2016-2017 Annual Report to Parliament on the Access to Information Act

Introduction

The Privy Council Office (PCO) reports directly to the Prime Minister and is headed by the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Secretary to the Cabinet. PCO is both the Cabinet secretariat and the Prime Minister’s source of public service advice across the entire spectrum of policy questions and operational issues facing the Government. As the hub of non-partisan, public service support to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and its decision-making structures, PCO ensures that the Government and Canadians are served by the highest quality public service.

PCO also provides support to the Prime Minister in his capacities as Minister of Youth and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, as well as to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Minister of Democratic Institutions.

PCO has three main roles:

  • PM and Ministers of the portfolio - To deliver analysis, advice and support to the Prime Minister and Ministers of the Portfolio in: setting and implementing the government’s agenda; establishing the institutions, mandates and accountabilities of government; forming and leading the Cabinet; conducting intergovernmental and international relations; safeguarding national security; and communicating with Canadians. This includes:
    • Bringing together non-partisan advice, analysis and information from across the Public Service;
    • Consulting and collaborating with international and domestic partners inside and outside of government (including provincial and territorial governments);
    • Supporting and advising on the development and implementation of the Government’s Parliamentary and legislative programs; and
    • Advising on Canada’s Westminster style of government, on government structure and organization, and on Governor in Council appointments.
  • Secretariat to the Cabinet - To act as secretariat to the Cabinet and its committees in: conducting its deliberations; formulating its recommendations; and making and implementing decisions. This includes:
    • Managing the Cabinet’s decision-making system;
    • Coordinating departments’ policy and legislative proposals to cabinet, with supporting policy analysis; and
    • Preparing Orders in Council and other statutory instruments to give effect to Government decisions.
  • Public Service Leadership - To lead and renew the public service in: advising the government; implementing its agenda; and delivering services and results to Canadians. This includes:
    • Managing the recruitment and appointment process for senior positions in federal departments and agencies;
    • Guiding policy on people management issues and public service renewal; and
    • Building the capacity of the public service to meet emerging challenges and changing responsibilities of government.

This is the 34th Annual Report to Parliament on the administration of the Access to Information Act (ATIA) by PCO, submitted as required by s. 72(1) of the ATIA. This report covers the reporting period of April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

Additional copies of this report may be obtained from:

Access to Information and Privacy Division
Privy Council Office
55 Metcalfe Street, Suite 1500
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3

Highlights

  1. Despite an increase in the number of pages reviewed over the last three fiscal years, the Privy Council Office (PCO) has maintained a high level of performance in access to information. In the 2016-2017 reporting period, PCO received 879 requests, up from the 559 received in the 2015-2016 reporting period. In 2016-2017, 128,448 pages were processed, which represents a 21% increase in the pages reviewed from last fiscal year and 68% more than the amount reviewed in 2014-2015. These pages have to undergo a thorough review process in which multiple PCO Secretariats and government departments are consulted. Considering the complexity and increased page volume, it is an achievement that 99.6% of the requests were completed on-time.

  2. There were only 3 requests were closed past their legislated deadlines in this reporting period, down from the 11 requests completed past the deadline in 2015-2016. In the last fiscal year, PCO has shown a significant improvement in the completion time of requests. In the 2014-2015 reporting period, PCO had 32 requests completed past their legislative deadlines. This number has consistently decreased in subsequent reporting periods.

  3. To promote green government operations and to streamline processes, PCO introduced new electronic methods for tasking ATIP requests to PCO secretariats and for providing advance copies of release packages to internal stakeholders. These initiatives, which were introduced at the end of the fiscal year, will aid in creating a more paperless office, while reducing printing expenditures and increasing employee efficiency.

Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Division

The ATIA provides a right of access to information in records under the control of government institutions. The ATIA is not a substitute for other access mechanisms, but is intended to complement other informal procedures that allow public access to government information. The ATIA stipulates that government information should be available to the public, necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific, and decisions made by government institutions about the disclosure of information should be reviewed by a body independent of government.

The ATIP Division is the focal point for access to information and privacy within PCO. The ATIP Division is responsible for managing requests for departmental or personal information, ensuring corporate understanding and compliance with the ATIA and the Privacy Act (PA), and fostering corporate awareness of access and privacy rights and responsibilities. On matters of access and privacy, the ATIP Division also acts as a primary liaison with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC), the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC), Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), and partner departments.

The ATIP Division has a personnel complement of approximately 21.66 full-time equivalents (FTEs) that are organized into two areas of responsibility. The two areas of responsibility are organized as follows:

  1. 1) ATIP Operations (15.24 FTEs)
    • Processes access to information and privacy requests;
    • Oversees the collection and release of personal and/or business information; and
    • Provides expertise in access to information and privacy policy;
    • Researches trends and best practices in access to information and privacy; and
    • Develops and delivers ATIP training programs.
       
  2. 2) Client Services (6.42 FTEs)
    • Organizes training and develops promotional products;
    • Coordinates responses to Parliamentary questions and petitions on behalf of PCO; and
    • Provides database administration.

Monitoring compliance

In order to meet the legislative deadlines for access to information requests, the timelines of individual requests are strictly monitored. Regular meetings and various reports are used to ensure all requests are on track to meet the deadlines. Given our delegation orders (described in the next section), PCO ATIP works very closely with our Offices of Primary Interest (OPIs) to ensure tasking and signoff timelines are respected.

Privy Council Office delegation orders

The Minister heading each government institution is responsible for the implementation of the ATIA within his or her institution. The Prime Minister, as the Head of the Privy Council Office and pursuant to s. 73 of the ATIA, is responsible for the implementation of the ATIA within PCO. Through the PCO delegation order, the Prime Minister has designated the Director, Access to Information and Privacy, as the individual within PCO to perform the powers, duties, functions, or administrative tasks pertaining to the ATIA. PCO Secretariats, or OPIs, holders of the information identified in an access request, approve the release of information to requesters and the application of exemptions or exclusions and supporting rationales. This shared delegation of authority for the disposition of information is exercised diligently within PCO, and recorded formally at appropriate stages in the process. The PCO delegation orders which were in effect in 2016-2017 are attached at Appendix A.

Activities and accomplishments

Key operational statistics
Access to information requests
2016-2017
2015-16
2014-15
2013-14
Requests received
879
559
646
907
Requests completed
827
620
677
772
Requests completed on-time (%)
99.6%
98.3%
95.3%
97.8%
OIC grade
A (projected)
A
A
A
Total pages reviewed
128,448
106,358
76,372
58,409

Since receiving an “F” performance rating by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) for the 2006-2007 fiscal year, PCO has steadily improved its performance to the public. For the last 4 fiscal years (2013-2014 to 2016-2017), the percentage of requests responded to on-time by PCO has been 95% or better, despite a 120% increase in page volume over the same period. PCO continues to focus on training, support throughout the fiscal year, and making diligent use of resources in a tight marketplace to reach this goal.

Education and training activities

PCO promotes ATIP requirements and best practices in face-to-face meetings, presentations, special events, learning products, on the intranet and through its training program. It fosters strong working relationships with clients, and operates under clearly established timelines and procedures.

In 2016-2017, PCO delivered ATIP training or awareness sessions to 233 employees through a total of 10 training events during the reporting year. The majority of these training sessions provided an overview of ATIP to internal secretariats, as well as delivering insight on the process and the application of exemptions.

To promote understanding of access and privacy responsibilities, the PCO Executive Committee was provided with a summary of access and privacy statistics, performance and compliance. The Director of ATIP maintained regular contact with senior staff in the Department, and ATIP senior staff met with senior officials in PCO Secretariats to clarify roles and strengthen working relationships. Throughout 2016-2017, PCO ATIP analysts liaised with clients to explain the five-stage request timeline, train on processes such as the search for records, assist with records review, and explain their working role.

PCO personnel are provided with multiple channels to information on access and privacy, such as instructional ATIP handouts, an e-mailbox for questions, takeaway learning tools, and comprehensive and educational electronic content on PCO’s intranet.

Information-related policies, guidelines, and procedures

a) Posting of completed access to information requests

As part of the Open Government Initiative, PCO provides monthly summaries of completed access to information requests online. This information includes: summary of request text, disposition, and number of pages disclosed. Summaries are available here from June 2013 onward with direct links for requesting a copy of records. The public can also submit informal requests for completed files by mail or via the generic email on the PCO website. This website has lists of request summaries for the time period of December 2011 to December 2014. Requests related to the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat are processed by PCO and are included in the lists. Records are provided in the form that they were released under the ATIA including format, language(s) and any exemptions or exclusions that were applied.

As reported in the Statistical Report, PCO released a total of 422 previously released ATI packages informally between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

b) Transitioning to an electronic office

As part of the Destination 2020 plan, which advocates for green government operations and a paperless office, PCO introduced new electronic processes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Internal processes which were previously paper based are now completed electronically. These internal processes include tasking OPIs, and notifying internal stakeholders of ATIP release packages. Both of these processes were implemented near the end of the fiscal year (in March 2017), and have so far proved to be beneficial. The new electronic practices reduce the use of printing resources, while increasing employee efficiency.

Other activities

a) Reading Room

In compliance with s. 12(1) of the ATIA, the ATIP Division also provides a Reading Room where the public may examine requested departmental records, manuals, and publications related to access to information. The Reading Room is located on the first floor of the Hope Building at 63 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario. This secure location allows for an appropriate separation from office activities and provides requesters with a suitable environment to review documents. ATIP officers can reserve the space in advance to ensure that it is available to requesters. In 2016-2017, no individual made use of this means of access to information.

b) Proactive disclosure

In compliance with mandatory proactive disclosure requirements for government organizations, the PCO website continued to make available information concerning PCO travel and hospitality expenses, reclassification of positions, contracts over $10,000, and grant and contribution awards.

Interpretation of the Statistical Report

The 2016-2017 Statistical Report on the ATIA is shown at Appendix B.

Part 1 – Requests under the Access to Information Act (ATIA)

1.1 Requests

Between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, PCO received 879 requests for information under the ATIA, an increase of 57.2% from 2015-2016. Over the last ten fiscal years, request totals have varied from 429 to 907. The 879 requests received in 2016-2017 represent the second highest number of requests received in a single fiscal year.

Figure 1: Volume of requests by year
Text version
2006-2007
2007-2008
2008-2009
2009-2010
2010-2011
2011-2012
2012-2013
2013-2014
2014-2015
2015-2016
2016-2017
592
688
651
429
647
534
780
907
646
559
879

A total of 189 active requests were carried into 2016-2017 from the previous fiscal year, while a total of 241 active requests are carried forward into 2017-2018.

1.2 Sources of requests

The sources of access to information requests, in descending order by volume, were: media, public, academia, organization, and business.

The breakdown of the requests received during 2016-2017 is as follows:

  • 387 or 45% – media;
  • 284 or 32% – public;
  • 71 or 8% – academia;
  • 56 or 6% – organization, including from Parliament (members of the House of Commons or Senate) ; and
  • 81 or 9% – business (private sector).

At 387, requests from the media increased by 20% in volume from 2015-2016, and continued to form the largest portion of the request volume at 45%. Requests from the other categories also saw a large increase in volume this year. The business sector, which includes law firms, saw an increase in 440%, jumping from 15 requests in 2015-2016 to 81 in 2016-2017. Requests from organizations increased by 84%, increasing from 31 in 2015-2016 to 56 in 2016-2017. Requests from academia have increased by 57% from 46 in 2015-2016 to 71 in the past fiscal year. Finally, the requests from the public increased from 137 to 284, which is a 107% increase.

1.3 Informal requests

In 2016-2017, a total of 422 informal requests were completed, compared to 197 in 2015-2016. This represents an increase of 114%. Most informal requests were completed in 31 to 60 days, representing 35% of all requests, or 147 files. 25% of requests were completed in 61 to 120 days. 16% of requests were completed in 1 to 15 days. 15% of requests were completed in 16 to 30 days. Finally, 6% of requests were completed in 121 to 180 days, and 3% of requests were completed in 181 to 365 days. While there were 7 requests in 2015-2016 that took longer than a year to process, this number was reduced to 0 in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

1.4 Types of information requested

The subject matter of requests generally correlated with major national and international events affecting Canadians, such as:

  • National security and intelligence issues;
  • Information regarding internal staffing and contracts;
  • Possible reforms to democratic institutions, including the electoral system;
  • Historical records, including Cabinet meeting minutes;
  • Information related to Canada-U.S. relations, in light of the 2016 American federal election;
  • PMO travel and related expense claims, as well as expense claims for the Prime Minister’s family; and
  • Lists of briefing notes and correspondence to the Prime Minister and the Clerk of the Privy Council for various time periods.

Part 2 – Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time

In 2016-2017, PCO ATIP Division completed 827 requests, 8% less than were received. The breakdown of the disposition of records is as follows:

  • 495 (59%) were disclosed in part;
  • 171 (21%) where no records exist;
  • 57 (7%) were abandoned;
  • 53 (6%) were all exempted;
  • 30 (4%) were all disclosed;
  • 16 (2%) were all excluded; and
  • 5 (1%) were transferred to another department.

As these figures indicate, 525 or 63% of all requests were fully or partially disclosed, down from 68% in 2015-2016. The total of requests where no records were disclosed (either exempted or excluded) remained at approximately 5%. In line with 2015-2016, approximately 21% of requests in 2016-2017 did not produce responsive records. While in 2015-2016 there were no requests transferred to other departments, approximately 1% of requests were transferred to other governmental departments in 2016-2017. Requests were transferred because PCO did not hold any records and/or it was determined that another institution had a greater interest in the records.

In terms of completion times, 321 or 39% of requests sent to PCO were completed within 30 days in fiscal year 2016-2017, while only 259 requests were closed in the first 30 days in 2015-2016. The second largest volume of requests remained those completed in 61 to 120 days – 219 or 26%. The third largest volume of requests was completed in 31 to 60 days – 210 or 25%. Approximately 9% of requests (74) took 121 to 365 days to complete. Less than 1% of requests (3) were completed in more than a year, down from 1.5% in 2015-2016. The complex, sensitive and multi-jurisdictional nature of PCO records is a factor in the time required to complete requests.

2.2 Exemptions

While the ATIA promotes disclosure, there are instances where information qualifies for necessary protection under the ATIA.

Totals for the 6 most commonly used exemptions were, in order:

  • 443 under s. 19(1) – personal information;
  • 296 under s. 21(1)(b) – consultations or deliberations related to operations of government;
  • 196 under s. 15(1) – information related to international affairs and defence of Canada;
  • 196 under s. 16(2) – information related to the security of facilities, computer systems, and communications systems;
  • 150 under s. 21(1)(a) – advice or recommendations developed by or for a government institution or minister; and
  • 105 under s. 23 – information subject to solicitor-client privilege.

The use of these exemptions is consistent with the role of PCO and the content of the records it controls, both of which involve confidential consultations, deliberations and advice provided to Government on issues of national and international scope. Nonetheless, excluding requests transferred, abandoned, and those where no records existed, 88% of requests resulted in records released to applicants from PCO, in whole or in part, in response to their requests.

2.3 Exclusions

The ATIA does not apply to certain information described by s. 68 of the ATIA (published material) or to confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council pursuant to s. 69. Overall in 2016-2017, s. 68 was cited on 14 occasions, and s. 69 was cited on 323 occasions. The application of exclusions under s. 69(1) reflects the role of PCO in providing advice and information to the Prime Minister and to Cabinet and its decision-making structures.

Totals for the 6 most commonly used exclusions were, in order:

  • 66 under s. 69(1)(g) re (c) – information relating to the agenda or deliberations of Council;
  • 63 under s. 69(1)(e) – briefings for Council;
  • 63 under s. 69(1)(g) re (a) – information relating to memoranda to Council;
  • 42 under s. 69(1)(g) re (e) – information relating to briefings for Council;
  • 28 under s. 69(1)(a) – memoranda to Council; and
  • 23 under s. 69(1)(c) – agenda of Council.

2.4 Format of information released

In March 2015, PCO began providing electronic release packages for interested requesters or for those with responses over 125 pages. Of the requests for which records existed and were disclosed in whole or in part, a total of 242 requests were released in electronic form on CD while 283 requests were released on paper. Requesters have the option of receiving the response by mail or by picking it up in person. Nearly all replies were sent to the requester by mail.

2.5 Complexity

2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed

A total of 128,448 pages were processed by PCO in 2016-2017, an increase of almost 22,000 pages from 2015-2016. For ATI requests which were “all disclosed” or “disclosed in part”, 111,036 pages were processed and 61,735 pages were disclosed. This equates to 56% of these pages having been released, in whole or in part. The pages processed for requests entirely withheld or abandoned amounted to 14% of the total pages processed in 2016-2017.

2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of request

Where records were disclosed in whole or in part, 66% of requests, or 346 out of 525, required the processing of less than 100 pages. A total of 121 requests involved the processing of 101-500 pages, and 31 requests involved the processing of between 501-1000 pages. Requests of between 1001-5000 pages in size, which require significant time and resources to process, totalled 26 and saw 22,317 pages disclosed. These requests alone represent over a third of total pages disclosed this fiscal year. The number of requests in this page range increased from 18 in 2015-2016. In addition, 1 request, greater than 5000 pages was processed; totalling 1,862 pages disclosed.

Note that the number of pages processed is not an accurate gauge of the time required to process an access file. A request of many pages may involve basic records that require relatively little time to review, while small requests of a few pages could contain a complex amalgam of high-level content from several departments, requiring in-depth analysis and consultation.

2.5.3 Other complexities

Consultations were undertaken for 238 (29%) of the 827 requests completed in 2016-2017. A total of ten requests were sent to legal services for the assessment of s. 23 of the ATIA. Note that, as a single request may accrue more than one complexity, the totals in column six of section 2.5.3 of the Statistical Report will not necessarily be equal to the totals in section 2.1.

2.6 Deemed refusals

In 2016-2017, only 3 access to information requests were completed past the deadline, or in “deemed refusal”. As shown in section 2.6.1 of the Statistical Report, 2 requests were affected because of a large workload, and 1 request was delayed in error. The number of days past the deadline for each request is shown at section 2.6.2 of the Statistical Report.

2.7 Requests for translation

The ATIA states at s. 12(2) that “where access to a record or a part thereof is to be given under this Act and the person…requests that access be given in a particular official language, a copy of the record or part thereof shall be given to the person in that language”, (a) if the record already exists in that language, or (b) if the head of the government institution considers its translation in the public interest. There were no translations requested during the reporting period.

Part 3 – Extensions

3.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests

Subsection 9(1) of the ATIA sets out circumstances under which the initial 30-day time limit for response may be extended. Extensions may be taken for the following reasons:

  • if the request is for a large number of records or requires a search through a large number of records, and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the institution;
  • if consultation is necessary with other government institutions, other governments or informally with third parties, and it cannot be completed within 30 days; or
  • if notice is to be given to a third party (pursuant to s. 27(1)) of the pending release of information or trade secrets of that third party.

During 2016-2017, PCO took 305 extensions under s. 9(1)(a) for interference with operations due to the volume of records, versus 256 the previous year. Again, this is due to the increased volume of requests.

Third party notifications required 20 extensions under s. 9(1)(c), in line with the 21 extensions for the same reason for the previous fiscal year.

Consultations were a significant driver of extensions during the reporting year. A total of 72 extensions for consultations on Confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council, and 92 extensions for other types of consultations (164 extensions combined) were taken under s. 9(1)(b). Extensions for consultations were down from the 169 extensions taken in 2015-2016.

Consultations remain inherent to processing the often complex, interdepartmental records under the control of PCO. When PCO sends a consultation request to another federal institution, it first contacts the department to obtain an estimated response time. For consultations with institutions with large workloads, PCO verifies whether a previously recommended consultation period is still accurate. These efforts provide requesters with a more accurate estimate of when they will receive a response. Contacting the institution being consulted to mutually determine how long the consultation will take is considered a best practice by the OIC.

3.2 Length of extensions

Of the 6 timeframes shown at section 3.2 of the Statistical Report, 30 days or less was the most common extension, accounting for 43% (209) of all extensions in 2016-2017. The second most employed extension was 31 to 60 days, accounting for 40% (198) of all extensions. It should be noted that while in 2015-2016, the most common extension was for 61 to 120 days (at 53%), this number was significantly reduced to 16% (77) in 2016-2017. The 61 to 120 days timeframe was the third most used extension. These statistics can be considered representative of PCO's consultative requirements and the department’s heavy workload. PCO remains committed to the responsible use of extensions under the ATIA, consistent with operational demands.

Part 4 – Fees

The fees collected during the reporting period totalled $4,290, up from $3,755 in 2015-2016. PCO collected $4,290 in application fees on 858 requests, in comparison to $3,025 collected the previous year. In 2016-2017, PCO waived the application fees for 21 requests, totalling $105.

Part 5 – Consultations received from other Government of Canada institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations

PCO received 511 consultations from other government institutions and organizations during the reporting year, an increase of 17%, as shown below.

Figure 2: Volume of access consultations by year
Text version
2006-2007
2007-2008
2008-2009
2009-2010
2010-2011
2011-2012
2012-2013
2013-2014
2014-2015
2015-2016
2016-2017
428
423
403
353
490
524
513
431
381
438
511

Although there was only a 17% increase in total consultations received from the previous year, the number of pages received for review increased by approximately 11,460 pages, a 50% increase over 2015-2016. Some institutions which sought the views of PCO included Library and Archives Canada, the Department of National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Department of Finance, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Natural Resources Canada, and Public Safety Canada.

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

A total of 472 consultation requests from other government institutions were completed by PCO during 2016-2017.

Over the last 10 years, the volume of consultations sent to PCO has remained high. Consultations account for a significant portion of the workload and make demands on both PCO ATIP resources and on the PCO records authorities who provide consultative guidance. Nonetheless, in 2016-2017, the Department responded to 71% of consultations (333) from other government institutions in 30 days or less. Thirty-two percent of consultations (150) were responded to in 15 days or less. These numbers are consistent with the 2015-2016 fiscal year. PCO recognizes that a prompt rate of response to consulting institutions contributes to more timely service to the public at the broader government level. The majority of recommendations given by PCO in response to these consultations were to disclose the records, either in full or in part. Very few consultations were recommended to be entirely withheld.

5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations

A total of 1 consultation request from a third-party organization was completed by PCO during 2016-2017. This consultation was responded to within 15 days.

Part 6 – Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

6.1 Requests with Legal Services

Note that in regard to ATIP, PCO consults only with PCO Cabinet Confidences Counsel (CCC). Therefore, no data appears in the table entitled “Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences under the ATIA - Requests with Legal Services.”

6.2 Requests with Privy Council Office

In accordance with Treasury Board guidelines in force in 2016-2017, PCO ATIP consulted with PCO CCC for the review and certification of Cabinet confidences contained in government records. PCO ATIP sent 113 consultations to PCO CCC in the reporting period, slightly up from the 94 in 2015-2016.

Part 7 – Complaints and investigations

7.1 Complaints

In the 2016-2017 reporting period, 81 complaints were submitted to the OIC. This number includes requests that were received in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. This is an increase from the 48 complaints that were filed in the 2015-2016 reporting period.

Complaints from the media, historically the largest requester of PCO records, have been reduced by 91% over the past eight fiscal years, from 119 in 2009-2010 to 11 in 2016-2017. This was achieved despite a 109% increase in the volume of requests over that time period (429 requests in 2009-2010 vs. 895 requests in 2016-2017).

In the 2016-2017 reporting period, complaints related to a range of issues, including the exemptions invoked or exclusions cited on records, and extensions taken to complete consultations and meet PCO operational requirements.

The breakdown of complaints by source received in 2016-2017 is as follows:

  • 44 or 54% – Public;
  • 13 or 16%– Academia;
  • 11 or 14% – Organizations
  • 9 or 11% – Media;
  • 2 or 2.5% – Lawyer; and
  • 2 or 2.5% – Parliament (members of the House of Commons or Senate).

Of the 81 complaints received by PCO in 2016-2017, PCO closed 20 of the complaints by the end of this reporting period. Of these closed complaints, 45% were discontinued, 20% were resolved, 20% were deemed to be well founded, and 15% were not substantiated. PCO continues to optimize its work processes by developing expertise and staff appropriately. PCO has spent a considerable amount of time training employees and ensuring they have the proper tools to deal with complaints and investigations from the OIC. PCO also works in close cooperation with the OIC to ensure expectations are met and to ensure that PCO ATIP Analysts and OPIs have a clear understanding of the complaint process.

7.2 Investigations

In the 2016-2017 reporting period, no investigations were undertaken in relation to PCO ATIP by the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada. This is in contrast to two investigations which were undertaken in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and concluded in the 2015-2016 reporting period.

Part 8 – Court action

In 2016-2017, no court actions involving PCO were initiated by the OIC in regard to the ATIA.

Part 9 – Resources related to the Access to Information Act

9.1 Costs

Salary costs associated with administration of the ATIA were $1,332,971 for 2016-2017, up from $1,119,075 in 2015-2016. Overtime costs totalled $51,705, down from $52,445. Goods and services amounted to $355,988, up from $351,301. The sum of professional services contracts amounted to $218,825 and other services amounted to $137,163. Total costs were $1,740,664, up from $1,522,821 in 2015-2016. These costs do not include the resources expended by the policy areas of PCO to meet the requirements of the ATIA.

