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Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act - 2015-2016

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 2015-2016, as required under section 72 of the Act.

Nota: The Department is referred to as Global Affairs Canada; however, the legal name remains the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

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 2015-2016, the ATIP Office staff fluctuated at around fifty-five to seventy (including consultants) to fulfill the Department’s obligations under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. As of March 31, 2016, the ATIP Office consisted of; a director, four deputy directors, seven team leaders, twenty nine analysts at various levels, seven clerical staff, seven consultants, 1 student, seven part-time and casual employees, and one systems administrator. The work ranges from processing complex and/or voluminous requests to more straightforward, 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 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 1 086 requests for information under the Access to Information Act. 385 requests were carried over from the previous fiscal year for a total of 1 471 requests.

During the reporting period, 1 139 requests were completed and 332 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
Media571
Academia119
Business150
Organizations39
Public207
Decline to Identify0
Total1086

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 disclosed138
Disclosed in part652
Nothing disclosed (exempted)13
Nothing disclosed (excluded)8
No records exist136
Request transferred21
Abandoned by applicant166
Treated informally0
Total1139

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, the Department disclosed 82,943 pages of the 148,527 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): 132, 535 and 83 times, respectively.

Fees And Costs

For the reporting period, the Department collected $5 400 in fees, and waived $250 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, the Department 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 758 consultations, comprising of over

41725 pages 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 2015-2016, 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 the Department 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. Thirteen 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. A structured, department-wide ATIP awareness program is in place and includes the following events: attendance at staff meetings, “Global Affairs Canada 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. 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, forty one formal training sessions were delivered to approximately five hundred and eighteen employees. The Department’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, 2015 to March 31, 2016, 83 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
Delay18
Extension8
Miscellaneous17
Refusal – Exemptions31
Refusal – General0
Refusal – Section 699
Publication0
Fees0

Furthermore, during fiscal year 2015-2016, 43 complaints were closed. The findings on closed complaints are as follows:

Table 4: Complaints, audits, and investigations
Reason for ComplaintNumber of Complaints
Discontinued9
Not Well-Founded2
Well-Founded6
Resolved26

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 complaint resolution.

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 the department is continually working to find efficiencies. In the past year, the division’s internal guidelines documents were 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 Orders

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, Trade and Development 2015-2016 Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution: Global Affairs Canada

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-03-31

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 period1086
Outstanding from previous reporting period385
Total1471
Closed during reporting period1139
Carried over to next reporting period332
1.2 Source of requests
Table 6: Source of requests
SourceNumber of Requests
Media571
Academia119
Business (Private Sector)150
Organization39
Public207
Decline to Identify0
Total1086
1.3 Informal requests
Table 7: Informal requests
Completion Time
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
110563799372512376

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 disclosed3634922001138
Disclosed in part8731211728970119652
All exempted144301013
All excluded00331108
No records exist1098196030136
Request transferred1740000021
Request abandoned11314442524166
Neither confirmed nor denied14000005
Total15326020021092801441139
2.2 Exemptions
Table 9: Exemptions
SectionNumber of Requests

* I.A.: International Affairs Def.: Defence of Canada S.A.: Subversive Activities

13(1)(a)160
13(1)(b)43
13(1)(c)5
13(1)(d)1
13(1)(e)0
144
14(a)13
14(b)4
15(1)21
15(1) - I.A.*484
15(1) - Def.*31
15(1) - S.A.*66
16(1)(a)(i)1
16(1)(a)(ii)0
16(1)(a)(iii)0
16(1)(b)3
16(1)(c)8
16(1)(d)0
16(2)25
16(2)(a)4
16(2)(b)3
16(2)(c)59
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
16.30
16.4(1)(a)0
16.4(1)(b)0
16.50
1734
18(a)12
18(b)11
18(c)0
18(d)3
18.1(1)(a)0
18.1(1)(b)8
18.1(1)(c)0
18.1(1)(d)0
19(1)479
20(1)(a)9
20(1)(b)172
20(1)(b.1)2
20(1)(c)152
20(1)(d)28
20.12
20.20
20.40
21(1)(a)374
21(1)(b)344
21(1)(c)70
21(1)(d)14
228
22.1(1)1
23147
24(1)17
262
2.3 Exclusions
Table 10: Exclusions
SectionNumber of Requests
68(a)3
68(b)0
68(c)0
68.10
68.2(a)0
68.2(b)0
69(1)0
69(1)(a)14
69(1)(b)0
69(1)(c)3
69(1)(d)19
69(1)(e)40
69(1)(f)4
69(1)(g)re (a)76
69(1)(g)re (b)0
69(1)(g)re (c)28
69(1)(g)re (d)30
69(1)(g)re (e)35
69(1)(g)re (f)14
69.1(1)0
2.4 Format of information released
Table 11: Format of information released
DispositionPaperElectronicOther formats
All disclosed1071714
Disclosed in part36424048
Total47125762
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 disclosed54804402138
Disclosed in part11925478541652
All exempted968013
All excluded11008
Request abandoned227150166
Neither confirmed nor denied005
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 disclosed128154781506213490000
Disclosed in part4039431187316724419523181791500
All exempted11010100000
All excluded8000000000
Request abandoned1420140505000
Neither confirmed nor denied5000000000
Total69710978210331785220872231791500
2.5.3 Other complexities
Table 14: Other complexities
DispositionConsultation RequiredAssessment of FeesLegal Advice SoughtOtherTotal
All disclosed1500015
Disclosed in part307326318
All exempted20002
All excluded80008
Request abandoned2050126
Neither confirmed nor denied00000
Total352827369
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
330176295372
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 days161935
16 to 30 days121830
31 to 60 days43135
61 to 120 days73037
121 to 180 days22325
181 to 365 days97887
More than 365 days136881
Total63267330
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 disclosed141412
Disclosed in part992441975
All exempted0052
All excluded0341
No records exist4090
Request abandoned154253
Total1323250383
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 less6941221
31 to 60 days39817253
61 to 120 days211018121
121 to 180 days210207
181 to 365 days1081
365 days or more0000
Total1323250383

Part 4 - Fees

Table 20: Fees
Fee TypeFee CollectedFee Waived or Refunded
Number of requestsAmountNumber of requestsAmount
Application1060$5,30050$250
Search0$00$0
Production0$00$0
Programming0$00$0
Preparation1$1000$0
Alternative format0$00$0
Reproduction0$00$0
Total1061$5,40050$250

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 of Canada InstitutionsNumber of Pages to ReviewOther OrganizationsNumber of Pages to Review
Received during reporting period61820070861156
Outstanding from the previous reporting period1402165516193
Total758417251021349
Closed during the reporting period6533333084682
Pending at the end of the reporting period105839518667
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 entirely23418839100192
Disclose in part43112212227193328
Exempt entirely116111011
Exclude entirely00000000
Consult other institution111320955265
Other209151200157
Total599525118334256653
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 entirely1172310033
Disclose in part15181131140
Exempt entirely00540009
Exclude entirely00000000
Consult other institution00000000
Other00010012
Total26303941284

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 155338923000000
16 to 30151624236000000
31 to 6077731570011100
61 to 1206623372000000
121 to 1801742141000000
181 to 36511111000000
More than 3650000000000
Total83765159200011100
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 6011100000000
61 to 1200000000000
121 to 1800000000000
181 to 365001202000000
More than 3650000000000
Total1111202000000

Part 7 - Complaints and Investigations

Table 26: Complaints and Investigations
Section 32Section 35Section 37Total
83735125

Part 8 - Court Action

Table 27: Court Action
Section 41Section 42Section 44Total
1001

Part 9 - Resources Related to the Access to Information Act

9.1 Costs
Table 28: Costs
ExpendituresAmount
Salaries$3,133,770
Overtime$713
Goods and Services$1,266,586
Professional services contracts$1,150,388 
Other$116,198
Total$4,401,069
9.2 Human Resources
Table 29:  Human Resources
ResourcesPerson Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees38.21
Part-time and casual employees6.26
Regional staff0.00
Consultants and agency personnel8.10
Students1.29
Total53.86

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

Date Modified: