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Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act - 2014-2015

Table of Contents

Introduction

We are pleased to table the Annual Report to Parliament on the administration of the Access to Information Act (ATIA or the Act) for fiscal year 2014-2015, as required under section 72 of the Act.

Purpose of the Access to Information Act

The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens and permanent residents, as well as individuals and corporations present in Canada, the right to seek access to federally-controlled information and records.

Mandate of the Institution

On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development is Canada’s face and voice to the world, working to advance Canada’s political and economic interests in the international community as well as to apply Canadian experience to help address global issues.

The Department's legal mandate, as set out in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act, SC 2013, c. 33, s. 174 is to:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is also responsible for the Export and Import Permits Act, RSC 1985, c. E-19, which authorizes the government to control and monitor the trans-border flow of specified goods, and for the Special Economic Measures Act, 40-41 Elizabeth II, c. 17, which authorizes the government to apply economic sanctions in response to a serious threat to international peace and security.

The Department also provides administrative support to other federal government institutions with personnel abroad.

Organizational Structure

The Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division (ATIP Office) is responsible for the administration of the ATIA, including the processing of requests and consultations. The Director of the ATIP Office reports to the Corporate Secretary, who in turn reports to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In 2014-2015, the ATIP Office staff fluctuated between fifty and seventy (including consultants) to fulfill the Department’s obligations under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. As of March 31, 2015, the ATIP Office consisted of; a Director, four Deputy Directors, six Team Leaders, forty Analysts at various levels, six administrative staff, seven consultants, five students, and one Systems Administrator. The work ranges from processing complex and/or voluminous requests to more straight forward, routine requests and consultations from other government departments as well as providing advice to internal and external stakeholders and providing training to departmental staff.

Delegated Authorities

Under Section 73 of the Act, the Minister’s authority is delegated to enable the Department to meet its legislated requirements as well as exercise its powers. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada is currently operating with two Delegation Orders (as a result of amalgamation between the former Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the former Canadian International Development Agency). Responsibility for all sections of the Act is delegated to the Deputy Ministers, to the Corporate Secretary, to the Director of the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division, as well as to the Deputy Directors of the ATIP Office.

Administration of Requests

The following section explains in more detail the TBS statistical report as provided in Annex B.

Access to Information Requests

The Department received 871 requests for information under the Access to Information Act. 498 requests were carried over from the previous fiscal year for a total of 1,369 requests.

During the reporting period, 984 requests were completed and 385 active files were carried over to the next reporting period. Due to a multi-year initiative to focus on completing the oldest files and completing files in the shortest number of days possible, the active file “inventory” dropped to its lowest level in several years and efforts continue in this respect.

Requestor Sources

Access to Information requests received during this reporting period are as follows:

Table 1: Requestor sources
Access to Information RequestsNumber of Requests
Media477
Academia76
Business78
Organizations57
Public183
Decline to Identify0
Total871
Disposition of Completed Requests

The distribution of requests completed during this reporting period is as follows:

Table 2: Disposition of completed requests
Access to Information RequestsNumber of Requests
All disclosed90
Disclosed in part575
Nothing disclosed (exempted)21
Nothing disclosed (excluded)13
No records exist99
Request transferred30
Abandoned by applicant156
Treated informally0
Total984
Exemptions and Exclusions

The exemptions most commonly used by the Department during the period were sub-sections 15(1) [international affairs] and 19(1) [personal information] as well as paragraphs 21(1)(a) [advice] and 21(1)(b) [consultations and deliberations].

Relevant Pages Processed and Disclosed

During this reporting period, DFATD disclosed 78 337 pages of the 156 160 relevant pages processed.

Extensions

During the reporting period, the Department claimed extensions pursuant to paragraphs 9(1)(a), 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c): 142, 453 and 56 times, respectively.

Fees and Costs

For the reporting period, the Department collected $6,633 in fees, and waived $215 in fees.

Consultations Received from Other Institutions

When a request contains records that are of interest to another institution, the ATIP Office of that institution is consulted. Given its mandate and various responsibilities at the international level, DFATD plays a key role under the ATIA on behalf of other Government of Canada institutions. As well, DFATD consults with foreign organizations abroad on behalf of other federal government institutions that are processing requests the responses of which contain records originating abroad.

During the reporting period, the Department received 645 consultations from other government institutions. Most requests originated from federal institutions subject to the Access to Information Act. However, a small percentage of consultations originated from other governments in Canada and abroad.

