Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act 2013-2014

Table of Contents

Chapter I – Report on the Access to Information Act

About Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada plays a key role in discharging the Government's fundamental responsibility for the safety and security of its citizens. The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act, 2005, and the Emergency Management Act, 2007, set out two essential roles for the Department: (i) to support 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 (ii) to coordinate the efforts of Portfolio agencies as well as provide guidance on their strategic priorities. The Department provides strategic policy advice and support to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on a range of issues, including national security, border strategies, countering crime and emergency management. While Portfolio agencies deliver public security operations according to their mandates, Public Safety Canada, in its portfolio coordination role, brings strategic focus to the overall safety and security agenda. The Department also delivers a number of grant and contribution programs to Canadians related to emergency management and community safety. In addition, Public Safety Canada's Government Operations Centre provides strategic-level coordination and direction on behalf of the Government of Canada in response to events that affect the national interest. Through the development and implementation of clearly articulated policies and programs, the Department works towards the achievement of its strategic outcome: “A safe and resilient Canada”. Public Safety Canada is structurally organized into five branches: Emergency Management and Programs, Community Safety and Countering Crime, Portfolio Affairs and Communications, National and Cyber Security, Corporate Management; and it also has a Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive. The Branches are supported by the Legal Services Unit. The Department has regional presence in all provinces, as well as in the North. Public Safety Canada's regional offices are a primary contact in the regions to deliver a coordinated federal response to emergencies; facilitate the effective delivery of emergency management, Aboriginal policing and crime prevention programs; and improve partnerships with other levels of government and key regional stakeholders.

About the Public Safety Portfolio

The Public Safety Portfolio encompasses nine organizations which directly contribute to the safety and security of Canadians. In addition to Public Safety Canada, the Portfolio includes: Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA); Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS); Correctional Service of Canada (CSC); 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 2013-2014.

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 Portfolio Affairs and Communications Branch. This year, the Portfolio Affairs & Communications Branch reallocated internally to fund one additional analyst's position in the ATIP Unit. As a result, the unit now consists of one ATIP Coordinator, two senior advisors, five analysts, one junior analyst and one administrative officer. The ATIP Manager served as the Department's ATIP Coordinator till September, and the Director of Executive Services served as Coordinator for the balance of 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 new Minister of Public Safety, appointed July 15, 2013, signed a new Delegation Order for the Access to Information Act on January 22, 2014. Both the current and previous delegation instruments are reproduced at Annex A. The current delegation order reflects a change in departmental structure, delegating authority to apply exemptions under the Acts to the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, as well as the Assistant Deputy Minister of the National Cyber and Security Branch.

New or Revised Policies, Guidelines or Procedures

There were no new or revised guidelines, policies or procedures issued this fiscal year.

Training

The ATIP Unit was unable to provide training sessions on the Access to Information Act and departmental processes during this fiscal year due to resource levels and a continued high volume of ATI requests. In 2012-2013, the department saw a 36% increase in the volume of ATI requests received compared to 2011-2012. The volume over the last two reporting periods has remained relatively consistent with 494 requests in 2012-2013 and 465 this fiscal year.

Key Issues Raised as a Result of Complaints/Investigations

Public Safety Canada received notice of 14 new complaints to the Office of the Information Commissioner in 2013-2014. A total of four related to excluded information, six to exemptions applied and four on denial of access.

Four findings were received this year. Of these, three were discontinued and one, pertaining to exemptions was well-founded, yet resolved without recommendations to the head of the institution.

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

Summary

In 2013-2014, Public Safety Canada received 465 requests under the Access to Information Act, a decrease of approximately six per cent over the previous year. Public Safety Canada completed 97.3 per cent on time, the eighth consecutive year of over 90 per cent on time completion. The average number of days to process a request was 75. Sixty-nine per cent of all requests were completed within 30 days.

Overall Workload Trends

Annex B provides a summarized statistical report on Access to Information Act requests processed by Public Safety Canada between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. 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.

The following table provides an overall breakdown of workload by category for the past five years.

2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014
ATI requests received by
Public Safety Canada
208 298 363 494 465
Privacy requests received by Public Safety Canada 37 32 55 30 68
ATI consultations received from other institutions 136 223 235 248 255
Privacy consultations received from other institutions 18 9 21 10 9
Total workload 399 562 674 782 797

Requests Received under the Access to Information Act

Public Safety Canada received 465 new Access to Information Act requests throughout the 2013-2014 fiscal year, representing a decrease of approximately six per cent over the number of requests received the previous year (494). Ninety-five requests were carried forward from the previous fiscal year, resulting in a total of 560 requests to process during 2013-2014. Of these requests, 527 were completed during the reporting year, while the remaining 33 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 2013-2014 fiscal year. Of the 465 requests received, the media comprised 61 per cent of that number (285). Members of the public who did not identify themselves as belonging to any other category accounted for 22 per cent of requests (101), 7.5 per cent were received from academia (35), 6.5 per cent were received from organizations (31). A small percentage of requests were submitted from businesses (13) at 2.5 per cent.

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.

The bulk of extensions taken over 2013-2014 were for consulting with other government departments for reasons other than confirming Cabinet Confidences. Most extensions taken for this reason were for 31-60 days.

Information on completion times

Sixty-nine per cent of requests under the Access to Information Act were completed within 30 days in 2013-2014. The average number of days taken to process a request this fiscal year was 75.

The department took on average, an extension of 76 days to process requests requiring consultations in 2013-2014.

Consultations completed

Public Safety Canada received 255 new consultation requests under the Access to Information Act throughout the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Five requests were carried forward from the previous fiscal year, resulting in a total of 260 requests to process during 2013-2014. Of these requests, 252 were completed during the reporting year, while the remaining eight requests were carried forward to the next reporting year.

