Policies, guidelines, procedures and reporting

Policy framework

Environment Canada’s privacy policy framework was approved in November 2012.

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Environment and Climate Change Canada finalized and published departmental guidance on the collection, use and disclosure of the Social Insurance Number. This guidance document provides Environment and Climate Change Canada employees with detailed information on the protection of Social Insurance Numbers within the Department.


The ATIP Division regularly monitors the timeliness and trends associated with the processing of requests through ongoing communication with branch and directorate liaison contacts. This includes providing performance reports on the status of branch retrievals to branch head offices on a regular basis. Quarterly ATIP updates are provided to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Executive Management Committee.

Publicly accessible information and inquiry points

Info Source is a series of publications containing information on the Government of Canada and on the Government’s data collection activities. Info Source is intended to help the public access government information and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act and Access to Information Act.

Each year, the ATIP Division prepares updates on Environment Canada’s activities and information holdings for publication in Info Source which is published on the Department’s website. In 2016-2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada made minor changes to its Info Source chapter.

Environment Canada’s comprehensive website provides information on the Department’s policies, its organizational structure and the means to contact departmental officials. In accordance with the federal government’s policy of proactive disclosure, the Department’s website also allows access to internal evaluations and audits, as well as information on hospitality expenses, contracts and grants.

Environment Canada’s website also has an access to information and privacy webpage that provides background information on both the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It also contains a Frequently Asked Questions section and links to access to information request forms, personal information request forms and summaries of completed access to information requests.

In order to facilitate public access to information and to comply with the Act, the Environment and Climate Change Canada Library has been designated a public reading room. The library is located on the 1st floor of the Place Vincent Massey Annex, 351 St. Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau, Quebec.

Online request service

Environment and Climate Change Canada has participated in the Treasury Board Secretariat Online Request Service Pilot Project since April 2014. This initiative makes the process of requesting government records simpler and more convenient by enabling Canadians to submit their ATIP requests and application fees online. Environment and Climate Change Canada received 32 privacy requests online during the 2016–2017 reporting period. This represents 58% of the total number of privacy requests received by the Department.

Data sharing activities

The Department did not undertake any new internal or external data sharing activities in 2016–2017.

Exempt personal information banks

Environment and Climate Change Canada has no exempt Personal Information Banks.

Privacy impact assessments

To fulfill its mandate, some of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s responsibilities require the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. As a trusted custodian of this information, the Department uses Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs), in accordance with Treasury Board policy, as a risk management tool. Although Environment and Climate Change Canada did not complete any Privacy Impact Assessments during the reporting period, the ATIP Division regularly provides advice to departmental employees on privacy matters.

Material privacy breaches

There was no material privacy breach during the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

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