Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Privacy Act

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

April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020

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 Privacy Act (the Act) for fiscal year April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

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 fiscal cycle.

The purpose of the Privacy Act is to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a government institution and to provide individuals with a right of access to their information. It also protects the privacy of individuals by exercising strict control over the collection, disclosure and use of such information.

The ATSSC is fully committed to both the spirit and the intent of the Act to foster a culture of openness and transparency while ensuring the privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information held by the organization.

ATSSC Mandate

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

Organizational Structure

The Access to Information and Privacy Office

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office is responsible for administering the Privacy 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 General, Corporate Services Branch, The Director, Planning and Communications Division 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 Division which reports to the Corporate Services Branch. Oversight of the ATIP Office is administered by the Director, Planning and Communications Division. 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.

The ATSSC has not entered into any service agreements under section 73.1 of the Privacy Act during this reporting period.

ATSSC Performance 2019-2020

The ATSSC received a total of 150 formal requests under the Act. With 11 requests carried over from last fiscal year, 160 of the 161 active requests were completed. One request was carried forward into the new fiscal year. The ATSSC responded to 94% (151 requests) of the received requests, within legislative deadlines. A copy of the Statistical Report is included in Appendix B.

In addition to the formal requests, the ATSSC received two consultation requests from other government institutions.

In the last reporting period, the statistics indicate an increase of 900% for formal requests received between 2017-2018 and 2019-2020. This increase in requests received also impacted the volume of requests closed – the ATSSC experienced a 178% increase in requests closed in 2019-2020 compared to 2018-2019 (54 requests vs. 150).

Requests Received

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 two consultation requests from other federal institutions.

Consultation requests received from other government institutions remain consistent from 2017-18 to this reporting period, varying between two and three requests per fiscal year. One consultation was closed within 1-15 days and the second within 16-30 days.

Extensions and Completion Times for Closed Requests

As indicated in the chart below, the ATSSC responded to 112 requests within 1-15 days, 27 requests within 16-30 days and thirteen requests within 31-60 days. A response was provided within 61 to 120 days for seven requests, and the remaining request within 121-180 days. One hundred and fifty-one of the 160 requests were completed within the statutory time frame. The remaining nine requests did not meet the statutory deadline due to workload (three), internal consultations (two) and other (four).

Completion Time

Pursuant to the Privacy Act, requests can be extended beyond the 30-day statutory time frame in three circumstances:

During this reporting period, thirteen files required extension to the legislative deadline to respond to the request. Some of these files required extensions invoked under multiple paragraphs of the Act; this resulted in ATSSC reporting 19 actual extensions invoked on files in the fiscal year. Fifteen extensions were taken under 15(a)(i) (interference with operations) and four extensions were taken under 15(a)(ii) (requiring consultation).

Impact of COVID-19 on ATIP Operations

ATSSC’s ATIP office has been equipped for virtual operations since 2019, with analysts able to work remotely. While the ATSSC is equipped with an electronic records repository, the retrieval of records in response to requests has been challenged by COVID-19. Not all of the records have been digitized and stored in an accessible repository and not all administrative Tribunals are equipped with e-Registry services. At the writing of this Report, no requests were affected.

Training and Awareness

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.

Policies, Guidelines, Procedures and Initiatives

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

Summary of Key Issues and Actions Taken on Complaints or Audits

This reporting period, the ATSSC received eight notices, pursuant to section 31 of the Act, from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) to notify the ATSSC about complaints received against the organization. One complaint related to the format of the records provided; all other complaints related to the application of exemptions on records.

In addition, the ATSSC received findings from the OPC on one complaint, with a well-founded / resolved outcome.

No privacy-related audits were completed during this fiscal year.

Monitoring Compliance

The monitoring of privacy requests was conducted through the case management system, which captures all relevant and necessary information to assess 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.

Material Privacy Breaches

A privacy breach is deemed material if the breach involves sensitive personal information that could reasonably be expected to cause serious injury or harm to the individual, or involves a large number of affected individuals. During this reporting period, the ATSSC did not experience any material privacy breaches.

Privacy Impact Assessments

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) are used to identify the potential privacy risks of new or redesigned federal government activities or services. They also help eliminate or reduce those risks to an acceptable level.

The ATIP Office provided advice to internal stakeholders in response to four cases concerning privacy practices associated with the redesign of activities or services. In all cases, it was recommended to conduct a full PIA.

During this reporting period, no PIAs were completed.

Public Interest Disclosures

Subsection 8(2) of the Act stipulates under which circumstances personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed. Paragraph 8(2)(m) states that disclosure of personal information is permitted for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution, the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or the disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates. During this reporting period, no disclosures were made pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(m) of the Privacy Act.


Appendix A

Privacy Act
Delegation Order

Delegation Order for the purpose of the Privacy Act and Privacy Regulations

The Chief Administrator, pursuant to subsection 73(1) of the Privacy 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 5th day of March, 2020

Original signed by:
Orlando Da Silva
______________________________________
Chief Administrator

Schedule

Powers, duties and functions delegated pursuant to subsection 73(1) of the Privacy Act and the Privacy Regulations

Legend:

CA
Chief Administrator
DG
Director General, Corporate Services
D
Director, Planning and Communications
M
Manager, Access to Information and Privacy
Privacy Act
Provision Description CA DG D M
  DISCLOSURE AND ACCESS        
8(2)(a)-8(2)(l) Permissible Disclosures X X X X
8(2)(m) Disclosure in the public interest or in the interest of the individual X      
8(4) Copies of requests under paragraph 8(2)(e) X X X X
8(5) Notice of disclosure under paragraph 8(2)(m) X X X X
9(1) Record of disclosures X X X X
9(4) Consistent uses X X X X
10 Personal information banks X X X X
14(a) Notice when access requested X X X X
14(b) Giving access to the record X X X X
15 Extension of time limits X X X X
17(2)(b) Language of access X X X X
17(3)(b) Access in an alternative format X X X X
  EXEMPTIONS        
18(2) Exempt banks X X X X
22 Law enforcement and investigations X X X  
22.3 Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act X X X  
23 Security clearances X X X  
24 Individuals sentenced for an offence X X X  
25 Safety of individuals X X X  
26 Information about another individual X X X X
27 Solicitor-client privilege X X X X
28 Medical records X X X X
  OTHER PROVISIONS        
33(2) Right to make representations X X X X
35(1)(b) Notice of actions to implement recommendations of Commissioner X X X X
35(4) Access to be given to complainant X X X X
36(3)(b) Notice of actions to implement recommendations of Commissioner concerning exempt banks X X X X
51(2)(b),51(3) Special rules for hearings X X X X
72 Annual report to Parliament X X X X
Privacy Regulations
Provision Description CA DG D M
7 Retention of personal information requested under paragraph 8(2)(e) X X X X
9 Examination of information X X X X
11(2), 11(4) Notification concerning corrections X X X X
13(1) Disclosure of personal information relating to physical or mental health X X X X
14 Examination in presence of medical practitioner or psychologist X X X X

Appendix B

Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-03-31

Section 1: Requests Under the Privacy Act

1.1 Number of requests
  Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 150
Outstanding from previous reporting period 11
Total 161
Closed during reporting period 160
Carried over to next reporting period 1

Section 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 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 6
Disclosed in part 0 8 9 7 1 0 0 25
All exempted 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 98 16 2 0 0 0 0 116
Request abandoned 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 12
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 112 27 13 7 1 0 0 160
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of Requests
18(2)0
19(1)(a)0
19(1)(b)0
19(1)(c)0
19(1)(d)0
19(1)(e)0
19(1)(f)0
20 0
210
22(1)(a)(i) 0
22(1)(a)(ii)0
22(1)(a)(iii) 0
22(1)(b)7
22(1)(c)0
22(2)0
22.10
22.20
22.30
22.40
23(a)0
23(b)0
24(a)0
24(b) 0
25 0
2619
2717
27.10
28 0
2.3 Exclusions
Section Number of Requests
69(1)(a)0
69(1)(b)0
69.10
70(1)0
70(1)(a)0
70(1)(b)0
70(1)(c)0
70(1)(d)0
70(1)(e)0
70(1)(f)0
70.10
2.4 Format of information released
Paper Electronic Other
1 30 0

2.5 Complexity

2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Number of Pages Processed Number of Pages Disclosed Number of Requests
8005 4134 44
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 5 82 1 378 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 17 792 7 1889 1 993 0 0 0 0
All exempted 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 35 874 8 2267 1 993 0 0 0 0
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation Required Legal Advice Sought Interwoven Information Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 3 3 0 0 6
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 3 3 0 0 6

2.6 Closed requests

2.6.1 Number of requests closed within legislated timelines
  Requests closed within legislated timelines
Number of requests closed within legislated timelines 151
Percentage of requests closed within legislated timelines (%) 94.4

2.7 Deemed refusals

2.7.1 Reasons for not meeting legislated timelines
Number of Requests Closed Past the Legislated Timelines Principal Reason
Interference with Operations / Workload External Consultation Internal Consultation Other
9 3 0 2 4
2.7.2 Requests closed beyond legislated timelines (including any extension taken)
Number of Days Past Legislated Timelines Number of Requests Past Legislated Timeline Where No Extension Was Taken Number of Requests Past Legislated Timeline Where an Extension Was Taken Total
1 to 15 days 1 3 4
16 to 30 days 1 2 3
31 to 60 days 0 0 0
61 to 120 days 1 1 2
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 3 6 9
2.8 Requests for translation
Translation Requests Accepted Refused Total
English to French 0 0 0
French to English 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0

Section 3: Disclosures Under Subsections 8(2) and 8(5)

Paragraph 8(2)(e) Paragraph 8(2)(m) Subsection 8(5) Total
0 0 0 0

Section 4: Requests for Correction of Personal Information and Notations

Disposition for Correction Requests Received Number
Notations attached 0
Requests for correction accepted 0
Total 0

Section 5: Extensions

5.1  Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Number of requests where an extension was taken 15(a)(i) Interference with operations 15 (a)(ii) Consultation 15(b) Translation purposes or conversion
Further review required to determine exemptions Large volume of pages Large volume of requests Documents are difficult to obtain Cabinet Confidence Section (Section 70) External Internal
13 0 7 8 0 0 0 4 0
5.2 Length of extensions
Length of Extensions 15(a)(i) Interference with operations 15 (a)(ii) Consultation 15(b) Translation purposes or conversion
Further review required to determine exemptions Large volume of pages Large volume of requests Documents are difficult to obtain Cabinet Confidence Section (Section 70) External Internal
1 to 15 days 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 days 0 7 8 0 0 0 4 0
31 days or greater               0
Total 0 7 8 0 0 0 4 0

Section 6: Consultations Received From Other Institutions and Organizations

6.1  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 2 22 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 0 0 0 0
Total 2 22 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 2 22 0 0
Carried over to next reporting period 0 0 0 0
6.2 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
All disclosed 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 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 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
6.3 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
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 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

Section 7: Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

7.1 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
7.2 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

Section 8: Complaints and Investigations Notices Received

Section 31 Section 33 Section 35 Court action Total
8 1 1 0 10

Section 9: Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) and Personal Information Banks (PIB)

9.1 Privacy Impact Assessments
Number of PIA(s) completed 0
9.2 Personal Information Banks
Personal Information Banks Active Created Terminated Modified
  46 0 0 0

Section 10: Material Privacy Breaches

Number of material privacy breaches reported to TBS 0
Number of material privacy breaches reported to OPC 0

Section 11: Resources Related to the Privacy Act

11.1  Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $116,873
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $1,556
  • Professional services contracts
$0  
  • Other
$1,556
Total $118,429
11.2  Human Resources
Resources Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees 1.34
Part-time and casual employees 0.12
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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