9.2 Human resources

It remains a challenge to attract and retain ATIP personnel, given the shortage of qualified analysts across the federal government. Currently, PCO uses various staffing methods to fill vacancies, including working with other departments to staff from pools of qualified candidates as well as running our own staffing processes. PCO offers a very supportive work environment and growth opportunities for staff in an effort to retain qualified ATIP personnel. PCO human resources capacity for the 2016-2017 reporting period was 21.66 full-time equivalent employees as shown in the chart below. This is a slight increase in resources over the 19.96 FTEs of the previous year, and reflects the tight labour market and employment opportunities available to ATIP professionals across government.

Figure 3: Human resources (FTEs)
Text version
2007-2008
2008-2009
2009-2010
2010-2011
2011-2012
2012-2013
2013-2014
2014-2015
2015-2016
2016-2017
18.8
17.08
21.69
23.76
24
21.62
18.8
22.19
19.96
21.66

Appendices

Appendix A: Delegation orders

Access to Information Act

The Prime Minister, as head of the Privy Council Office and pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Acta, hereby designates the officers or employees holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, and any persons acting in those positions, to exercise or perform the powers, duties and functions of the Prime Minister as the head of a government institution under the sections of the Act and the regulations opposite each position in the schedule.

This delegation order supercedes all previous delegation orders.

Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau

December 23, 2015

a R.S. 1985, c. A-1

Schedule

Position
Sections of the Access to Information Acta
Sections of the Access to Information Regulationsb
1. Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet. Full delegation. Full delegation.
2. Any senior management position within the Privy Council Office that reports directly to the position set out in paragraph 1 above. Full delegation. Full delegation.
3. All Assistant Secretaries and Assistant Deputy Ministers within the Privy Council Office. Full delegation. Full delegation.
4. Any management position that is responsible for a unit within the Privy Council Office and that reports directly to a position covered by paragraph 2 above other than the Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services Branch. Full delegation. Full delegation.
5. Coordinator of Access to Information within the Privy Council Office. 7; 8(1); 9; 10; 11(2); 11(3); 11(4); 11(5); 11(6); 12(2)(b); 12(3)(b); 13; 19; 20; 27(1); 27(4); 28(1)(b); 28(2); 28(4); 29(1); 33; 37(4); 43(1); 44(2). 6(1);8.

a R.S. 1985, c. A-1
b SOR/83-507

Appendix B: 2015-2016 Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-03-31

Part 1 - Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests
Number of requests
Received during reporting period
879
Outstanding from previous reporting period
189
Total
1,068
Closed during reporting period
827
Carried over to next reporting period
241
1.2 Sources of requests
Source
Number of Requests
Media
387
Academia
71
Business (Private Sector)
81
Organization
56
Public
284
Decline to Identify
0
Total
879
1.3 Informal requests
Completion Time
1-15 Days
16-30 Days
31-60 Days
61-120 Days
121-180 Days
181-365 Days
More Than 365 Days
Total
69
62
147
107
26
11
0
422

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
8
12
9
1
0
0
30
Disclosed in part
6
84
156
179
53
14
3
495
All exempted
0
10
27
15
1
0
0
53
All excluded
0
3
3
9
1
0
0
16
No records exist
35
120
11
5
0
0
0
171
Request transferred
5
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
Request abandoned
38
12
1
2
3
1
0
57
Neither confirmed or denied
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Total
84
237
210
219
59
15
3
827
2.2 Exemptions
Section
Number of requests
13(1)(a)
11
13(1)(b)
2
13(1)(c)
7
13(1)(d)
0
13(1)(e)
0
14
104
14(a)
4
14(b)
5
15(1)
196
15(1) - I.A.1
1
15(1) - Def.2
1
15(1) - S.A.3
0
16(1)(a)(i)
1
16(1)(a)(ii)
0
16(1)(a)(iii)
2
16(1)(b)
1
16(1)(c)
5
16(1)(d)
0
16(2)
196
16(2)(a)
1
16(2)(b)
0
16(2)(c)
6
16(3)
0
16.1(1)(a)
0
16.1(1)(b)
0
16.1(1)(c)
1
16.1(1)(d)
0
16.2(1)
0
16.3
1
16.4(1)(a)
0
16.4(1)(b)
0
16.5
1
17
1
18(a)
14
18(b)
7
18(c)
0
18(d)
12
18.1(1)(a)
2
18.1(1)(b)
2
18.1(1)(c)
0
18.1(1)(d)
0
19(1)
443
20(1)(a)
1
20(1)(b)
51
20(1)(b.1)
0
20(1)(c)
78
20(1)(d)
6
20.1
0
20.2
0
20.4
0
21(1)(a)
150
21(1)(b)
296
21(1)(c)
20
21(1)(d)
19
22
4
22.1(1)
2
23
105
24(1)
20
26
4
  1. I.A.: International Affairs
  2. Def.: Defence of Canada
  3. S.A.: Subversive Activities
2.3 Exclusions
Section
Number of requests
68(a)
14
68(b)
0
68(c)
0
68.1
0
68.2(a)
0
68.2(b)
0
69(1)
2
69(1)(a)
28
69(1)(b)
0
69(1)(c)
23
69(1)(d)
5
69(1)(e)
63
69(1)(f)
2
69(1)(g) re (a)
63
69(1)(g) re (b)
0
69(1)(g) re (c)
66
69(1)(g) re (d)
17
69(1)(g) re (e)
42
69(1)(g) re (f)
12
69.1(1)
0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition
Paper
Electronic
Other formats
All disclosed
19
11
0
Disclosed in part
264
231
0
Total
283
242
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
1,663
1,663
30
Disclosed in part
109,373
60,095
495
All exempted
15,650
0
53
All excluded
492
0
16
Request abandoned
1,270
0
57
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
29
597
0
0
0
0
1
1,066
0
0
Disclosed in part
317
7,091
121
17,797
31
12,904
25
21,251
1
1,862
All exempted
34
0
14
0
2
0
2
0
1
0
All excluded
15
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Request abandoned
55
0
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
Neither confirmed nor denied
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Total
450
7,688
137
17,797
33
12,094
29
22,317
2
1,862
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition
Consultation required
Assessment of fees
Legal advice sought
Other
Total
All disclosed
9
0
0
0
9
Disclosed in part
205
0
10
14
229
All exempted
11
0
0
3
14
All excluded
11
0
0
0
11
Request abandoned
2
0
0
0
2
Neither confirmd nor denied
0
0
0
0
0
Total
238
0
10
17
265
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
2
0
0
1
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
1
0
1
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
2
2
Total
1
2
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 request
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
15
1
5
1
Disclosed in part
234
53
78
19
All exempted
39
8
4
0
All excluded
3
8
0
0
No records exist
11
2
4
0
Request abandoned
3
0
1
0
Total
305
72
92
20
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
186
7
11
5
31 to 60 days
97
38
51
12
61 to 120 days
21
25
28
3
121 to 180 days
1
2
2
0
181 to 365 days
0
0
0
0
365 days or more
0
0
0
0
Total
305
72
92
20