Internal Operations

Training and Development

During 2014-2015, the ATIP Office continued to provide analysts with the necessary training and tools to perform their jobs effectively via training sessions developed to meet the ATIP Office’s training needs. The Learning Roadmaps developed in a previous year have continued to be an effective tool to identify and formalize the training requirements for employees in the ATIP Division.

The ATIP Office also continued to benefit from its ATIP Professional Development Program which allows DFATD to “grow its own” ATIP Analysts due to the shortage of experienced ATIP Analysts within the federal ATIP Community. This program has been very successful in addressing recruitment, retention and succession planning issues. 12 employees are presently in the program and recruiting continues.

The Policy & Governance Team assists in addressing the ATIP training needs of the ATIP Office, the Department and other federal government institutions. The Policy and Governance Team also advises the Department regarding compliance with the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act, their regulations and relevant Treasury Board of Canada policy requirements.

The ATIP Office continues to broaden its use of internal collaboration tools to share information, best practices, and facilitate cooperation across the Department. The ATIP Office also maintains a structured, department-wide ATIP awareness program including at the following events: staff meetings, “DFATD 101” courses which are designed for all employees, pre-posting training sessions in order to better prepare employees for their work at Canada’s missions abroad, and in sessions with subject matter experts during which records are reviewed in order to educate employees on the exercise of discretion when making recommendations.

To ensure that employees at Canada’s missions abroad also receive necessary training, sessions were delivered to Locally Engaged Staff, Trade, Political, Development, Consular Officers, and Administrative Assistants using videoconferencing and webinar technology. In addition, an online interactive ATIP awareness tutorial, developed in collaboration with the Canadian Foreign Service Institute, continues to be used.

To assist Consular Officers in understanding their roles and responsibilities vis-a-vis the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act in the context of providing consular services to Canadians, a specific training program is delivered using scenario-based practical exercises to better prepare employees for situations they may encounter in the course of their duties.

In all, during the reporting period, training sessions were delivered to approximately seven hundred and thirty-eight employees. DFATD’s ATIP Division continuously strives to develop and refine its training tools through comments from employees participating in the various training session delivered.

Complaints, Audits, and Investigations

From April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, 86 complaints were made to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) regarding access to information requests to the Department. The reasons for the complaints are as follows:

Table 3: Complaints, audits, and investigations
Reason for ComplaintNumber of Complaints
Delay14
Extension7
Miscellaneous11
Refusal – Exemptions39
Refusal – General7
Refusal – Section 6913
Publication1
Fees1

Furthermore, during FY 2014-15, 46 complaints were closed. The findings on closed complaints are as follows:

Table 4: Complaints, audits, and investigations
Reason for ComplaintNumber of Complaints
Discontinued29
Not Well-Founded2
Well-Founded13
Resolved2

The Department takes the issue of complaints seriously and this is being addressed through numerous means including; using the ATIP Professional Development Program to recruit, train and promote employees, providing ATIP Awareness sessions throughout the Department, updating the Intranet ATIP web site, ensuring that new personnel receive appropriate training and can refer to a new online ATIP tutorial. The Division has also dedicated an officer to deal solely with complaints.

New or Revised Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

While the workload has stabilized, it remains substantial and the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Office at DFATD is continually working to find efficiencies to deal with this ongoing challenge. Internal guidelines have been converted to an evergreen electronic document.

The Department continued to place emphasis on educating departmental officials on their ATIP roles and responsibilities to ensure compliance and efficiencies.

Monitoring Processing Times

The Department monitors time to process ATI requests as well as tracks the status of requests.

Annex A: Designation Order

Access to Information Act Designation Order

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, or the persons acting in those positions, to exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs as the head of a Government institution under the Act. This designation replaces the designation dated March 11, 1998.

Schedule

Position

  1. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
  2. Deputy Minister for International Trade
  3. Director General, Corporate Secretariat
  4. Director, Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division
  5. Deputy Directors, Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, P.C., M.P.
Ottawa, October 2nd, 2009

Access to Information Act Designation Order

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions in the Canadian International Development Agency set out in the schedule hereto, or the persons occupying on an acting basis those positions, to exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs as the head of a government institution under the Act. This designation replaces the designation dated August 11, 1993.

Canadian International Development Agency Delegation Schedule (Access to Information Act)

  1. Position: President
    Section(s) of Privacy Act: All sections
  2. Position: Secretary General
    Section(s) of Privacy Act: All sections
  3. Position: Coordinator, ATIP
    Section(s) of Privacy Act: All sections
  4. Position: Senior ATIP Advisor
    Section(s) of Privacy Act: 7(a), 7(b), 8(1), 9, 11(2)(3)(4)(5)(6), 27(1), 27(4), 28(1)(b), 28(2), 28(4), 35(2), 43(1), 44(2)

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, P.C., M.P.
Ottawa, October 2nd, 2009

Annex B: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada 2014-15 Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution: Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Reporting period: 01/04/2014 to 31/03/2015

Part 1 - Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of requests
Table 5: Number of requests
SourceNumber of Requests
Received during reporting period871
Outstanding from previous reporting period498
Total1369
Closed during reporting period984
Carried over to next reporting period385
1.2 Source of requests
Table 6: Source of requests
SourceNumber of Requests
Media477
Academia76
Business (Private Sector)78
Organization57
Public183
Decline to Identify0
Total871
1.3 Source of requests

Completion Time

Table 7: Source of requests
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
101213176575512913744

Note: All requests previously recorded as “treated informally” will now be accounted for in this section only.

Part 2 - Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time
Table 8: Disposition and completion time
Disposition of requestsCompletion Time
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
All disclosed347211431190
Disclosed in part4436613157102172575
All exempted145730121
All excluded022333013
No records exist66712842099
Request transferred3000000030
Request abandoned883784379156
Neither confirmed nor denied00000000
Total13220011416773115183984
2.2 Exemptions
Table 9: Exemptions
SectionNumber of Requests
* I.A.: International Affairs Def.: Defence of Canada S.A.: Subversive Activities
13(1)(a)186
13(1)(b)71
13(1)(c)18
13(1)(d)2
13(1)(e)1
1411
14(a)19
14(b)11
15(1)57
15(1) - I.A.*443
15(1) - Def.*30
15(1) - S.A.*31
16(1)(a)(i)0
16(1)(a)(ii)0
16(1)(a)(iii)1
16(1)(b)3
16(1)(c)16
16(1)(d)0
16(2)23
16(2)(a)0
16(2)(b)0
16(2)(c)51
16(3)0
16.1(1)(a)0
16.1(1)(b)2
16.1(1)(c)0
16.1(1)(d)0
16.2(1)1
16.30
16.4(1)(a)0
16.4(1)(b)0
16.50
1756
18(a)9
18(b)7
18(c)0
18(d)11
18.1(1)(a)0
18.1(1)(b)11
18.1(1)(c)0
18.1(1)(d)0
19(1)485
20(1)(a)5
20(1)(b)144
20(1)(b.1)0
20(1)(c)152
20(1)(d)44
20.18
20.20
20.40
21(1)(a)343
21(1)(b)365
21(1)(c)95
21(1)(d)24
223
22.1(1)0
23119
24(1)17
262
2.3 Exclusions
Table 10: Exclusions
SectionNumber of Requests
68(a)5
68(b)0
68(c)0
68.10
68.2(a)0
68.2(b)0
69(1)4
69(1)(a)23
69(1)(b)2
69(1)(c)2
69(1)(d)27
69(1)(e)29
69(1)(f)5
69(1)(g)re (a)86
69(1)(g)re (b)0
69(1)(g)re (c)31
69(1)(g)re (d)27
69(1)(g)re (e)30
69(1)(g)re (f)5
69.1(1)0
2.4 Format of information released
Table 11: Format of information released
DispositionPaperElectronicOther formats
All disclosed76410
Disclosed in part30624920
Total38225330
2.5 Complexity
2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Table 12: Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requestsNumber of pages processedNumber of pages disclosedNumber of requests
All disclosed3643302890
Disclosed in part13461675309575
All exempted4494021
All excluded519013
Request abandoned128880156
Neither confirmed nor denied000
2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Table 13: Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
DispositionLess than 100 pages processed101-500 pages processed501-1000 pages processed1001-5000 pages processedMore than 5000 pages processed
Number of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosed
All disclosed848865371001177100
Disclosed in part293739422134141361348224201611131
All exempted12050400000
All excluded11020000000
Request abandoned142040505000
Neither confirmed nor denied0000000000
Total542828023734512451348230219321131
2.5.3 Other complexities
Table 14: Other complexities
DispositionConsultation requiredAssessment of feesLegal advice soughtOtherTotal
All disclosed1200012
Disclosed in part3417422374
All exempted60006
All excluded90009
Request abandoned1460121
Neither confirmed nor denied00000
Total38213423422
2.6 Deemed refusals
2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Table 15: Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Number of requests closed past the statutory deadlinePrincipal Reason
WorkloadExternal consultationInternal consultationOther
407237375776
2.6.2 Number of days past deadline
Table 16: Number of days past deadline
Number of days past deadlineNumber of requests past deadline where no extension was takenNumber of requests past deadline where an extension was takenTotal
1 to 15 days202545
16 to 30 days102232
31 to 60 days82836
61 to 120 days72835
121 to 180 days113546
181 to 365 days206686
More than 365 days24103127
Total100307407
2.7 Requests for translation
Table 17: Requests for translation
Translation RequestsAcceptedRefusedTotal
English to French000
French to English000
Total000

