Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act

PDF   Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act (PDF)

April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018

Table of contents

Introduction

The Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC) is pleased to present to Parliament its annual report on the administration of the Access to Information Act (the Act) for fiscal year to .

Section 72 of the Act requires the head of every federal government institution to prepare and table an annual report to Parliament on the administration of the Act during the fiscal year. This report provides an overview of the activities of the ATSSC in implementing the Act.

The purpose of the Access to Information Act is to provide a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution. It maintains 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 on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.

The Act is intended to complement and not replace existing procedures for access to records and is not intended to limit in any way access to the information that is normally available to the public.

The ATSSC is fully committed to both the spirit and the intent of the Act to foster a culture of openness and transparency within the organization.

About the ATSSC

The Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC) was established with the coming into force on , of the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada Act. The ATSSC is responsible for providing support services and facilities to 11 federal administrative tribunals by way of a single, integrated organization.

These services include the specialized services required to support the mandate of each tribunal (e.g., registry, research and analysis, legal and other mandate or case activities), as well as internal services (e.g., human resources, financial services, information management and technology, accommodation, security, planning and communications). Through these specialized services, the ATSSC supports improving access to justice for Canadians.

The administrative tribunals supported by the ATSSC include:

The ATSSC also supports the National Joint Council, the forum for co-development, consultation and information sharing between the government as employer and public service bargaining agents.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada is responsible for the ATSSC.

The Access to Information and Privacy Office

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office is responsible for administering the Access to Information Act (the Act) on behalf of the ATSSC. Its mandate is to ensure compliance with the legislation, regulations and government policy and to create organizational standards and directives relating to the Act. Responsibility for the powers, duties and functions for the administration of the Act has been formally established and is outlined in the Delegation Order signed by the Chief Administrator. The Director, Planning and Communications and the ATIP Manager have been delegated authorities as described in the Delegation Order included in Appendix A.

Within the ATSSC’s organizational structure, the ATIP Office reports to the Planning and Communications Unit which is under the direction of the Chief administrator. Oversight of the ATIP Office is administered by the Director, Planning and Communications. The ATIP Office consists of the manager and one analyst dedicated to access to information and privacy activities.

The ATIP Office receives, coordinates and processes requests in accordance with the Act, promotes awareness of the Act within the organization, fulfills reporting responsibilities relating to the Act. The ATIP office also provides expert advice and guidance to senior management and ATSSC staff on matters relating to the Act.

ATSSC Statistical Overview

The ATSSC received a total of 23 formal requests under the Act. With 7 requests carried over from last fiscal year, 18 of the 30 active requests were completed. Twelve (12) requests were carried forward into the new fiscal year.

In addition to the formal requests, the ATSSC received 44 consultations from other federal institutions and other organizations as well as 19 informal requests. A copy of the Statistical Report is included in Appendix B.

In the last three reporting periods, the statistics indicate increases of 138% for informal requests and 76% for consultation requests. The ATSSC also noted a 38% decrease in formal requests received. The overall volume of requests has increased by 23% from 70 requests in 2015-16 to 86 requests in this reporting period.

ATSSC Statistical Overview

Sources of Requests

Of the 23 requests that were received this reporting period, 12 requests were submitted by the general public and 4 requests were submitted by the media. Requests were also received from businesses (5) and organizations (1). One (1) applicant declined to identify.

ATSSC Statistical Overview

Disposition of Completed Requests

During this reporting period, the ATSSC completed 18 requests under the Act, 3 of which resulted in a full release. The information sought was released in part in 5 cases and withheld entirely in 1 case. No records existed in 3 cases. The remaining 6 requests were transferred (4) and abandoned (2).

Exemptions Invoked

The I sets out specific exceptions to the right of access known as exemptions. Each exemption is intended to protect information relating to a particular public or private interest and form the only basis for refusing access to government information under the Access to Information Act. Of the 18 requests completed, exemptions to withhold information were invoked in 6 cases. The most frequently applied exemption, as was the case in the previous reporting year, was subsection 19(1) (records containing personal information) that was invoked in all 6 cases.

Extensions and Completion Time

Requests can be extended beyond the 30-day statutory time frame in three circumstances:

During this reporting period, an extension under paragraph 9(1)(a) of the Act was taken time limit would have unreasonably interfered with the operations of the ATSSC. In 4 cases, an extension was taken under paragraph 9(1)(b) as consultations with other institutions were required.

The ATSSC responded to 7 requests within 1 to 15 days, 7 requests within 16 to 30 days, and 1 request within 31 to 60 days. Two (2) requests required 61 to 120 days to complete and 1 required more than 181 days. Of the 18 requests completed during this reporting period, all but one were completed within the statutory time frame.

