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

   2015-2016 The Access to Information Act (PDF)

April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. About the ATSSC
  3. The Access to Information and Privacy Office
  4. ATSSC Statistical Overview
  5. Sources of Requests
  6. Disposition of Completed Requests
  7. Exemptions Invoked
  8. Extensions and Completion Time
  9. Consultations
  10. Training Activities
  11. Policies, Guidelines and Procedures
  12. Complaints
  13. Monitoring

1. 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, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

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 during the organization’s first full fiscal cycle.

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 government information and is not intended to limit in any way access to the type of government information that is normally available to the general 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.

2. About the ATSSC

The Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC) was established on November 1, 2014, with the coming into force 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 by each tribunal (e.g., registry, research and analysis, legal and other case- and mandate-specific work), as well as corporate services (e.g., human resources, financial services, information technology, accommodations, and security).

The administrative tribunals served 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 Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal;
  • the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board;
  • the Specific Claims Tribunal;
  • the Social Security Tribunal of 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 ATSSC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Justice.

3. 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 Designation Order signed by the Chief Administrator. The Executive Secretary and the ATIP Manager have been delegated authorities as described in the Designation Order included in Appendix A.

Within the ATSSC’s organizational structure, the ATIP Office reports to the Executive Secretary’s Office, which is under the direction of the Chief Administrator. Oversight of the ATIP Office is administered by the Executive Secretary. The ATIP Office consists of the manager, one analyst and one administrative assistant 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, and provides expert advice and guidance to senior management and ATSSC staff on the Act.

4. ATSSC Statistical Overview

The ATSSC received a total of 37 formal requests under the Act. With 1 request carried over from last fiscal year, 32 of the 38 active requests were completed. Six (6) requests were carried forward into the new fiscal year.

In addition to the formal requests, the ATSSC received 25 consultations from other federal institutions and 8 informal requests. A copy of the Statistical Report is included in Appendix B.

5. Sources of Requests

Of the requests that were received this reporting period, 9 requests were submitted by the general public and 15 requests were submitted by the media. Requests were also received from academia (2), businesses (3) and organizations (8).

6. Disposition of Completed Requests

During this reporting period, the ATSSC completed 32 requests under the Act, 15 of which resulted in a partial release. In 4 cases, the information sought was released in full. No records existed in 7 cases. The remaining 6 requests were abandoned.

7. 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 32 requests completed, exemptions to withhold information were invoked in 16 cases. The most frequently applied exemption was subsection 19(1) (records containing personal information) that was invoked in 13 cases.

8. Extensions and Completion Time

Requests can be extended beyond the 30-day statutory time frame in three circumstances: when 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); when consultations are necessary (paragraph 9(1)(b) of the Act); or where 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 11 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 2 cases, an extension was taken under paragraph 9(1)(b) as consultations with other institutions were required.

The ATSSC responded to 2 requests within 1 to 15 days, 9 requests within 16 to 30 days, and 10 requests within 31 to 60 days. Eleven (11) requests required over 61 days to complete. Of the 32 requests completed during this reporting period, 91% were completed within the statutory time frame.

9. 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 25 consultation requests from other federal institutions.

10. Training Activities

Ongoing access to information 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. No structured training activities were provided during this reporting period. A training plan will be developed in the next fiscal year.

11. Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

The ATSSC is guided by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) access to information and privacy policy and guidance instruments. During this reporting period, the ATIP Office established a process map, procured an ATIP case management and document redaction system and created an inventory of reference materials.

12. Complaints

This reporting period, 4 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 reasons for the 4 complaints were: the transfer of a request to another institution; the application of exemptions; the delay in responding to the request; and the non-existence of records.

The OIC completed its investigation into 1 complaint against the ATSSC that was filed in the previous reporting period. The complainant alleged that the ATSSC failed to provide all responsive records. The OIC’s findings concluded that the complaint was not well founded. At the end of the fiscal year, 4 complaints were ongoing.

13. Monitoring

The monitoring of access to information requests was conducted via a detailed spreadsheet containing all relevant and necessary information to ensure compliance with the legislated requirements and reporting obligations. The spreadsheet was updated as new requests were received or the status of a file was changed. Weekly meetings between the ATIP Manager and the Executive Secretary to discuss workload and priorities also assisted the ATSSC in meeting its statutory obligations.


Appendix A

Access to Information Act
Designation Order

Access to Information Act
Designation Order

BY THIS ORDER made pursuant to section 73* of the Access to Information Act, I hereby designate the persons holding the positions set out in Schedule A, or the person occupying the position on an acting basis, to exercise the powers, duties and functions of the Chief Administrator, as the head of the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada, under the provisions of the Act and related regulations, as specified in Schedule B, effective from November 1, 2014.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Dated, at the City of Ottawa, this 3rd day of November, 2014.

*R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1

Original signed by
Marie-France Pelletier
______________________________________
NAME∕NOM
Chief Administrator

SCHEDULE A

Position:

Chief Administrator
Executive Secretary
Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Manager

SCHEDULE B

Access to Information Act
Designation Order

"F" = Full Authority
"N" = No Authority. Authority to be obtained from the next level up.

Item # DESCRIPTION OF AUTHORITY ATIA SECTION CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ATIP MANAGER
ACCESS
1. Responsibility of government institutions 4(2.1) F F F
2. Notify where access granted/refused 7(a) & (b) F F F
3. Transfer request 8(1) F F F
4. Extend time limits 9(1) F F F
5. Notify Information Commissioner of extension of time limits 9(2) F F F
6. Notify where access refused 10(1)(a) & (b) F F F
7. Require reproduction fees 11(1) F F F
8. Require search fees 11(2) F F F
9. Require fees for machine readable records 11(3) F F F
10. Require deposit 11(4) F F F
11. Notify of fee payment requirement 11(5) F F F
12. Waive or refund of fees 11(6) F F F
13. Obtain/Provide translation or not 12(2)(b) F F F
14. Obtain/Provide alternative format or not 12(3)(b) F F F
EXEMPTIONS
15. Refuse access – Confidential information 13(1)(a) to (e) F F N
16. Disclose confidential information 13(2)(a) & (b) F F N
17. Refuse access – Federal provincial affairs 14(a) & (b) F F N
18. Refuse access – International affairs and defence 15(1)(a) to (i) F F N
19. Refuse access – Law enforcement and investigations 16(1)(a) to (d) F F N
20. Refuse access – Security information 16(2)(a) to (c) F F N
21. Refuse access – Personal information received from RCMP acting as a provincial or municipal entity 16(3) F F N
22. Refuse access - Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act 16.5 F F N
23. Refuse access – Safety of individuals 17 F F N
24. Refuse access – Economic interests of Canada 18(a) to (d)(vi) F F N
25. Refuse access – Economic interest of the Canada Post Corporation, Export Development Canada, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and VIA Rail Canada Inc. 18.1 F F N
26. Refuse access – Another individual’s personal information 19(1) F F F
27. Disclose personal information 19(2)(a) to (c) F F F
28. Refuse access – Third party information 20(1)(a) to (d) F F N
29. Disclose testing methods 20(3) F F F
30. Disclose third party information on consent 20(5) F F F
31. Disclose in public interest 20(6) F F N
32. Refuse access – Advice, plans, etc. 21(1)(a) to (d) F F F
33. Refuse access – Tests for audits 22 F F F
34. Refuse access – Draft report 22.1(1) F F F
35. Disclose draft report 22.1(2) F F F
36. Refuse access – Solicitor-client privilege 23 F F F
37. Refuse access – Restricted information 24(1) F F F
38. Disclose severed information 25 F F F
39. Refuse access – Published information 26 F F F
THIRD PARTIES
40. Notify third parties 27(1)(a) to (c) F F F
41. Extend time for notice 27(4) F F F
42. Notify third party regarding disclosure 28(1)(b) F F F
43. Waive written representation from third party 28(2) F F F
44. Disclose after notice to third party 28(4) F F F
45. Disclose on Information Commissioner’s recommendation 29(1)(a) & (b) F F F
COMPLAINTS
46. Advise Information Commissioner of third party notice 33 F F F
47. Make representation to Information Commissioner 35(2)(b) F F F
48. Respond to Information Commissioner's request to disclose information previously exempted 37(1)(b) F F F
49. Give access to complainant 37(4) F F F
50. Notify third party of Court action 43(1) F F F
51. Notify applicant of Court action 44(2) F F F
52. Request Court hearing be in National Capital Region 52(2)(b) F F F
53. Make Ex Parte representations to Court 52(3) F F F
EXCLUSIONS
54. Refuse access – Excluded information 69 F F F
OTHER
55. Provide facilities to review manuals 71(1) F F F
56. Refuse access – Information severed from manuals based on exemptions/exclusions 71(2) F F F
57. Prepare annual report to Parliament 72(1) F F F
58. Delegate authority by Head of institution 73 F N/A N/A