Part 4: Fees

Fee Type
Fee Collected
Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of requests
Amount
Number of requests
Amount
Application
858
$4,290
21
$105
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
858
$4,290
21
$105

Part 5: Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other government of Canada institutions and organizations 
Consultations
Other government institutions
Number of pages to review
Other organizations
Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period
510
32,301
1
32
Outstanding from the previous reporting period
2
1m973
0
0
Total
512
34,274
1
32
Closed during the reporting period
472
19,768
1
32
Pending at the end of the reporting period
40
14,506
0
0
5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government 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
54
54
16
3
0
1
0
128
Disclose in part
90
121
79
22
5
1
0
318
Exempt entirely
4
5
7
1
0
0
0
17
Exclude entirely
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Consult other institution
1
3
0
0
0
0
0
4
Other
1
0
2
0
2
0
0
5
Total
150
183
104
26
7
2
0
472
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
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
Other
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Total
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1

Part 6 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences 

6.1 Requests with Legal Services
Number of Days
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
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
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
1 to 15
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
16 to 30
3
0
1
236
0
0
0
0
0
0
31 to 60
11
65
2
207
0
0
0
0
0
0
61 to 120
43
733
22
1,609
1
67
0
0
1
1,704
121 to 180
3
344
9
793
9
2,700
3
6,200
0
0
181 to 365
0
0
1
193
1
176
2
1,200
0
0
More than 365
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1,862
Total
60
1,142
35
3,038
11
2,943
5
7,400
2
3,566

Part 7 - Complaints and investigations

Section 32
Section 35
Section 37
Total
81
16
0
97

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
$1,332,971
Overtime
$51,705
Goods and Services
$355,988
• Professional services contracts
$218,825
• Other
$137,163
Total
$1,740,664
9.2 Human resources
Resources
Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees
17.02
Part-time and casual employees
1.96
Regional staff
0.00
Consultants and agency personnel
1.12
Students
1.36
Total
21.46

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

Appendix C: Exemptions and exclusions

Exemptions invoked

The total numbers of requests for which specific exemptions were invoked during the 2016-2017 reporting period are as follows:

  • 11 under s. 13(1)(a) – information obtained in confidence from the government of a foreign state or institution
  • 2 under s. 13(1)(b) – information obtained in confidence from an international organization of states or an institution
  • 7 under s. 13(1)(c) – information obtained in confidence from the government of a province or institution
  • 104 under s. 14 – information related to federal-provincial affairs
  • 4 under s. 14(a) – information expected to be injurious to the government’s federal-provincial affairs, specifically, federal-provincial consultations or deliberations
  • 5 under s. 14(b) – information expected to be injurious to the government’s federal-provincial affairs, specifically, strategies or tactics adopted or to be adopted by the government relating to the conduct of federal-provincial affairs
  • 196 under s. 15(1) – information related to international affairs 1 under s. 15(1) I.A. – information relating to communications and the conduct of international affairs
  • 1 under s. 15(1) Def. – information related to communications and the defence of Canada
  • 1 under 16(1)(a)(i) – government records related to the detection, prevention or suppression of crime
  • 2 under 16(1)(a)(iii) – government records related to activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada
  • 1 under s. 16(1)(b) – information relating to investigative techniques or plans for specific lawful investigations
  • 5 under s. 16(1)(c) – information related to law enforcement and investigations, including civil investigations and administrative investigations
  • 196 under s. 16(2) – information related to security methods
  • 1 under s. 16(2)(a) – information which could facilitate the commission of a crime such as crime methods or techniques
  • 6 under s. 16(2)(c) – information which could facilitate the commission of a crime such as the vulnerability or methods employed to protect particular buildings, structures, or systems
  • 1 under s. 16.1(1)(c) – records related to investigations by the Information Commissioner
  • 1 under 16.3 – records related to investigations under the Canada Elections Act
  • 1 under s. 16.5 – records related to a disclosure under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act
  • 1 under s. 17 – safety of individuals, including the identity of police informants and the victims of violence or acts of threats or intimidation
  • 14 under s. 18(a) – trade secrets or financial, commercial, scientific or technical information that belongs to the Government of Canada
  • 7 under s. 18(b) – information which could prejudice the competitive position of a government institution
  • 12 under s. 18(d) – information materially injurious to the financial interests of a government institution or to the economic interests of Canada
  • 2 under s. 18.1(1)(a) – records related to the economic interests of the Canada Post Corporation
  • 2 under s. 18.1(1)(b) – records related to the economic interests of Export Development Canada
  • 443 under s. 19(1) – personal information
  • 1 under s. 20(1)(a) – trade secrets of a third party
  • 51 under s. 20(1)(b) – financial, commercial, scientific or technical information supplied to a government institution in confidence by a third party
  • 78 under s. 20(1)(c) – information that could result in material financial loss or gain to a third party
  • 6 under s. 20(1)(d) – information which could interfere with the negotiations of a third party
  • 150 under s. 21(1)(a) – advice or recommendations developed by or for a government institution or minister
  • 296 under s. 21(1)(b) – consultations or deliberations related to operations of government
  • 20 under s. 21(1)(c) – positions or plans developed for negotiations by the Government of Canada
  • 19 under s. 21(1)(d) – plans for the management of a government institution that have not yet been put into operation
  • 4 under s. 22 – information relating to testing or auditing procedures or techniques
  • 2 under s. 22.1(1) records containing a draft report of an internal audit of a government institution
  • 105 under s. 23 – information subject to solicitor-client privilege
  • 20 under s. 24(1) – information restricted by or pursuant to any provision set out in Schedule II of the ATIA
  • 4 under s. 26 – records which will be published by a government institution within ninety days after the request is made

Exemptions not invoked

The following exemptions were not invoked by PCO during the 2016-2017 reporting period:

  • s. 13(1)(d) – information obtained in confidence from a municipal or regional government
  • s. 13(1)(e) – information obtained in confidence from an aboriginal government
  • s. 15(1) S.A. – information which could compromise the prevention of subversive activities
  • s. 16(1)(a)(ii) – government records related to the enforcement of any law of Canada or a province
  • s. 16(1)(d) – information the disclosure of which could compromise the security of penal institutions
  • s. 16(2)(b) – information which could facilitate the commission of a crime such as technical information relating to weapons or potential weapons
  • s. 16(3) – policing services of the RCMP for the provinces and the municipalities
  • s. 16.1(1)(a) – records related to investigations by the Auditor General of Canada
  • s. 16.1(1)(b) – records related to investigations by the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada
  • s. 16.1(1)(d) – records related to investigations by the Privacy Commissioner
  • s. 16.2(1) – records related to investigations by the Commissioner of Lobbying
  • s. 16.4(1)(a) – records related to investigations under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act for the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
  • s. 16.4(1)(b) – records from a conciliator related to investigations under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act for the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
  • s. 18(c) – scientific or technical information obtained through research by an officer or employee of a government institution
  • s. 18.1(1)(c) – records related to the economic interests of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board
  • s. 18.1(1)(d) – records related to the economic interests of VIA Rail Canada Inc.
  • s. 20(1)(b.1) – third party information related to emergency management plans
  • s. 20.1 – third party investment information obtained by the Public Sector Pension Investment Board
  • s. 20.2 – third party investment information obtained by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
  • s. 20.4 – performance contracts with the National Arts Centre Corporation

Exclusions cited

The total numbers of requests for which specific exclusions were cited during the 2016-2017 reporting period are as follows:

  • 14 under s. 68(a) – published material
  • 2 under 69(1) – confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada
  • 28 under s. 69(1)(a) – memoranda to Cabinet
  • 1 under s. 69(1)(b) – discussion papers
  • 23 under s. 69(1)(c) – agenda and records of Cabinet deliberations
  • 5 under s. 69(1)(d) – records of communication between Ministers
  • 63 under s. 69(1)(e) – records used to brief ministers of the Crown
  • 2 under s. 69(1)(f) – draft legislation
  • 63 under s. 69(1)(g) re (a) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(a)
  • 66 under s. 69(1)(g) re (c) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(c)
  • 17 under s. 69(1)(g) re (d) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(d)
  • 42 under s. 69(1)(g) re (e) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(e)
  • 12 under s. 69(1)(g) re (f) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(f)

Exclusions not cited

The following exclusions were not cited by PCO during the 2016-2017 reporting period:

  • s. 68(b) – museum or library material
  • s. 68(c) – material donated to Canadian museums or archives
  • s. 68.1 – journalistic, creative or programming records of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • s. 68.2(a) – administrative records of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
  • s. 68.2(b) – operational records of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited s. 69(1)(g) re (b) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(b)
  • s. 69.1(1) – disclosure prohibited by a certificate under the Canada Evidence Act
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