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, 2018 to March 31, 2019

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 April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

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 November 1, 2014, 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 Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal;
  • the Canada Industrial Relations Board;
  • the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board;
  • the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
  • the Canadian International Trade Tribunal;
  • the Competition Tribunal;
  • the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board;
  • the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal;
  • the Social Security Tribunal of Canada;
  • the Specific Claims Tribunal Canada; and
  • the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada.

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 45 formal requests under the Act. With eight requests carried over from last fiscal year, 44 of the 53 active requests were completed. Nine requests were carried forward into the new fiscal year.

In addition to the formal requests, the ATSSC received 31 consultations from other federal institutions and other organizations as well as 13 informal requests. A copy of the Statistical Report is included in Appendix B.

In the last three reporting periods, the statistics indicate increases of 150% for formal requests and 15% for consultation requests received. The ATSSC also noted a 24% decrease for informal requests.

The overall volume of requests has increased by 44% from 62 requests in 2016-17 to 89 requests in this reporting period.

Sources of Requests

Of the 44 requests that were received this reporting period, 23 requests were submitted by the general public and 12 requests were submitted by the media. Requests were also received from businesses (two) and organizations (one). Seven applicants declined to identify.

Disposition of Completed Requests

During this reporting period, the ATSSC completed 44 requests under the Act, five of which resulted in a full release. The information sought was released in part in 13 cases and withheld entirely in four cases. No records existed in 14 cases. The remaining eight requests were transferred (two) and abandoned (six).

Exemptions Invoked

The Access to Information Act 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 44 requests completed, exemptions to withhold information were invoked in 19 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 18 cases.

Statistics relating to the application of three new exemptions added to the Access to Information Act follow:

Access to Information Act
Section Number of requests
16.31 Investigation under the Elections Act 0
16.6 National Security and Intelligence Committee 0
23.1 Patent or Trademark privilege 0

Extensions and Completion Time

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

  • the request is for a large number of records or necessitates a search through a large number of records (paragraph 9(1)(a) of the Act);
  • consultations are necessary (paragraph 9(1)(b) of the Act); or
  • the request requires giving notice to a third party (paragraph 9(1)(c) of the Act).

During this reporting period, an extension under paragraph 9(1)(a) of the Act was taken in eight cases because the request was for a large number of records or meeting the original time limit would have unreasonably interfered with the operations of the ATSSC. In six cases, an extension was taken under paragraph 9(1)(b) as consultations were required within the ATSSC and with other institutions. Additionally, an extension under paragraph 9(1)(c) was taken in two cases as consultations with third parties were required.

The ATSSC responded to 12 requests within one to 15 days, 11 requests within 16 to 30 days, and eight requests within 31 to 60 days. Nine requests required 61 to 120 days to complete, one required 121 to 180 days and three requests required 181 to 365 days to complete. Of the 44 requests completed during this reporting period, 38 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. In addition to the four consultation requests carried over from the previous reporting period, the ATSSC received 31 consultation requests from other federal institutions and other organizations. Of the 35 requests completed, the ATSSC recommended full disclosure of the records in 29 cases and a partial release in five cases. In one case, the consultation request was abandoned by the consulting institution.

Fees

In accordance with section 20 of the Service Fees Act, the ATSSC must report annually to Parliament on the fees collected by the institution. The Access to Information Act and Regulations set out the fees which may be collected for the purposes of processing requests.

As per the Interim Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act, issued on May 5, 2016, the ATSSC waives all fees prescribed by the Act and Regulations, other than the $5 application fee in paragraph 7(1)(a) of the Regulations. No requests necessitated a fee waiver during this reporting period.

During the reporting period, of the 45 requests received, the ATSSC collected the $5 application fee in 13 cases. This represents a total revenue of $65. Additionally, application fees were waived for 32 requests. The total operating cost for the ATSSC’s ATIP Office during this fiscal year was $141,916.

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.

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 one awareness session and one open-house event to ATSSC employees. Approximately 50 individuals participated in these information activities which represents approximately ten percent 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, no complaints were filed with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) against the ATSSC regarding the processing of access to information requests.