Consultations

Along with processing requests received under the Act, the ATIP Office provides recommendations to other institutions regarding the release of records that concern the ATSSC. During this reporting period, the ATSSC received 44 consultation requests from other federal institutions and other organizations. Of the 43 requests completed, the ATSSC recommended full disclosure of the records in 37 cases, a partial release in 4 cases and full exemption of the records in 1 case. The ATSSC was unable to respond to the remaining request (1).

Training Activities

To increase the knowledge and understanding of the Act across the ATSSC, training and awareness sessions were delivered by the ATIP Office. These sessions provided general information on the purpose and provisions of the Act, as well as the roles and responsibilities of employees and the ATIP Office. These awareness sessions were tailored to meet the specific needs of the units concerned.

Ongoing briefings occurred on an ad-hoc basis with our liaison officers. The liaison officers assist the ATIP Office in producing the requested records and providing insight into the subject matter of the requests.

During the reporting period, the ATIP Office delivered 10 awareness sessions to ATSSC employees. A total of 168 individuals participated in these sessions which represents 27% of ATSSC employees.

Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

The ATSSC is guided by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) suite of access to information policy and guidance instruments. During this reporting period, the ATSSC did not implement any new or revised institution-specific policies, guidelines or procedures.

Complaints

This reporting period, 2 complaints regarding the processing of access to information requests were filed with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) against the ATSSC. The complainants allege in both cases that the ATSSC failed to provide all responsive records. No investigations concerning the ATSSC were completed by the OIC. At the end of the fiscal year, 4 complaints were ongoing.

Monitoring

The monitoring of access to information requests was conducted through the case management system containing all relevant and necessary information to ensure compliance with the legislated requirements and reporting obligations. The system was updated as new requests were received or the status of a file was changed. Weekly meetings between the ATIP Manager and the Director, Planning and Communications to discuss workload and priorities also assisted the ATSSC in meeting its statutory obligations.

Appendix A

Access to Information Act

Delegation Order

Delegation Order for the purpose of the Access to Information Act and Access to Information Regulations

The Chief Administrator, 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 person occupying the position on an acting basis, to exercise the powers, duties and functions of the Chief Admministrator as the head of the Administrative Trubunal Support Services of Canada, under the provisions of the Act and related regulations as specified in the schedule opposit each position.

This Delegation Order supersedes all previous Delegation Orders.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Dated, at the City of Ottawa, this 28 day of August, 2017.

Original signed by:
Marie-France Pelletier
______________________________________
Chief Administrator

Schedule

Powers, duties and functions delegated pursuant to Section 73 of the Access to Information Act and the Access to Information Regulations

Access to Information Act
Delegation Provision Description Position
CA
1
D
2
M
3
Access
4(2.1) Responsibility of government institutions X X X
7(a) Notice when access requested X X X
7(b) Giving access to the record X X X
8(1) Transfer of request to another government institution X X X
9 Extension of time limits X X X
11(2), (3), (4), (5), (6) Additional fees X X X
12(2)(b) Language of access X X X
12(3)(b) Access in an alternative format X X X
Exemptions
13 Information obtained in confidence X X  
14 Federal-provincial affairs X X  
15 International affairs and defence X X  
16 Law enforcement and investigations X X  
16.5 Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act X X  
17 Safety of individuals X X  
18 Economic interests of Canada X X  
18.1 Economic interest of certain government institutions X X X
19 Personal information X X  
20 Third party information X X X
21 Operations of Government X X X
22 Testing procedures, tests and audits X X X
22.1 Internal Audits X X X
23 Solicitor-client privilege X X X
24 Statutory prohibitions X X X
Other Provisions
25 Severability X X X
26 Information to be published X X X
27(1), (4) Third party notification X X X
28(1)(b), (2), (4) Third party notification X X X
29(1) Where the Information Commissioner recommends disclosure X X X
33 Advising Information Commissioner of third-party involvement X X X
35(2)(b) Right to make representations X X X
37(4) Access to be given to complainant X X X
43(1) Notice to third party (application to Federal Court for review) X X X
44(2) Notice to applicant (application to Federal Court by third party) X X X
52(2)(b), (3) Special rules for hearings X X X
71(1) Facilities for inspection of manuals X X X
72 Annual report to Parliament X X X
Access to Information Regulations
Delegation Provision Description Position
CA
1
D
2
M
3
6(1) Transfer of request X X X
7(2) Search and preparation fees X X X
7(3) Production and programming fees X X X
8 Method of access X X X
8.1 Limitations in respect of format X X X

Appendix B

Access to Information Act

Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution:
Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada
Reporting period:
2017-04-01 to 2018-03-31

Part 1: Requests Under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of requests

