2017-2018 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 35th 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, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

Additional copies of this report may be obtained from the:

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

Highlights of the Statistical Report, 2017-2018

  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 2017-2018 reporting period, PCO received 792 requests, down from the 879 received in the 2016-2017 reporting period. In 2017-2018, 231,738 pages were processed, which represents a 80% increase in the pages reviewed from last fiscal year and 118% more than the amount reviewed in 2015-2016. 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 100% of the requests were completed on time.
  2. There were zero (0) requests closed past their legislated deadline in this reporting period, down from the 3 requests completed past the deadline in 2016-2017. In the last fiscal year, PCO has shown a significant improvement in the completion time of requests. In the 2015-2016 reporting period, PCO had 13 requests completed past their legislative deadlines. This number has consistently decreased in subsequent reporting periods.
  3. In November 2017, PCO ATIP introduced a development program to recruit, develop, and accelerate the progression of talent from the PM-01 to the PM-04 level. The development program is a structured competency-based training framework that enables participants to develop key competencies required for all aspects of processing ATIP files. This process accurately reflects PCO’s position as a high-achieving employer of choice for ATIP Officers in the Federal Public Service and addresses current and future operational requirements.

Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Division – Organizational Structure

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 29 full-time equivalents (FTEs) that are organized into two areas of responsibility. The two areas of responsibility are organized as follows:

  1. ATIP Operations (23 FTEs)
    • Processes access to information and privacy requests;
    • Oversees the collection and release of personal and/or business information;
    • 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. Client Services (6 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 2017-2018 are attached at Appendix A.

Activities and Accomplishments

Key Operational Statistics
Access to information requests 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Requests received 646 559 879 792
Requests completed 677 620 827 769
Requests completed on-time (%) 95.3% 98.3% 99.6% 100%
OIC grade A A A A (projected)
Total relevant pages processed 76,372 106,358 128,448 231,738

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 (2014-2015 to 2017-2018), the percentage of requests responded to on time by PCO has been 95% or better, despite a 197% 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.

Summary of Key Issues and Actions taken on Complaints or Audits

PCO has made meaningful progress on working with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) to resolve complaints. PCO ATIP meets regularly with officials from the OIC to discuss complaints and to prioritize the workload to allow progress on the complaints, while ensuring proper attention is being paid to the active access to information requests.

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 2017-2018, PCO delivered ATIP training or awareness sessions to 99 employees through a total of 13 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 2017-2018, 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, Procedures and Initiatives

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 2016 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. 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 368 previously released ATI packages informally between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.

b) Transitioning to an Electronic Office

As part of the Destination 2020 plan, which advocates for green government operations and a paperless office, PCO began the process of transforming into a paperless office. In 2016-2017, we introduced electronic tasking and notification of releases. These two processes alone have proven to be very successful and have greatly reduced the number of pages being printed on a daily basis. In 2017-2018, PCO ATIP convened a working group to work with the secretariats to ensure we are meeting our client’s needs as well as to find ways to work more efficiently with our partners. The working group has resulted in new ideas that we will be implementing on a trial basis in 2018-2019. The new electronic practices will 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 2017-2018, 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 2017-2018 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, 2017 and March 31, 2018, PCO received 792 requests for information under the ATIA. The 792 requests received in 2017-2018 represent the third highest number of requests received in a single fiscal year.

Volume of requests by year
Text version - Figure 1
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
559 879 792

A total of 264 requests are carried forward into 2018-2019, while a total of 241 requests were carried into 2017-2018.

1.2 Sources of Requests

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

The breakdown of the requests received during 2017-2018 is as follows:

  • 290 or 37% – media;
  • 202 or 26% –  public;
  • 160 or 20% - business (private sector);
  • 73 or 9% – organization, including from Parliament (members of the House of Commons or Senate); and
  • 67 or 8% - academia.

At 290, requests from the media continued to form the largest portion of the request volume at 37%. Requests from the other categories saw a large increase in volume this year. The business sector, which includes law firms, saw an increase of 98%, jumping from 81 requests in 2016-2017 to 160 in 2017-2018. Requests from organizations increased by 30%, increasing from 56 in 2016-2017 to 73 in 2017-2018. Requests from academia have decreased by 6%, from 71 in 2016-2017 to 67 in the past fiscal year. Finally, the requests from the public decreased from 284 to 202, a 29% decrease.

1.3 Informal Requests

In 2017-2018, a total of 368 informal requests were completed, compared to 422 in 2016-2017. This represents a decrease of 13%. Most informal requests were completed in 61 to 120 days, representing 45% of all requests, or 164 files. 31% of requests were completed in 31 to 60 days. 13% of requests were completed in 121 to 180 days. 7% of requests were completed in 16 to 30 days. Finally, 4% of requests were completed in 1 to 15 days. While there were 11 requests in 2016-2017 that took 181 to 365 days to process, this number was reduced to 0 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

1.4 Types of Information Requested

The subject matter varies by year and is often linked to current events, such as:

  • Both current and historic national security and intelligence records;
  • Information related to Canada-U.S. trade, in light of the ongoing NAFTA re-negotiation;
  • Travel and related expense claims for the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office;
  • Lists of briefing notes and correspondence to the Prime Minister and the Clerk of the Privy Council for various time periods;
  • Records regarding contracts and staffing;
  • Information related to international trips by the Prime Minister; and
  • Records related to irregular migration.

Part 2 – Requests Closed During the Reporting Period

2.1 Disposition and Completion Time

In 2017-2018, PCO ATIP Division completed 769 requests, 3% less than were received in this fiscal year. The breakdown of the disposition of records is as follows:

  • 472 (61%) were disclosed in part;
  • 171 (22%) where no records exist;
  • 31 (4%) were abandoned;
  • 60 (7%) were all exempted;
  • 19 (2%) were all disclosed;
  • 14 (2%) were all excluded; and
  • 2 were transferred to another department.

As these figures indicate, 491 or 64% of all requests were fully or partially disclosed, up from 63% in 2016-2017. The total of requests where no records were disclosed (either exempted or excluded) increased by 4% to 9% in 2017-2018. In line with 2016-2017, approximately 22% of requests in 2017-2018 did not produce responsive records. Two requests were transferred in 2017/2018, down from 5 transferred requests 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, 291 or 38% of requests sent to PCO were completed within 30 days in fiscal year 2017-2018, while 321 requests were closed in the first 30 days in 2016-2017. The second largest volume of requests remained those completed in 61 to 120 days – 160 or 21%. The third largest volume of requests was completed in 121 to 180 days – 139 or 18%. Approximately 15% of requests (114) took 31 to 60 days to complete. No requests (0) were completed in more than a year, down from 0.4% in 2016-2017. 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:

  • 464 under s. 19(1) – personal information;
  • 285 under s. 21(1)(b)consultations or deliberations related to operations of government;
  • 261 under s. 15(1) – information related to international affairs and defence of Canada;
  • 212 under s. 16(2) – information related to the security of facilities, computer systems, and communications systems;
  • 174 under s. 21(1)(a) – advice or recommendations developed by or for a government institution or minister; and
  • 121 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, 64% 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 2017-2018, s. 68 was cited on 14 occasions, and s. 69 was cited on 315 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:

  • 65 under s. 69(1)(g) re (c) – information relating to the agenda or deliberations of Council;
  • 64 under s. 69(1)(g) re (a) – information relating to memoranda to Council;
  • 49 under s. 69(1)(e) – briefings for Council;
  • 49 under s. 69(1)(g) re (e) – information relating to briefings for Council;
  • 23 under s. 69(1)(a) – memoranda to Council; and
  • 20 under s. 69(1)(g) re (f)  – information relating to drafts of proposed legislation.

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 325 requests were released in electronic form on CD. 166 requests were released on paper, down from 283 in the previous year. 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 231,738 relevant pages were processed by PCO in 2017-2018, an increase of over 100,000 pages from 2016-2017. For ATI requests which were “all disclosed” or “disclosed in part”, 169,694 pages were processed and 88,682 pages were disclosed. This equates to 52% of these pages having been released, in whole or in part. The pages processed for requests entirely withheld or abandoned amounted to 27% of the total pages processed in 2017-2018.

2.5.2 Relevant Pages Processed and Disclosed by Size of Request

Where records were disclosed in whole or in part, 57% of requests, or 282 out of 491, required the processing of less than 100 pages. A total of 142 requests involved the processing of 101-500 pages, and 34 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 35 and saw 38,192 pages disclosed. These requests alone represent well over a third of total pages disclosed this fiscal year. The number of requests in this page range increased from 26 in 2016-2017. In addition, 4 requests, greater than 5000 pages were processed; totalling 8,387 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 303 (40%) of the 769 requests completed in 2017-2018. A total of 31 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 2017-2018, no access to information requests were completed past the deadline, or in “deemed refusal”. This is a significant achievement reflecting the diligence and leadership present in the ATIP team as well as the ongoing cooperation of the offices of primary interest at the Privy Council Office.

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 2017-2018, PCO took 381 extensions under s. 9(1)(a) for interference with operations due to the volume of records, versus 305 the previous year. Again, this is due to the increased volume of pages processed. Third party notifications required 60 extensions under s. 9(1)(c), higher than the 20 extensions for the same reason for the previous fiscal year. 

Consultations were a significant driver of extensions during the reporting year. A total of 113 extensions for consultations on Confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council, and 153 extensions for other types of consultations (266 extensions combined) were taken under s. 9(1)(b). Extensions for consultations were up from the 164 extensions taken in 2016-2017.

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 Office of the Information Commissioner.

3.2 Length of Extensions

Of the 6 timeframes shown at section 3.2 of the Statistical Report, 61 to 120 days was the most common extension, accounting for 38% (273) of all extensions in 2017-2018. The second most employed extension was 121 to 180 days, accounting for 26% (181) of all extensions. The 30 days or less 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 $3,750 on 762 requests, down from $4,290 in 2016-2017. In 2017-2018, PCO waived the application fees for 12 requests, totalling $60.

Part 5 – Consultations received from other Government of Canada Institutions and Organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other Government Institutions and organizations

PCO received 591 consultations from other government institutions and organizations during the reporting year, an increase of 16%, as shown below.

Volume of access consultations by year
Text version - Figure 2
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
423 403 353 490 524 513 431 381 438 511 591

Although there was a 16% increase in total consultations received from the previous year, the number of pages received for review decreased by 1,100 pages. 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

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 2017-2018, the Department responded to 61% of consultations (337) from other government institutions in 30 days or less. Twenty-five percent of consultations (136) were responded to in 15 days or less. These numbers are consistent with the 2016-2017 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.

5.3 Recommendations and Completion Time for Consultations received from other Organizations

A total of 2 consultation requests from a third-party organization were completed by PCO during 2017-2018. One was completed in under 30 days and the other was completed in 61 to 120 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 Confidentiality Legal Unit (CCLU). 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 2017-2018, PCO ATIP consulted with PCO CCLU for the review and certification of Cabinet confidences contained in government records. PCO ATIP sent 103 consultations to PCO CCLU in the reporting period, slightly down from the 113 in 2016-2017.

Part 7 – Complaints and Investigations

7.1 Complaints

In the 2017-2018 reporting period, 106 complaints were submitted to the OIC. This number includes requests that were received in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. This is an increase from the 81 complaints that were filed in the 2016-2017 reporting period. 

Complaints from the media, historically the largest requester of PCO records, have been reduced by 90% over the past eight fiscal years, from 119 in 2009-2010 to 12 in 2017-2018. This was achieved despite an 84% increase in the volume of requests over that time period (429 requests in 2009-2010 vs. 792 requests in 2017-2018).

In the 2017-2018 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 2017-2018 is as follows:

  • 41 or 39% – Public;
  • 40 or 38%– Academia;
  • 12 or 11% – Media;
  • 5 or 4.5% – Organizations;
  • 5 or 4.5% – Business;
  • 2 or 2% – Parliament (members of the House of Commons or Senate); and
  • 1 or 1% – Lawyer.

By the end of the reporting period for 2017-2018, PCO closed 47 complaints. Of these closed complaints, 28% were discontinued, 15% were resolved, 36% were deemed to be well founded, and 21% 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 2017-2018 reporting period, no investigations were undertaken in relation to PCO ATIP by the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada.

Part 8 – Court Action

In 2017-2018, no court actions involving PCO were initiated by the OIC in regard to the ATIA. There is one ongoing court action from 2015-2016.