The OIC completed its investigation into one existing complaint against the ATSSC. In this case, the complainant alleged that the ATSSC failed to provide all responsive records. The OIC’s finding concluded that the complaint was well-founded. At the end of the fiscal year, three 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 ATIP analyst as well as 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
Designation 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

Legend:

CA Chief Administrator
D Director, Planning and Communications
M Manager, Access to Information and Privacy
Access to Information Act Position
Delegation CA D M
Provision Description 1 2 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  
19 Personal information X X X
20 Third party information 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
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

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution:
Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada
Reporting period:
2018-04-01 to 2019-03-31

Part 1: Requests Under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of requests
  Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 45
Outstanding from previous reporting period 8
Total 53
Closed during reporting period 44
Carried over to next reporting period 9
1.2 Sources of requests
Source Number of Requests
Media 12
Academia 0
Business (private sector) 2
Organization 1
Public 23
Decline to Identify 7
Total 45
1.3 Informal 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
10 2 1 0 0 0 0 13

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

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 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 5
Disclosed in part 0 3 4 4 1 1 0 13
All exempted 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 6 7 0 1 0 0 0 14
Request transferred 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Request abandoned 3 1 0 0 0 2 0 6
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 12 11 8 9 1 3 0 44
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of Requests Section Number of Requests Section Number of Requests Section Number of Requests
13(1)(a) 0 16(2) 0 18(a) 0 20.1 0
13(1)(b) 0 16(2)(a) 0 18(b) 1 20.2 0
13(1)(c) 0 16(2)(b) 0 18(c) 0 20.4 0
13(1)(d) 0 16(2)(c) 0 18(d) 0 21(1)(a) 1
13(1)(e) 0 16(3) 0 18.1(1)(a) 0 21(1)(b) 3
14 0 16.1(1)(a) 0 18.1(1)(b) 0 21(1)(c) 0
14(a) 0 16.1(1)(b) 0 18.1(1)(c) 0 21(1)(d) 0
14(b) 0 16.1(1)(c) 0 18.1(1)(d) 0 22 0
15(1) 0 16.1(1)(d) 0 19(1) 18 22.1(1) 0
15(1) - I.A.* 0 16.2(1) 0 20(1)(a) 0 23 5
15(1) - Def.* 0 16.3 0 20(1)(b) 7 24(1) 5
15(1) - S.A.* 0 16.4(1)(a) 0 20(1)(b.1) 0 26 0
16(1)(a)(i) 0 16.4(1)(b) 0 20(1)(c) 7    
16(1)(a)(ii) 0 16.5 0 20(1)(d) 1    
16(1)(a)(iii) 0 17 0        
16(1)(b) 0            
16(1)(c) 0            
16(1)(c) 0 * I.A.: International AffairsDef.: Defence of Canada S.A.: Subversive Activities
2.3 Exclusions
Section Number of Requests Section Number of Requests Section Number of Requests
68(a) 0 69(1) 0 69(1)(g) re (a) 0
68(b) 0 69(1)(a) 0 69(1)(g) re (b) 0
68(c) 0 69(1)(b) 0 69(1)(g) re (c) 0
68.1 0 69(1)(c) 0 69(1)(g) re (d) 0
68.2(a) 0 69(1)(d) 0 69(1)(g) re (e) 0
68.2(b) 0 69(1)(e) 0 69(1)(g) re (f) 0
    69(1)(f) 0 69.1(1) 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other Formats
All disclosed 2 3 0
Disclosed in part 2 11 0
Total 4 14 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 445 426 5
Disclosed in part 2298 1958 13
All exempted 9534 0 4
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 4299 0 6
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 3 2 2 424 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 9 197 3 596 0 0 1 1165 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 16 199 5 1020 1 0 5 1165 1 0
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 4 0 0 0 4
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 1 0 0 0 1
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 5 0 0 0 5
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
6 6 0 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 1 1
31 to 60 days 1 0 1
61 to 120 days 0 4 4
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 1 5 6
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 1 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 1 0 3 2
All exempted 4 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 1 0
Request abandoned 2 0 2 0
Total 8 0 6 2
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 6 0 2 0
31 to 60 days 2 0 2 2
61 to 120 days 0 0 2 0
121 to 180 days 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 8 0 6 2

Part 4: Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of Requests Amount Number of Requests Amount
Application 13 $65 32 $160
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 13 $65 32 $160

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 31 475 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 4 34 0 0
Total 35 509 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 35 509 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 0 0 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 20 7 2 0 0 0 0 29
Disclose in part 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
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 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Total 23 9 2 0 1 0 0 35
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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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 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
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 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
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
1 0 1 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

9.1  Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $138,443
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $3,473
  • Professional services contracts
$0  
  • Other
$3,473
Total $141,916
9.2  Human Resources
Resources Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees 1.46
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 1.46

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

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