Access to Information Regulations
Designation Order

Item # DESCRIPTION OF AUTHORITY ATI REGULATIONS SECTION CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ATIP MANAGER
1. Transfer of request 6(1) F F F
2. Search and preparation fees 7(2) F F F
3. Production and programming fees 7(3) F F F
4. Require access to records by examination 8 F F F
5. Limitations in respect of format 8.1 F F F

APPENDIX B

Access to Information Act
Statistical Report

Name of institution: Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada

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

Part 1: Requests Under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of requests

  Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 37
Outstanding from previous reporting period 1
Total 38
Closed during reporting period 32
Carried over to next reporting period 6

1.2 Sources of requests

Source Number of Requests
Media 15
Academia 2
Business (private sector) 3
Organization 8
Public 9
Decline to Identify 0
Total 37

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
5 3 0 0 0 0 0 8

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 2 2 0 0 0 0 4
Disclosed in part 0 3 3 4 1 4 0 15
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 7
Request transferred 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 6
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 9 10 6 1 4 0 32

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) 6 18(a) 0 20.1 0
13(1)(b) 0 16(2)(a) 0 18(b) 0 20.2 0
13(1)(c) 0 16(2)(b) 0 18(c) 0 20.4 0
13(1)(d) 0 16(2)(c) 1 18(d) 0 21(1)(a) 4
13(1)(e) 0 16(3) 0 18.1(1)(a) 0 21(1)(b) 4
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) 2
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) 13 22.1(1) 0
15(1) - I.A.* 0 16.2(1) 0 20(1)(a) 0 23 0
15(1) - Def.* 0 16.3 0 20(1)(b) 0 24(1) 1
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) 0    
16(1)(a)(ii) 0 16.5 0 20(1)(d) 0    
16(1)(a)(iii) 0 17 0        
16(1)(b) 0            
16(1)(c) 0            
16(1)(d) 0            

* I.A.: International Affairs
Def.: 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 4 0 0
Disclosed in part 9 6 0
Total 13 6 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 149 149 4
Disclosed in part 4352 4331 15
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 143 143 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 4 149 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 7 223 6 1996 1 810 1 1302 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 5 0 1 143 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 16 372 7 2139 1 810 1 1302 0 0
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation Required Assessment of Fees Legal Advice Sought Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 1 1
Disclosed in part 2 0 4 5 11
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 1 1
Neither confirmed nor 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 0 4 7 13

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
3 0 1 2 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 1 1
121 to 180 days 0 1 1
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 0 3 3

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 10 0 2 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0
Total 11 0 2 0

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 4 0 1 0
31 to 60 days 3 0 1 0
61 to 120 days 1 0 0 0
121 to 180 days 1 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 2 0 0 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 11 0 2 0

Part 4: Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of Requests Amount Number of Requests Amount
Application 25 $125 5 $25
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 25 $125 5 $25

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 25 446 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 0 0 0 0
Total 25 446 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 25 446 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 10 4 1 0 0 0 0 15
Disclose in part 6 3 1 0 0 0 0 10
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 16 7 2 0 0 0 0 25

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
4 0 1 5

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 $159,044
Overtime $1,347
Goods and Services $16,900
  • Professional services contracts
$0  
  • Other
$16,900
Total $177,291

9.2 Human Resources

Resources Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees 1.72
Part-time and casual employees 0.36
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 2.08

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

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