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

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 2013-2014 on the Access to Information Act

Part 1 – Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests
Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 465
Outstanding from previous reporting period 95
Total 560
Closed during reporting period 527
Carried over to next reporting period 33
1.2 Sources of requests
Source Number of Requests
Media 285
Academia 35
Business (Private Sector) 13
Organization 31
Public 101
Total 465

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 7 24 1 4 0 0 0 36
Disclosed in part 23 70 30 51 29 31 11 245
All exempted 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 7
All excluded 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
No records exist 61 10 0 0 0 0 0 71
Request transferred 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 22
Request abandoned 20 0 2 0 1 0 3 26
Treated informally 116 2 0 0 0 0 0 118
Total 253 108 34 56 30 32 14 527

2.2 Exemptions

Section Number of requests
13(1)(a) 51
13(1)(b) 13
13(1)(c) 37
13(1)(d) 9
13(1)(e) 1
14(a) 48
14(b) 9
15(1) - I.A.
(International Affairs)
92
15(1) - Def.
(Defence of Canada)
22
15(1) - S.A.
(Subversive Activities)
108
16(1)(a)(i) 12
16(1)(a)(ii) 13
16(1)(a)(iii) 19
16(1)(b) 35
16(1)(c) 49
16(1)(d) 4
Section Number of requests
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 3
16(2)(c) 75
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
Section Number of requests
18(a) 2
18(b) 7
18(c) 0
18(d) 0
18.1(1)(a) 0
18.1(1)(b) 0
18.1(1)(c) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 189
20(1)(a) 1
20(1)(b) 23
20(1)(b.1) 0
20(1)(c) 40
20(1)(d) 8
Section Number of requests
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 118
21(1)(b) 103
21(1)(c) 40
21(1)(d) 21
22 1
22.1(1) 1
23 86
24(1) 25
26 3

2.3 Exclusions

Section Number of requests
68(a) 1
68(b) 0
68(c) 0
68.1 0
68.2(a) 0
68.2(b) 0
Section Number of requests
69(1)(a) 12
69(1)(b) 1
69(1)(c) 6
69(1)(d) 11
69(1)(e) 27
69(1)(f) 2
Section Number of requests
69(1)(g) re (a) 51
69(1)(g) re (b) 0
69(1)(g) re (c) 34
69(1)(g) re (d) 19
69(1)(g) re (e) 31
69(1)(g) re (f) 25
69.1(1) 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 15 21 0
Disclosed in part 50 195 0
Total 65 216 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 3467 3142 36
Disclosed in part 99614 64015 245
All exempted 373 34 7
All excluded 1298 0 2
Request abandoned 5289 26 26
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 28 606 6 1276 2 1369 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 110 2730 70 12497 32 14105 31 3011 1 1563
All exempted 5 0 2 34 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Abandoned  25 26 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 169 3362 78 13807 34 15474 32 3011 2 1563
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of fees Legal advice sought Other Total
All disclosed 6 1 0 1 8
Disclosed in part 166 7 6 0 179
All exempted 2 0 1 0 3
All excluded 1 0 0 0 1
Abandoned 5 0 0 0 5
Total 180 8 7 1 196

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 5 7 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 0 0
16 to 30 days 0 0 0
31 to 60 days 0 2 2
61 to 120 days 0 4 4
121 to 180 days 0 7 7
181 to 365 days 0 4 4
More than 365 days 0 5 5
Total 0 22 22
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 0 4 1
Disclosed in part 53 25 124 3
All exempted 1 0 1 0
All excluded 1 1 0 0
No records exist 0 0 1 0
Request abandoned 3 1 4 1
Total 58 27 134 5
3.2 Length of extensions
Length of extensions 9(1)(a)
Interference with operations
9(1)(b)
Consultation
9(1)(c)
Third party notice
Section 69 Other
30 days or less 27 0 9 1
31 to 60 days 14 0 50 3
61 to 120 days 14 1 38 1
121 to 180 days 1 25 31 0
181 to 365 days 1 1 6 0
365 days or more 1 0 0 0
Total 58 27 134 5

Part 4 – Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of
requests
Amount Number of
requests
Amount
Application 379 $1,895 149 $750
Search 2 $139 9 $1,039
Production  0 $0 0 $0
Programming 0 $0 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0 207 $466
Reproduction  0 $0 76 $353
Total 381 $2,034 441 $2,608

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 255 9996 5 40
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 5 58 0 0
Total 260 10054 5 40
Closed during the reporting period 252 9685 4 33
Pending at the end of the reporting period 8 369 1 7
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 More than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 80 15 2 0 0 0 0 97
Disclose in part 84 25 2 0 0 1 1 113
Exempt entirely 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
Exclude entirely 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 33 2 0 0 0 0 0 35
Total 202 44 4 0 0 1 1 252
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 More than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Disclose in part 2 0 0 0 0 0   2
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 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4

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 67 15
16 to 30 7 6
31 to 60 2 1
61 to 120 4 4
121 to 180 0 0
181 to 365 0 0
More than 365 0 0
Total 80 26

Part 7 – Resources related to the Access to Information Act

7.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries  $473,096
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $66,063
  • Professional services contracts
$0
  • Other
$66,063
Total $539,159
7.2 Human Resources
Resources Dedicated full-time to ATI activities Dedicated part-time to ATI activities Total
Full-time employees 8.00 0.50 8.50
Part-time and casual employees 0.00 0.00 0.00
Regional staff 0.00 0.00 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00 0.00 0.00
Students 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 8.00 0.50 8.50
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