Part 3 - Extensions

3.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Table 18: Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken9(1)(a) Interference with operations9(1)(b) Consultation9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69Other
All disclosed61221
Disclosed in part1175832754
All exempted5290
All excluded2360
No records exist5080
Request abandoned72151
Total1426638756
3.2 Length of extensions
Table 19: Length of extensions
Length of extensions9(1)(a) Interference with operations9(1)(b) Consultation9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69Other
30 days or less771802
31 to 60 days27313929
61 to 120 days252911318
121 to 180 days633347
181 to 365 days40210
365 days or more3000
Total1426638756

Part 4 - Fees

Table 20: Fees
Fee TypeFee CollectedFee Waived or Refunded
Number of requestsAmountNumber of requestsAmount
Application946$4,73032$160
Search2$1,6751$50
Production0$00$0
Programming0$00$0
Preparation2$2281$5
Alternative format0$00$0
Reproduction0$00$0
Total950$6,63334$215

Part 5 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
Table 21: Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
ConsultationsOther government institutionsNumber of pages to reviewOther organizationsNumber of pages to review
Received during reporting period6454548960947
Outstanding from the previous reporting period101291577130
Total74674646671077
Closed during the reporting period6076158851901
Pending at the end of the reporting period1391305816176
5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
Table 22: Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
RecommendationNumber of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
Disclose entirely33615922340182
Disclose in part19511038728171306
Exempt entirely30310007
Exclude entirely00000000
Consult other institution151110654051
Other32712620261
Total10213018712238253607
5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
Table 23: Recommendations and completion time for consultations
RecommendationNumber of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
Disclose entirely1027200021
Disclose in part2271240 27
Exempt entirely00200002
Exclude entirely00000000
Consult other institution00000000
Other01000001
Total125161440051

Part 6 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

6.1 Requests with Legal Services
Table 24: Requests with Legal Services
Number of DaysLess than 100 pages processed101-500 pages processed501-1000 pages processed1001-5000 pages processedMore than 5000 pages processed
Number of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosed
1 to 151911929000000
16 to 3013177328000000
31 to 6030340483000000
61 to 1201010300000000
121 to 180238197000000
181 to 36544800000000
More than 3650000000000
Total7882510217000000
6.2 Requests with Privy Council Office
Table 25: Requests with Privy Council Office
Number of DaysLess than 100 pages processed101-500 pages processed501-1000 pages processed1001-5000 pages processedMore than 5000 pages processed
Number of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosedNumber of requestsPages disclosed
1 to 150000000000
16 to 300000000000
31 to 6042100000000
61 to 12023259000000
121 to 180103167000000
181 to 365257196000000
More than 3650000000000
Total9816322000000

Part 7 - Complaints and Investigations

Table 26: Complaints and Investigations
Section 32Section 35Section 37Total
87146134

Part 8 - Court Action

Table 27: Court Action
Section 41Section 42Section 44Total
0000

Part 9 - Resources Related to the Access to Information Act

9.1 Costs
Table 28: Costs
ExpendituresAmount
Salaries$3,229,894
Overtime$4,496
Goods and Services$1,498,068
Professional services contracts$1,343,289
Other$154,779
Total$4,732,458
9.2  Human Resources
Table 29:  Human Resources
ResourcesPerson Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees38.57
Part-time and casual employees13.45
Regional staff0.00
Consultants and agency personnel6.28
Students4.48
Total62.78

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

Date Modified: