Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act - 2016-2017

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 2016-2017, as required under section 72 of the Act.

Nota: The Department is referred to in this report as Global Affairs Canada. However, its legal name remains the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development as set out in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development 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

Global Affairs Canada is Canada’s face 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 Office (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 2016-2017, the ATIP Office staff fluctuated from forty-five to sixty (including consultants) to fulfill the Department’s obligations under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. As of March 31, 2017, the ATIP Office consisted of: a director, four deputy directors, nine team leaders, twenty nine analysts at various levels, eight clerical staff, four consultants, one student, one part-time student, four casual employees, and one systems administrator. The ATIP Office’s 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

Consistent with Section 73 of the Act, the Minister’s authority is delegated to the Deputy Ministers, to the Corporate Secretary, to the Director of the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division, and 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

In 2016-2017, the Department received 1 233 requests for information under the Access to Information Act. There were 332 requests carried over from the previous fiscal year for a total of 1 565 requests.

During the reporting period, 1 268 requests were completed and 297 active files were carried over to the next reporting period. Due to a multi-year initiative, the active file “inventory” dropped to its lowest level in several years. The current year was also notable as we closed a larger number of files than the number received. To accomplish this work, an effort was made by the management team to keep positions fully staffed throughout the year.

Requestor Sources

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

Table 1: Requestor Sources
Access to Information RequestsNumber of Requests
Media624
Academia97
Business141
Organizations82
Public289
Decline to Identify0
Total1233

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 disclosed116
Disclosed in part819
Nothing disclosed (exempted)23
Nothing disclosed (excluded)16
No records exist165
Request transferred26
Abandoned by applicant101
Treated informally2
Total1268

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 97 330 pages of the 159 788 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): 203, 691 and 64 times, respectively.

Fees And Costs

For the reporting period, the Department collected $6 225 in fees, and waived $765 in fees.

Consultations Received from Other Institutions

When a request contains records that are of interest to another institution, the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator 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, Global Affairs Canada consults with foreign organizations abroad on behalf of other federal government institutions processing requests the responses to which contain records originating abroad.

During the reporting period, the Department received 800 consultations, comprising over 111 862 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 2016-2017, the ATIP Office continued to provide analysts with the necessary training and tools to perform their jobs effectively. 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 Professional Development Program, which allows the Department to develop its own Analysts due to the shortage 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 and Governance Team assists in addressing the training needs of the ATIP Office and the Department. 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: 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 individual sessions with subject matter experts and liaison officers. 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-à-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, 21 formal ATIP training sessions were delivered to approximately 502 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.

New or Revised Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

While the workload has grown, the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Office at the department is continually working to find efficiencies. The division’s internal guidelines document has been converted to an “evergreen” electronic document which is updated whenever new policies are implemented or new ones are revised.

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

Complaints, Audits, and Investigations

From April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, 42 complaints were made to the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (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
Delay4
Extension8
Miscellaneous12
Refusal – Exemptions15
Refusal – General0
Refusal – Section 693
Publication0
Fees0

Furthermore, during fiscal year 2016-2017, 71 complaints were closed. The findings on closed complaints are as follows:

Table 4: Complaints, audits, and investigations
Reason for ComplaintNumber of Complaints
Discontinued28
Not Well-Founded4
Well-Founded3
Resolved36

The Department takes the issue of complaints seriously and this is being addressed through both ongoing training and growing awareness. The Division also has two dedicated officers dealing with complaint resolution. 2016-2017 was the first fiscal year in a decade where Global Affairs Canada closed more complaints than it received.

Monitoring Processing Times

The Department monitors pressing time for ATI requests and tracks their status.

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 sections of the Act set out after each position in the schedule. This designation replaces the designation dated October 2, 2009.

Schedule

Position

  1. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (all sections)
  2. Deputy Minister for International Trade (all sections)
  3. Deputy Minister for International Development (all sections)
  4. Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (all sections)
  5. Director General, Corporate Secretariat (all sections)
  6. Director, Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division (all sections)
  7. Deputy Directors, Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division (all sections)

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Ottawa, July 4, 2017

Annex B: Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development 2016-2017 Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution: Global Affairs Canada

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-03-31

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 period1233
Outstanding from previous reporting period332
Total1565
Closed during reporting period1268
Carried over to next reporting period297
1.2 Source of requests
Table 6: Source of requests
SourceNumber of Requests
Media624
Academia97
Business (Private Sector)141
Organization82
Public289
Decline to Identify0
Total1233
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
2623822191010352

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 disclosed2444622200116
Disclosed in part157914230012410455819
All exempted0310730023
All excluded114721016
No records exist81072917400165
Request transferred2510000026
Request abandoned5020452317101
Neither confirmed nor denied20000002
Total103255235358137108721268
2.2 Exemptions
Table 9: Exemptions
SectionNumber of Requests

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

13(1)(a)195
13(1)(b)55
13(1)(c)23
13(1)(d)0
13(1)(e)0
1410
14(a)40
14(b)18
15(1)16
15(1) - I.A.*584
15(1) - Def.*21
15(1) - S.A.*100
16(1)(a)(i)1
16(1)(a)(ii)0
16(1)(a)(iii)2
16(1)(b)3
16(1)(c)9
16(1)(d)0
16(2)33
16(2)(a)0
16(2)(b)1
16(2)(c)60
16(3)0
16.1(1)(a)2
16.1(1)(b)0
16.1(1)(c)1
16.1(1)(d)0
16.2(1)0
16.30
16.4(1)(a)0
16.4(1)(b)0
16.50
1719
18(a)4
18(b)9
18(c)0
18(d)1
18.1(1)(a)0
18.1(1)(b)3
18.1(1)(c)0
18.1(1)(d)0
19(1)529
20(1)(a)7
20(1)(b)171
20(1)(b.1)0
20(1)(c)204
20(1)(d)24
20.10
20.20
20.40
21(1)(a)444
21(1)(b)403
21(1)(c)78
21(1)(d)18
226
22.1(1)3
23215
24(1)27
264
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)2
69(1)(a)16
69(1)(b)0
69(1)(c)1
69(1)(d)10
69(1)(e)55
69(1)(f)0
69(1)(g)re (a)117
69(1)(g)re (b)0
69(1)(g)re (c)38
69(1)(g)re (d)26
69(1)(g)re (e)45
69(1)(g)re (f)25
69.1(1)0
2.4 Format of information released
Table 11: Format of information released
DispositionPaperElectronicOther formats
All disclosed94220
Disclosed in part4683510
Total5623730
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 disclosed74223437116
Disclosed in part13716489371819
All exempted870023
All excluded2668016
Request abandoned116644522101
Neither confirmed nor denied002
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 disclosed105141310202001400
Disclosed in part53610123231416353716630131682524158
All exempted21020000000
All excluded15000001000
Request abandoned8614112161927840011978
Neither confirmed nor denied2000000000
Total76511677255452743917414151682936136
2.5.3 Other complexities
Table 14: Other complexities
DispositionConsultation RequiredAssessment of FeesLegal Advice SoughtOtherTotal
All disclosed90009
Disclosed in part367310371
All exempted80008
All excluded1400014
Request abandoned1600016
Neither confirmed nor denied00000
Total414310418
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
3771503574108
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 days186280
16 to 30 days83139
31 to 60 days194867
61 to 120 days106777
121 to 180 days82230
181 to 365 days14344
More than 365 days73340
Total71306377
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 disclosed232311
Disclosed in part1522057555
All exempted20101
All excluded2591
No records exist110110
Request abandoned134246
Total2033166064
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 less10351666
31 to 60 days531526242
61 to 120 days391019511
121 to 180 days51325
181 to 365 days3050
365 days or more0000
Total2033166064

Part 4 - Fees

Table 20: Fees
Fee TypeFee CollectedFee Waived or Refunded
Number of requestsAmountNumber of requestsAmount
Application1115$5,575153$765
Search1$6500$0
Production0$00$0
Programming0$00$0
Preparation0$00$0
Alternative format0$00$0
Reproduction0$00$0
Total1116$6,225153$765

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 period800111862561359
Outstanding from the previous reporting period1052045418727
Total905132316742086
Closed during the reporting period775107337692019
Pending at the end of the reporting period13024979567
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 entirely585680110900313
Disclose in part11571011112082310
Exempt entirely242110010
Exclude entirely11010003
Consult other institution2216101534171
Other4347805168
Total13713820024633174775
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 entirely2103402021
Disclose in part36121342040
Exempt entirely11220006
Exclude entirely00000000
Consult other institution10000001
Other10000001
Total817171944069

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 1569437115000000
16 to 3039353449001000
31 to 608785226000000
61 to 12013200000000
121 to 1800000000000
181 to 3650000000000
More than 3650000000000
Total11790010290001000
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 600000000000
61 to 1200000000000
121 to 1800000000000
181 to 3650000000000
More than 3650000000000
Total0000000000

Part 7 - Complaints and Investigations

Table 26: Complaints and Investigations
Section 32Section 35Section 37Total
39572116

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$2,985,318
Overtime$6,171
Goods and Services$936,814
Professional services contracts$871,026 
Other$65,788
Total$3,928,303
9.2 Human Resources
Table 29:  Human Resources
ResourcesPerson Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees38.72
Part-time and casual employees5.07
Regional staff0.00
Consultants and agency personnel4.33
Students0.72
Total48.84

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

Date Modified: