination role, brings strategic focus to the overall safety and security agenda. In fulfilling its mandate, the Department works in consultation with other organizations and partners - federal departments and agencies, provinces and territories, non-government organizations, the private sector, foreign states, academia and communities.

About the Public Safety Portfolio

The Public Safety Portfolio encompasses nine organizations for which the Minister of Public Safety is responsible. In addition to Public Safety Canada, the Portfolio includes the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), the Parole Board of Canada (PBC), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). It also includes three arm's-length review bodies: the RCMP External Review Committee, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, and the Office of the Correctional Investigator. Each organization in the portfolio administers its own access to information and privacy programs, under authorities delegated to them by the Minister.

About the Access to Information Act

The Access to Information Act was implemented on July 1, 1983. The goal of the Act was to help further the democratic process by promoting transparency and accountability of government to the Canadian citizenry. The Access to Information Act creates an enforceable right of access to records under the control of a government in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific, and that decisions with regard to disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.

Section 72 of the Access to Information Act requires that the head of every government institution submit an annual report to Parliament on the administration of the Act during the financial year. This report outlines how Public Safety Canada administered the Access to Information Act throughout fiscal year 2011-2012.

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Unit

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Unit is part of Public Safety Canada's Executive Services Division within the Department's Strategic Policy Branch. It consists of one Manager, two senior advisors, four analysts, one junior analyst and one administrative officer. The ATIP Manager served as the Department's ATIP Coordinator throughout the reporting year.

The ATIP Unit is responsible for the coordination and implementation of policies, guidelines and procedures to ensure departmental compliance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The Unit is responsible for responding to requests made under the Acts, as well as providing the following services to the Department:

Delegation of Authority

The responsibilities associated with the administration of the Access to Information Act, such as notifying applicants of extensions and transferring requests to other institutions, are delegated to employees of the ATIP Unit through a delegation instrument signed by the Minister of Public Safety.

The Minister signed a new Delegation Order for the Access to Information Act on March 8, 2012. Both the current and previous delegation instruments are reproduced at Annex A.

Previously, the ATIP Manager had delegated authority to exempt personal information in accordance with section 19(1) of the ATI Act. The approval of all other exemptions was delegated to the Department's Deputy Minister, Associate Deputy Minister, five Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs), one Associate ADM, the Director General of Communications, and the Chief Audit Executive.

The current delegation order provides the authority for the application of all exemptions to the Deputy Minister, the Associate Deputy Minister, the ATIP Coordinator and the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of National Security. The other Branch Heads no longer have the authority to apply exemptions under the ATI Act.

Highlights and Accomplishments for 2011-2012

Public Safety Canada has continued to improve the way in which the Department responds to Access to Information Act requests, by focusing on improving timeliness, efficiency and accuracy. Some of the highlights are as follows:

Recommendations from the 2010-11 Report of the Information Commissioner

In response to recommendations contained in the 2010-11 Report of the Information Commissioner, "Measuring up: Improvements and ongoing concerns in access to information, 2008-2009 to 2010-2011", the department confirmed that Public Safety Canada will resource the ATIP function appropriately. In addition, the delegation order has been amended to give full authority for the application of exemptions to the ATIP Coordinator. We are committed to creating a guide for the use of extensions by the end of fiscal year 2012-2013 to document the current processes.

New/Revised Policies/Guidelines or Procedures

Given the change of the delegation instrument, new procedures were implemented for the application of exemptions and the selection of the appropriate delegated authority.

New procedures were also implemented in the posting of summaries of completed requests on the departmental website.

Challenges

Consultations with other institutions

Many of the Department's requests require consultation with other federal institutions, other levels of government and third parties, and extensions for the purpose of consulting such institutions are often required. Public Safety Canada's ability to meet its extended statutory deadlines for responding to requests is often dependent on the performance of other institutions in responding to our requests for consultation within a reasonable period of time. The ATIP Unit added a caveat to its letters when consulting other government departments explaining that if a response is not received by the due date provided, that Public Safety Canada will move forward exercising its own discretion concerning the release of the information.