Number of Requests
Description Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 23
Outstanding from previous reporting period 7
Total 30
Closed during reporting period 18
Carried over to next reporting period 12

1.2 Sources of requests

Source Number of Requests
Media 4
Academia 0
Business (private sector) 5
Organization 1
Public 12
Decline to Identify 1
Total 23

1.3 Informal requests

Completion Time
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
11 7 1 0 0 0 0 19

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

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 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
Disclosed in part 0 2 1 1 0 1 0 5
All exempted 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 3
Request transferred 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Request abandoned 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 7 7 1 2 0 1 0 18

2.2 Exemptions

Exemptions
Section Number of Requests
13(1)(a) 0
13(1)(b) 0
13(1)(c) 0
13(1)(d) 0
13(1)(e) 0
14 0
14(a) 0
14(b) 0
15(1) 0
15(1) - I.A. 0
15(1) - Def. 0
15(1) - S.A. 0
16(1)(a)(i) 0
16(1)(a)(ii) 0
16(1)(a)(iii) 0
16(1)(b) 0
16(1)(c) 0
16(1)(d) 0
16(2) 0
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 0
16(2)(c) 0
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 0
18(a) 0
18(b) 0
18(c) 0
18(d) 0
18.1(1)(a) 0
18.1(1)(b) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 6
20(1)(a) 0
20(1)(b) 2
20(1)(b.1) 0
20(1)(c) 2
20(1)(d) 0
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 2
21(1)(b) 2
21(1)(c) 0
21(1)(d) 0
22 0
22.1(1) 0
23 2
24(1) 2
26 0

2.3 Exclusions

Caption text
Section Number of Requests
68(a) 0
68(b) 0
68(c) 0
68.1 0
68.2(a) 0
68.2(b) 0
69(1) 0
69(1)(a) 0
69(1)(b) 0
69(1)(c) 0
69(1)(d) 0
69(1)(e) 0
69(1)(f) 0
69(1)(g) re (a) 0
69(1)(g) re (b) 0
69(1)(g) re (c) 0
69(1)(g) re (d) 0
69(1)(g) re (e) 0
69(1)(g) re (f) 0
69.1(1) 0

2.4 Format of information released

Disposition Paper Electronic Other Formats
All disclosed 0 3 0
Disclosed in part 3 2 0
Total 3 5 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 491 491 3
Disclosed in part 11,196 534 5
All exempted 110 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 2
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0
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 2 72 1 419 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 3 114 1 198 0 0 0 0 1 222
All exempted 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 7 186 3 617 0 0 0 0 1 222
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation Required Assessment of Fees Legal Advice Sought Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 2 0 1 0 3
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 0 1 0 3

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
1 0 0 1 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 0 0
31 to 60 days 0 0 0
61 to 120 days 0 0 0
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 0 1 1

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 0 0
Disclosed in part 1 0 3 0
All exempted 0 0 1 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 4 0

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 0 0 2 0
31 to 60 days 0 0 1 0
61 to 120 days 0 0 1 0
121 to 180 days 1 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 4 0

Part 4: Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of Requests Amount Number of Requests Amount
Application 6 $30 1 $5
Search 0 $0 0 $0
Production 0 $0 0 $0
Programming 0 $0 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0 0 $0
Reproduction 0 $0 0 $0
Total 6 $30 1 $5

Part 5: Consultations Received From Other Institutions and Organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other Government of Canada institutions and organizations

Consultations Other Government of Canada Institutions Number of Pages to Review Other Organizations Number of Pages to Review
Received during reporting period 43 2192 1 11
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 3 19 0 0
Total 46 2211 1 11
Closed during the reporting period 42 2177 1 11
Pending at the end of the reporting period 4 34 0 0

5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other Government of Canada 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 11 18 7 0 0 0 0 36
Disclosed in part 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 4
Exempt entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
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 16 18 7 1 0 0 0 42

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 30 days or less 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 day 181 to 365 days 365 days or more Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
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

Part 6: Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

6.1 Requests with Legal Services

Number of Days Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed 101-500 Pages Processed 501-1000 Pages Processed 1001-5000 Pages Processed More Than 5000
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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

6.2 Requests with Privy Council Office

Number of Days Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed 101-500 Pages Processed 501-1000 Pages Processed 1001-5000 Pages Processed More Than 5000
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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Part 7: Complaints and Investigations

Section 32 Section 35 Section 37 Total
2 0 0 2

Part 8: Court Action

Section 41 Section 42 Section 44 Total
0 0 0 0

Part 9: Resources Related to the Access to Information Act

Expenditures Amount
Salaries $142,845
Overtime $0.0
Goods and Services $4,637
● Professional services contracts $0.0
● Other $4,637
Total $147,482

9.2 Human Resources

Resources Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees 1.58
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 1.58

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

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