2017-2018 Annual Report on the Access to Information Act

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Organizational Structure
  3. Delegation of Authority
  4. Highlights of the Statistical Report
  5. Training and Awareness Activities
  6. Policies, Guidelines, Procedures and Initiatives
  7. Complaints and Audits
  8. Monitoring
  9. Annex A – Delegation Order 
  10. Annex B – Statistical Report

Report on the Access to Information Act

  1. Introduction

The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents and any individual or corporation present in Canada the right of access to records under the control of a government institution, subject to limited and specific exceptions. The Act further provides that decisions on the non-disclosure of information can be reviewed independently of government.

This report is prepared in accordance with section 72 of the Act, which requires that the head of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) prepare, for tabling in Parliament, an annual report on the administration of the Act. This report will be published on ACOA’s website.

ACOA’s mandate is to increase opportunity for economic development in Atlantic Canada and, more particularly, to enhance the growth of earned incomes and employment opportunities in that region. Additional information is available on ACOA’s website (http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/Eng/Pages/Home.aspx).

2. Organizational Structure

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Directorate oversees the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It consists of a director (ATIP coordinator) and one support staff member located at ACOA’s head office in Moncton, N.B. The ATIP coordinator is responsible for the processing of all access and privacy requests as well as the development, coordination and implementation of effective policies, guidelines and procedures to manage the Agency’s compliance with the ATIP acts.

The ATIP coordinator also reviews various documents before publication to ensure that they do not contain information that would be subject to exemption or exclusion under the acts. During this reporting period, records prepared in response to 89 written parliamentary questions were reviewed.

The administration of the legislation within ACOA is also facilitated at the branch and regional office levels. Each sector and corporate branch has a liaison officer (generally reporting to the deputy minister or an assistant deputy minister), who coordinates the records-retrieval process. In addition, a casual employee was hired for two months and an ACOA employee was assigned to the ATIP Directorate for approximately three months to assist with the workload in 2017-2018.

3. Delegation of Authority

For the purpose of the Access to Information Act, the President delegated full authority to the vice-president, Finance and Corporate Services and Corporate Secretary, and partial authority to the ATIP coordinator.

A copy of the signed delegation instrument for the Access to Information Act is attached in Annex A.

4. Highlights of the Statistical Report

The following is provided to assist the reader in interpreting the information reported in Annex B.

Number of requests received and closed

The Agency received 20 requests in 2017-2018. This represents a decrease of 39 per cent over the previous period. A total of 23 requests were closed in 2017‑2018, three of which were reported from the previous period. This represents a decrease of approximately 27 per cent over the previous period. Records were disclosed in full in response to one request and in part in response to 19 requests. Paper copies of the records were provided in response to 13 requests, and electronic versions of the records were provided in response to 7 requests. One request was abandoned, and the Agency had no records for the remaining two requests.

The following table shows the trend in the number of requests closed, by source, over the last ten fiscal years. Over 50 per cent of the requests closed during the reporting period were submitted by requesters who identified themselves as members of the public when submitting their request.

Number of requests Number of pages processed Total pages disclosed
7 between 1 and 100 pages 255
7 between 101 and 500 pages 1,195
0 between 501 and 1,000 pages 0
6 between 1,001 and 5,000 pages 4,892

Fourteen requests required that the Agency initiate consultations, as described below, regarding the disclosure of 4,876 pages.

Extensions

The statutory time limit to respond was extended for 18 access requests, as follows:

Fiscal year No. of responses on time / Total No. of requests Percentage of responses provided on time
2008-2009 18/37 49%
2009-2010 17/23 74%
2010-2011 27/46 59%
2011-2012 19/39 49%
2012-2013 22/36 61%
2013-2014 16/28 57%
2014-2015 36/42 86%
2015-2016 20/25 80%
2016-2017 29/32 91%
2017-2018 19/23 83%

Fees

The Access to Information Act authorizes the collection of a $5 application fee. Other fees could have been applied as specified in the Access to Information Regulations.

The Agency collected a total of $95 to cover the application fees for 19 of the 23 requests closed during the reporting period. The Agency waived the fee for two requests, and no application fees were collected for an abandoned request and for a request that was transferred from another institution. The Agency also waived search fees totalling $1,207 and reproduction fees totalling $1,253.

Consultations

In 2017-2018, the Agency responded to a total of 90 consultations received from other federal government institutions and provincial governments (an increase of 75 per cent over the previous reporting period). The consultations involved the review of 1,185 pages. Only three responses were late: one by 1 day, one by 3 days and the other one by 5 days because of the time required to consult the office of primary interest.

Costs

In 2017-2018, the total cost of administering the Access to Information Act was $205,596. This amount includes $197,465 in salary costs and $8,131 in operations and maintenance costs (licenses for systems, travel, training, etc.).

Compared to the previous reporting period, this represents an increase of $24,320 to cover salary costs for temporary ATIP staff to assist with the workload and salary increases in accordance with the new collective agreement. A decrease of $5,743 in administrative costs is related to a reduction in travel.

5. Training and Awareness Activities

Awareness sessions on the requirements of the Access to Information Act are made available upon request to all employees of the Agency. No formal sessions were provided during the fiscal year.

Many informal briefings were provided to Agency employees who requested information on the requirements of the Act during the reporting period.

6. Policies, Guidelines, Procedures amd Initiatives 

In accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Interim Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act, which took effect on May 5, 2016, the Agency continues to waive all fees prescribed by the Act and Regulations other than the application fee.

The Agency did not implement any other new or revised access to information policies, guidelines or procedures during the reporting period.

7. Complaints and Audits

Requesters may register a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) regarding any matter related to the processing of their request.

An investigation into a complaint regarding the extension taken to process a request received in 2017-2018 was closed in December 2017 with no further action required by the Agency. There are no outstanding complaints.

No audits were concluded during the reporting period.

8. Monitoring

No monitoring was conducted during the reporting period.

Annex A

The Access to Information Act Delegation Order

Pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act, the President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency hereby designates the persons holding the positions identified in the Delegation Instrument to exercise or perform any of the powers, duties or functions of the President as the head of the government institution under this Act.

Original signed by the President for the purpose of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act on July 24, 2017.

Access to Information Act Delegation Instrument

The Vice-President of Finance and Corporate Services and Corporate Secretary has been delegated responsibility for the following sections of the Act:

4(2.1) Responsibility of government institution

7(a) Notice where access requested

7(b) Giving access to record

8(1) Transfer of request to another institution

9 Extension of time limits

11(2), (3), (4), (5), (6) Additional fees

12(2)(b) Language of access

12(3)(b) Access in an alternative format

13 Exemption - Information obtained in confidence

14 Exemption - Federal-Provincial affairs

15 Exemption - International affairs and defence

16 Exemption - Law enforcement and investigations

17 Exemption - Safety of individuals

18 Exemption - Economic interests of Canada

19 Exemption - Personal information

20 Exemption ‑ Third party information

21 Exemption ‑ Advice

22 Exemption ‑ Testing procedures, tests and audits

23 Exemption ‑ Solicitor/client privilege

24 Exemption ‑ Statutory prohibitions

25 Severability

26 Exception - Information to be published

27(1), (4) Third party notification

28(1)(b), (2), (4) Third party notification

29(1) Where the Information Commissioner recommends disclosure

33 Advising the Information Commissioner of third‑party involvement

35(2)(b) Right to make representations

37(4) Access to be given to complainant

43(1) Notice to third party (application to Federal Court for review)

44(2) Notice to applicant (application to Federal Court by third party)

52(2)(b), (3) Special rules for hearings

71(1) Facilities for inspection of manuals

72 Annual report to Parliament

Sections of the Access to Information Regulations

6(1) Transfer of request

7(2) Search and preparation fees

7(3) Production and programming fees

8 Providing access to record(s)

8.1 Limitations in respect of format


The Director/Coordinator of Access to Information and Privacy has been delegated responsibility for the following sections of the Act:

4(2.1) Responsibility of government institution

7(a) Notice where access requested

8(1) Transfer of request to another institution

9 Extension of time limits

11(2), (3), (4), (5), (6) Additional fees

12(2)(b) Language of access

12(3)(b) Access in an alternative format

27(1), (4) Third party notification

28(1)(b), (2), (4) Third party notification

29(1) Where the Information Commissioner recommends disclosure

33 Advising the Information Commissioner of third-party involvement

35(2)(b) Right to make representations

43(1) Notice to third party (application to Federal Court for review)

44(2) Notice to applicant (application to Federal Court by third party)

52(2)(b), (3) Special rules for hearings 

71(1) Facilities for inspection of manuals

72 Annual report to Parliament

Sections of the Access to Information Regulations

6(1) Transfer of request

7(2) Search and preparation fees

7(3) Production and programming fees

8.1 Limitations in respect of format

Annex B

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of Institution: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Reporting period: April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018

Part 1: Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of requests

Source Number of requests
Media 3
Academia 1
Business (private sector) 5
Organization 0
Public 11
Decline to Identify 0
Total 20

1.3 Informal requests

Completion time of 121 to 180 days Completion time of 181 to 36 days Completion time of more than 365 days Total
0 0 0 18

Part 2: Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time

Disposition of requests 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 days Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 1
Disclosed in part 2 3 0 19
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 2
Request transferred 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 1
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0
Total 2 3 0 23

2.2 Exemptions

Section Number of requests
68(a) 3
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 of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requests
All disclosed 2 2 1
Disclosed in part 14,965 6,340 19
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 1
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0

2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests

Disposition Number of requests that had 1,001 to 5,000 pages processed Pages disclosed Number of requests that had more than 5,000 pages processed Pages disclosed
All disclosed 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 6 4,892 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0
Total 6 4,892 0 0

2.5.3 Other complexities

Number of requests closed past the statutory deadline Workload was the principal reason External consultation was the principal reason Internal consultation was the principal reason Other
4 2 2 0 0

2.6.2 Number of days past deadline

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

Length of extensions 9(1)(a) Interference with operations 9(1)(b) Consultation - section 69 9(1)(b) Consultation‑ other 9(1)(c) Third-party notice
30 days or less 3 0 10 2
31 to 60 days 11 0 0 3
61 to 120 days 0 0 2 0
121 to 180 days 1 0 0 2
181 to 365 days 0 0 0 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 15 0 12 7

Part 4: Fees

Consultations Other Government of Canada institutions Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period 89 1,176 1 4
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 1 12 0 0
Total 90 1,188 1 4
Closed during the reporting period 89 1,185 1 4
Pending at the end of the reporting period 1 3 0 0

5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other Government of Canada institutions

Recommendation 121 to 180 days were required to complete consultation requests 181 to 365 days were required to complete consultation requests More than 365 days were required to complete consultation requests Total number of consultations
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 42
Disclose in part 0 0 0 47
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 89

5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations

Recommendation 121 to 180 days were required to complete consultation requests 181 to 365 days were required to complete consultation requests More than 365 days were required to complete consultation requests Total number of consultations
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 1
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 1

Part 6: Completion time of consultations on Cabinet Confidences

6.1 Requests with Legal Services

Number of Days Number of Requests that had 1,001 to 5,000 pages processed Pages disclosed Number of Requests that had more than 5,000 pages processed Pages disclosed
1 to 15 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0

6.2 Requests with Privy Council Office

Number of Days Number of Requests that had 1,001 to 5,000 pages processed Pages disclosed Number of Requests that had more than 5,000 pages processed Pages disclosed
1 to 15 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0

Part 7: Complaints and Investigations

Section 41 Section 42 Section 44 Total
0 0 0 0

Part 9: Resources related to the Access to Information Act

9.1 Costs

Resources Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees 2.30
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 2.30
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