Increasing volume and complexity

Public Safety Canada has seen a significant increase in the volume of requests and pages responding to these requests (see page 5 "Overall Workload Trends" for details). The complexity of the requests received is also challenging. The Analysts in the ATIP Unit have significant experience both in the department and in ATIP which provides a great breadth of understanding of the subject matter; however, significant consultations and cross-referencing must take place to properly review responsive records.

Key Issues Raised as a Result of Complaints/Investigations

Public Safety Canada received notice of six new complaints to the Office of the Information Commissioner in 2011-2012. Two related to fees, two to excluded information, one to exemptions applied and one to the length of extension taken.

Fourteen findings were received this year. Of these, six were discontinued. Two were not well-founded. Six were well-founded resolved without recommendations to the head of the institution - two exemption complaints, one delay complaint, two extension complaints and one complaint concerning the failure of Public Safety Canada to provide requested records.

Of the six complaints found to be well-founded, resolved without recommendation to the head of the institution, Public Safety Canada wrote to the Office of the Information Commissioner disputing the findings as it is the position of the department that the findings were made improperly based on errors of fact and law. The Information Commissioner disagreed and maintained her finding.

There have been no patterns or trends identified by Public Safety Canada as a result of complaints or investigations by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Appeals to the Court

There was one appeal to the Federal Court that had been included in the 2008-2009 Annual Report to Parliament. The matter is ongoing.

Chapter II - Access to Information Act Statistical Report

Overall Workload Trends

Annex B provides a summarized statistical report on Access to Information Act requests processed by Public Safety Canada between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012. The following section provides an overview and interpretation of this information.

In comparison to the past five years, the overall workload for the ATIP Unit increased this year. The figures below include formal Access and Privacy requests, and consultations received from other institutions. They do not reflect requests processed informally or other services that the ATIP Unit provides to the Department.

The followingtable provides an overall breakdown of workload by category for the past five years.
  2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012
ATI requests received by Public Safety Canada 296 235 208 298 363
Privacy requests received by Public Safety Canada 17 12 37 32 55
ATI consultations received from other institutions 175 198 136 223 235
Privacy consultations received from other institutions 7 10 18 9 21
Total workload 495 455 399 562 674

Requests Received under the Access to Information Act

Public Safety Canada received 363 new Access to Information Act requests throughout the 2011-2012 fiscal year, representing an increase of 22 per cent in the number of requests received the previous year (298). Fifty five requests were carried forward from the previous fiscal year, resulting in a total of 418 requests to process during 2011-2012. Of these requests, 339 were completed during the reporting year, while the remaining 79 requests were carried forward to the next reporting year.

Source of Requests

The media was the primary source of requests received by Public Safety Canada for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Of the 363 requests received, the media comprised 47 per cent of that number (170). Members of the public who did not identify themselves as belonging to any other category accounted for 33 per cent of requests (118), and 15 per cent were received from organizations (55). A small percentage of requests were submitted from academia (14) and businesses (6), at four per cent and two per cent respectively.

Extensions

Section 9 of the Access to Information Act allows institutions to extend the legal deadline for processing a request if a search for responsive records cannot be completed within

30 days of receipt of the request, or if the institution must consult with other institutions or third parties.

Public Safety Canada plays a role in coordinating activities involving federal institutions within the Public Safety portfolio as well as with other organizations at all levels of government on matters relating to the safety of Canadians. Extensions in excess of 90 days are therefore often necessary in order to undertake the required consultations.

Appendix A - Delegation of Authority for the Access to Information Act

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act*, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out below, or the persons occupying on an acting basis those positions, to exercise the powers, duties and functions of the Minister as the head of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, under the provisions of the Act and related regulations set out in the schedule opposite each position. This designation replaces all previous delegation orders.  

