2018-2019 Annual Report to Parliament - 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

Annex A – Delegation Order

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 (https://www.canada.ca/acoa).

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 processing all access and privacy requests, and for 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, the ATIP Directorate reviewed records prepared in response to 145 written parliamentary questions.

The administration of the legislation within ACOA is also facilitated at the branch and regional 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.

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 (Annex A).

4. Highlights of the Statistical Report

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

Number of requests received and closed

The Agency received 26 requests in 2018-2019. This represents an increase of 30 per cent over the previous period. A total of 16 requests were closed in 2018‑2019. This represents a decrease of approximately 35 per cent over the previous period. Records were disclosed in full in response to five requests and in part in response to eight requests. Paper copies of the records were provided in response to two requests, and electronic records were provided in response to 11 requests. One request was abandoned, all documents were excluded in response to one request, and the Agency had no records for the remaining request.

The following table shows the trend in the number of requests, by source, over the last 10 fiscal years. Approximately 65 per cent of requests received during the reporting period were submitted by requesters who identified themselves as members of the public or media.

Source 2009
-
2010
2010
-
2011
2011
-
2012
2012
-
2013
2013
-
2014
2014
-
2015
2015
-
2016
2016
-
2017
2017
-
2018
2018
-
2019
Media 6 11 28 20 8 7 0 5 5 9
Academia 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 0
Business 6 6 3 4 6 11 11 10 5 4
Organization 4 13 3 2 8 4 3 5 0 1
Public 7 16 4 10 6 18 11 11 12 8
Declined to identify 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Total 23 46 39 36 28 42 25 32 23 26

Exemptions and exclusions

As in the last 10 fiscal years, the three major exemptions invoked were those related to the sections of the Act pertaining to personal information (section 19), third-party information (section 20) and the operations of government (section 21).

Paragraph 68(a) of the Act was invoked to exclude information already in the public domain in response to one request.

Records relevant to requests received this fiscal year did not contain or refer to Cabinet confidences; therefore, no information was excluded under section 69 of the Act.

Complexities

Processing the 13 access requests for which records were disclosed in 2018-2019 involved reviewing 3,411 pages of records. Of those pages, 551 were identified as duplicates, 986 were outside the scope of the requests, 288 were withheld in their entirety, and 1,586 were disclosed in part or in their entirety. The following table provides additional information regarding the pages disclosed.

Number of requests Number of pages processed Total pages disclosed
6 between 1 and 100 pages 148
5 between 101 and 500 pages 1,006
2 between 501 and 1,000 pages 432
0 between 1,001 and 5,000 pages 0

Eight requests required that the Agency initiate consultations, as described below, regarding the disclosure of 699 pages.

Extensions

The statutory time limit to respond to requests was extended nine times, as follows:

Number of requests Length of extension
4 30 days or less
2 31 to 60 days
1 61 to 90 days
2 91 to 120 days

Extensions were taken pursuant to paragraphs:

Legislated timelines

All requests closed in 2018-2019 were closed within the legislated timelines. The following table provides details on the response times for the past 10 years:

Fiscal
year
No. of responses on time / Total
no. of requests
Percentage of responses
provided on time
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%
2018-2019 16/16 100%

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 $65 to cover the application fees for 13 of the 16 requests closed during the reporting period. The Agency waived the fee for one request, and did not collect fees for two requests that were transferred from another institution. The Agency also waived search fees totalling $365 and reproduction fees totalling $311.

Consultations

In 2018-2019, the Agency responded to 46 consultations received from other federal government institutions and provincial governments (a decrease of approximately 50 per cent over the previous reporting period). These consultations involved the review of 656 pages and were completed within the required timelines.

Costs

In 2018-2019, the total cost of administering the Access to Information Act was $188,054. This amount includes $179,569 in salary costs and $8,485 in operations and maintenance costs (e.g. licenses for systems, travel and training). Compared to the previous reporting period, this represents a decrease of $17,542.

5. Training and Awareness Activities

Awareness sessions on the requirements of the Access to Information Act are made available to all employees of the Agency upon request. 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 and 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 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 regarding any matter related to the processing of their request.

Investigations into two complaints related to the same access request were initiated in 2018-2019. The complaints dealt with the exemptions applied to the relevant records and the failure to disclose all records responsive to the request. The investigations are ongoing.

No audits were conducted 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 Institutions: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Reporting period: April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019

Part 1: Requests Under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of requests

  Number of requests
Received during reporting period 26
Outstanding from previous reporting period 0
Total 26
Closed during reporting period 16
Carried over to next reporting period 10

1.2 Sources of requests

Source Number of requests
Media 9
Academia 0
Business (private sector) 4
Organization 1
Public 8
Decline to Identify 4
Total 26

1.3 Informal requests

Completion time of
1 to 15 Days
Completion time of
16 to 30 days
Completion time of
31 to 60 days
Completion time of
61 to 120 days
13 2 0 0

1.3 Informal requests (continued)

Completion time of
121 to 180 days
Completion time of
181 to 365 days
Completion time of more
than 365 days
Total
0 0 0 15

Part 2: Requests Closed During the Reporting Period

2.1 Disposition and completion time

Disposition of
requests
Completion time of
1 to 15 days
Completion time of
16 to 30 days
Completion time of
31 to 60 days
Completion time of
61 to 120 days
All disclosed 1 2 2 0
Disclosed in part 1 0 2 3
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 1 0 0
No records exist 0 1 0 0
Request transferred 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 1 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0
Total 2 5 4 3

2.1 Disposition and completion time (continued)

Disposition of
requests
Completion time of
121 to 180 days
Completion time of
181 to 365 days
Completion time of
more than 365 days
Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 5
Disclosed in part 2 0 0 8
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 1
No records exist 0 0 0 1
Request transferred 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 1
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0
Total 2 0 0 16

2.2 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) - International Affairs 0
15(1) - Defence of Canada 0
15(1) - Subversive Activities 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) 1
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)(c) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 8
20(1)(a) 0
20(1)(b) 6
20(1)(b.1) 0
20(1)(c) 2
20(1)(d) 5
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 3
21(1)(b) 5
21(1)(c) 6
21(1)(d) 0
22 1
22.1(1) 0
23 2
24(1) 0
26 0

2.3 Exclusions

Section Number of requests
68(a) 1
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 5 0
Disclosed in part 2 6 0
Total 2 11 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 953 123 5
Disclosed in part 2,458 1,463 8
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 1
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 less than 100 pages processed Pages
disclosed
Number of requests that had 101 to 500 pages processed Pages
Disclosed
Number of requests that had 501 to 1,000 pages processed Pages
disclosed
All disclosed 4 75 0 0 1 48
Disclosed in part 2 73 5 1,006 1 384
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 1 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 1 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 8 148 5 1,006 2 432

2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests (continued)

Disposition Number of requests that had 1,001-5,000 Pages Processed Pages
Disclosed
More Than 5,000 Pages Processed Number of Requests Pages
Disclosed
All disclosed 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 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 0 0 0 0

2.5.3 Other complexities

Disposition Consultation
Required
Assessment of
Fees
Legal Advice
Sought
Other Total
All disclosed 3 0 0 0 3
Disclosed in part 5 0 0 0 5
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 8 0 0 0 8

2.6 Deemed refusals

2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline

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 was the principal reason
0 0 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 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 0 0

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 -
Section 69
9(1)(b)
Consultation -
Other
9(1)(c) Third-
Party Notice
All disclosed 0 0 1 1
Disclosed in part 0 0 3 4
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 1 0 0 0
Total 1 0 4 5

3.2 Length of extensions

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 1 0 2 2
31 to 60 days 0 0 2 0
61 to 120 days 0 0 0 3
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 1 0 4 5

Part 4: Fees

Fee Type Number of
Requests
Amount of fee
collected
Number of
Requests
Amount of Fee
Waived or
Refunded
Application 13 $65.00 1 $5.00
Search 0 $0.00 9 $365.00
Production 0 $0.00 0 $0
Programming 0 $0.00 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0.00 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0.00 0 $0
Reproduction 0 $0.00 11 $311.00
Total 13 $65.00 21 $681.00

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 42 555 4 98
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 1 3 0 0
Total 43 558 4 98
Closed during the reporting period 43 558 4 98
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 1 to 15 days required to
complete consultation
requests
16 to 30 days required to
complete consultation
requests
31 to 60 days required to
complete consultation
requests
61 to 120 days required to
complete consultation
requests
Disclose entirely 31 0 0 0
Disclose in part 9 0 1 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 1 0 0 0
Other 1 0 0 0
Total 42 0 1 0

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

Recommendation 121 to 180 days required to
complete consultation
requests
181 to 365 days required to
complete consultation
requests
More Than 365 days required to
complete consultation
requests
Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 31
Disclose in part 0 0 0 10
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 1
Other 0 0 0 1
Total 0 0 0 43

5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations

Recommendation 1 to 15 days required to
complete consultation
requests
16 to 30 days required to
complete consultation
requests
31 to 60 days required to
complete consultation
requests
61 to 120 days required to
complete consultation
requests
Disclose entirely 1 0 0 0
Disclose in part 2 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0
Other 1 0 0 0
Total 4 0 0 0

5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations (continued)

Recommendation 121 to 180 days required to
complete consultation
requests
181 to 365 days required to
complete consultation
requests
More Than 365 days required to
complete consultation
requests
Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 1
Disclose in part 0 0 0 2
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 1
Total 0 0 0 4

Part 6: Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

6.1 Requests with Legal Services

Number of
Days
Number of requests that had fewer than 100 pages processed Pages
disclosed
Number of requests that had 101-500 pages processed Pages
disclosed
Number of requests that had 501-1,000 pages processed Pages
disclosed
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0

6.1 Requests with Legal Services (continued)

Number
of Days
Number of requests that had 1,001-5,000 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 fewer than 100 pages processed Pages
Disclosed
Number of requests that had 101‒500 pages processed Pages
Disclosed
Number of requests that had 501-1,000 Pages Processed Pages
Disclosed
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0

6.2 Requests with Privy Council Office (continued)

Number
of Days
Number of requests that had 1,001-5,000 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 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

9.1 Costs

Expenditures Amount
Salaries $179,569.00
Overtime $0.00
Goods and Services (Other) $8,485.00
Total $188,054.00

9.2 Human Resources

Resources Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees 2.20
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 2.20
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