Delegation Order - Access to Information Act and Access to Information Regulations
Section Action Deputy Minister & Associate  Deputy Minister Assistant Deputy Minister - National Security ATIP Manager Senior ATIP Advisors and ATIP Analysts
4(2.1) Responsibility of head of institution
7(a) Notice where access requested    
7(b) Giving access to record    
8(1) Transfer of request    
9 Extension of time limits  
11(2)(3) (4)(5)(6) Additional Fees  
12(2)(b) Language of access    
12(3)(b) Access in an alternative format    
13 Exemption - Information obtained in confidence  
14 Exemption - Federal-provincial affairs  
15 Exemption - International affairs and defence ●    
16 Exemption - Law enforcement and investigations ●    
16.5 Exemption - Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act  
17 Exemption - Safety of individuals  
18 Exemption - Economic interests of  Canada ●    
18.1 Exemption - Economic interest of certain government institutions  
19 Exemption - Personal information  
20 Exemption - Third-party information  
21 Exemption - Operations of Government  
22 Exemption - Testing procedures, tests and audits  
22.1 Exemption - Internal Audits  
23 Exemption -Solicitor-client privilege  
24 Exemption - Statutory prohibitions  
25 Severability  
26 Refusal of access where information is to be published  
27(1), (4) Third-party notification    
28(1)(b), (2), (4) Third-party notification    
29(1) Notice of decision to disclose    
33 Notice to Information Commissioner of notices to third parties    
35(2)(b) Right to make representations  
37(4) Access to be given to complainant    
43(1) Notice to third party of application to Federal Court for review    
44(2) Notice to requester of application for review by third party    
52(2)(b), 52(3) Special rules for hearings      
71(1) Facilities for inspection of manuals      
72 Annual report to Parliament      
Delegation Order - Access to Information Act and Access to Information Regulations - Regulation
Section Action Deputy Minister & Associate  Deputy Minister Assistant Deputy Minister - National Security ATIP Manager Senior ATIP Advisors and ATIP Analysts
6(1) Transfer of request    
7(2) Search and preparation fees  
7(3) Production and programming fees  
8 Method of  access    
8.1 Limitations in respect of format    

Appendix B - Statistical Report for 2011-2012 on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution: Public Safety Canada
Reporting period: 01/04/2011 to 31-Mar-12

Part 1 - Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Requests
  Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 363
Outstanding from previous reporting period 55
Total 418
Closed during reporting period 339
Carried over to next reporting period 79
1.2 Sources of requests
Source Number of Requests
Media 170
Academia 14
Business (Private Sector) 6
Organization 55
Public 118
Total 363

Part 2 - Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time
Disposition of requests Completion Time
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 days Total
All disclosed 27 28 5 0 1 0 0 61
Disclosed in part 11 34 21 39 14 19 4 142
All exempted 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 1 1 1 0 2 0 5
No records exist 64 16 1 0 0 0 0 81
Request transferred 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
Request abandoned 21 6 0 0 3 2 0 32
Treated informally 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 9
Total 140 86 28 40 18 23 4 339
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of requests
1. I.A.: International Affairs
2. Def.: Defence of Canada
3. S.A.: Subversive Activities
13(1)(a) 24
13(1)(b) 6
13(1)(c) 15
13(1)(d) 7
13(1)(e) 0
14(a) 7
14(b) 16
15(1) - I.A.1 37
15(1) - Def.2 4
15(1) - S.A.3 61
16(1)(a)(i) 6
16(1)(a)(ii) 2
16(1)(a)(iii) 5
16(1)(b) 9
16(1)(c) 11
16(1)(d) 2
16(2)(a) 10
16(2)(b) 0
16(2)(c) 32
16(3) 0
16.1(1)(a) 0
16.1(1)(b) 0
16.1(1)(c) 0
16.1(1)(d) 0
16.2(1) 0
16.3 0
16.4(1)(a) 0
16.4(1)(b) 0
16.5 0
17 3
18(a) 0
18(b) 0
18(c) 0
18(d) 2
18.1(1)(a) 0
18.1(1)(b) 0
18.1(1)(c) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 112
20(1)(a) 1
20(1)(b) 16
20(1)(b.1) 2
20(1)(c) 14
20(1)(d) 5
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 57
21(1)(b) 41
21(1)(c) 17
21(1)(d) 0
22 0
22.1(1) 1
23 34
24(1) 2
26 8
2.3 Exclusions
Section Number of requests
68(a) 2
68(b) 0
68(c) 0
68.1 0
68.2(a) 0
68.2(b) 0
69(1)(a) 2
69(1)(b) 0
69(1)(c) 0
69(1)(d) 3
69(1)(e) 13
69(1)(f) 0
69(1)(g) re (a) 10
69(1)(g) re (b) 0
69(1)(g) re (c) 15
69(1)(g) re (d) 4
69(1)(g) re (e) 9
69(1)(g) re (f) 0
69.1(1) 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 43 18 0
Disclosed in part 56 87 0
Total 99 105 0

2.5 Complexity

2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requests
All disclosed 3437 3437 61
Disclosed in part 43331 28639 142
All exempted 4 0 1
All excluded 188 0 5
Request abandoned 747 6 32
2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Disposition Less than 100 pages processed 101-500 pages processed 501-1000 pages processed 1001-5000 pages processed More than 5000 pages processed
Number of Requests Pages disclosed Number of Requests Pages disclosed Number of Requests Pages disclosed Number of Requests Pages disclosed Number of Requests Pages disclosed
All disclosed 52 891 9 2546 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 77 2509 46 8394 4 2556 15 15180 0 0
All exempted 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 29 6 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 164 3406 58 10940 4 2556 15 15180 0 0
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Legal Advice Sought Interwoven Information Other Total
All disclosed 3 0 0 5 8
Disclosed in part 39 6 1 50 96
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 2 0 1 2 5
Abandoned 2 2 0 6 10
Total 46 8 2 63 119

2.6 Deemed refusals

2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Number of requests closed past the statutory deadline Principal Reason
Workload External consultation Internal consultation Other
12 3 9 0 0
2.6.2 Number of days past deadline
Number of days past deadline Number of requests past deadline where no extension was taken Number of requests past deadline where an extension was taken Total
1 to 15 days 0 1 1
16 to 30 days 0 2 2
31 to 60 days 1 2 3
61 to 120 days 0 2 2
121 to 180 days 0 1 1
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 3 3
Total 1 11 12
2.7 Requests for translation
Translation Requests Accepted Refused Total
English to French 0 0 0
French to English 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0

Part 3 - Extensions

3.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 9(1)(a) Interference with operations 9(1)(b) Consultation 9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69 Other
All disclosed 0 2 4 0
Disclosed in part 33 29 62 3
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 2 4 0 0
No records exist 0 1 0 1
Request abandoned 1 5 1 0
Total 36 41 67 4
3.2 Length of extensions
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 9(1)(a) Interference with operations 9(1)(b) Consultation 9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69 Other
30 days or less 17 0 17 2
31 to 60 days 5 0 23 2
61 to 120 days 9 9 21 0
121 to 180 days 5 5 5 0
181 to 365 days 0 27 1 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 36 41 67 4

Part 4 - Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
# of Requests Amount # of Requests Amount
Application 306 $1,530 33 $165
Search 2 $608 0 $0
Production 0 $0 0 $0
Programming 0 $0 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0 58 $116
Reproduction 0 $0 111 $790
Total 308 $2,138 202 $1,071

Part 5 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
Consultations Other government institutions Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period 234 5551 1 20
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 10 347 0 0
Total 244 5898 1 20
Closed during the reporting period 238 5260 1 20
Pending at the end of the reporting period 6 638 0 0
5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 115 18 0 1 0 0 0 134
Disclose in part 60 27 2 0 0 0 0 89
Exempt entirely 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Exclude entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Consult other institution 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 12
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 190 45 2 1 0 0 0 238
5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

Part 6 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

Number of days Number of responses received Number of responses received past deadline
1 to 15 1 0
16 to 30 2 0
31 to 60 7 3
61 to 120 12 5
121 to 180 3 3
181 to 365 3 3
More than 365 2 2
Total 30 16

Part 7 - Resources related to the Access to Information Act

7.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $598,900
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $29,302
  • Professional services contracts $0  
  • Other $29,302
Total $628,202
7.2 Human Resources
Resources Dedicated full-time to ATI activities Dedicated part-time to ATI activities Total
Full-time employees 8 1 9
Part-time and casual employees 0 0 0
Regional staff 0 0 0
Consultants and agency personnel 0 0 0
Students 0 0 0
Total 8 1 9
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