Part 9 – Resources related to the Access to Information Act

9.1 Costs

Salary costs associated with administration of the ATIA were $1,742,311 for 2017-2018, up from $1,332,971 in 2016-2017. Overtime costs totalled $24,107, down from $51,705 in 2016-2017. Goods and services amounted to $87,654, down from $355,988 in the previous fiscal year. PCO did not contract any professional services in 2017-2018 which accounts for the significant reduction in the total costs for Goods and Services. Total costs were $1,854,072 up from $1,740,664 in 2016-2017. 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. Moreover, the Professional Developmental Program launched in the 2017-2018 fiscal year boosts the retention of employees by encouraging them to learn and grow within the team from the PM-01 level to the PM-04 level. Taken with the successful hiring of students, the program will contribute to the recruitment and professional development of qualified analysts within the PCO ATIP team for years to come.  PCO human resources capacity for the 2017-2018 reporting period was 29 full-time equivalent employees as shown in the chart below. This is an increase in resources over the 21.46 FTEs of the previous year, and reflects the tight labour market and employment opportunities available to ATIP professionals across government.

Human resources (FTEs)
Text version - Figure 3
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
19.96 21.66 29

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: 2017-2018 Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-03-31

Part 1 - Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests
Number of requests
Received during reporting period
792
Outstanding from previous reporting period
241
Total
1,033
Closed during reporting period
769
Carried over to next reporting period
264
1.2 Sources of requests
Source
Number of Requests
Media
290
Academia
67
Business (Private Sector)
160
Organization
73
Public
202
Decline to Identify
0
Total
792
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
15
27
115
164
47
0
0
368

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 7 7 5 0 0 0 19
Disclosed in part 1 78 98 142 117 36 0 472
All exempted 0 3 4 7 19 27 0 60
All excluded 1 3 3 5 2 0 0 14
No records exist 28 140 2 0 0 1 0 171
Request transferred 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Request abandoned 22 6 0 1 1 1 0 31
Neither confirmed or denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 54 237 114 160 139 65 0 769
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of requests
13(1)(a) 12
13(1)(b) 0
13(1)(c) 6
13(1)(d) 0
13(1)(e) 0
14 136
14(a) 0
14(b) 1
15(1) 261
15(1) - I.A.* 0
15(1) - Def.* 0
15(1) - S.A.* 0
16(1)(a)(i) 0
16(1)(a)(ii) 0
16(1)(a)(iii) 0
16(1)(b) 1
16(1)(c) 1
16(1)(d) 0
16(2) 212
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 0
16(2)(c) 1
16(3) 0
16.1(1)(a) 0
16.1(1)(b) 2
16.1(1)(c) 0
16.1(1)(d) 1
16.2(1) 0
16.3 0
16.4(1)(a) 0
16.4(1)(b) 0
16.5 0
17 8
18(a) 5
18(b) 21
18(c) 0
18(d) 4
18.1(1)(a) 5
18.1(1)(b) 4
18.1(1)(c) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 464
20(1)(a) 8
20(1)(b) 46
20(1)(b.1) 1
20(1)(c) 102
20(1)(d) 16
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 174
21(1)(b) 285
21(1)(c) 30
21(1)(d) 21
22 5
22.1(1) 0
23 121
24(1) 37
26 0
* I.A.: International Affairs, Def.: Defence of Canada, 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) 23
69(1)(b) 0
69(1)(c) 15
69(1)(d) 6
69(1)(e) 49
69(1)(f) 5
69(1)(g) re (a) 64
69(1)(g) re (b) 0
69(1)(g) re (c) 65
69(1)(g) re (d) 17
69(1)(g) re (e) 49
69(1)(g) re (f) 20
69.1(1) 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition
Paper
Electronic
Other formats
All disclosed 13 6 0
Disclosed in part 153 319 0
Total 166 325 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 1,209 1,209 19
Disclosed in part 168,485 87,473 472
All exempted 58,365 0 60
All excluded 1,640 0 14
Request abandoned 2,039 243 31
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 17 334 1 182 1 693 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 265 5,924 139 22,569 32 14,671 32 35,922 4 8,387
All exempted 12 0 16 0 10 0 22 0 0 0
All excluded 11 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Request abandoned 26 0 4 144 1 99 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 331 6,258 162 22,895 44 15,463 55 35,922 4 8,387
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition
Consultation required
Assessment of fees
Legal advice sought
Other
Total
All disclosed 2 0 0 0 2
Disclosed in part 238 0 29 0 267
All exempted 48 0 2 0 50
All excluded 12 0 0 0 12
Request abandoned 3 0 0 0 3
Neither confirmd nor denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 303 0 31 0 334
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
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 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 10 0 0 2
Disclosed in part 309 84 120 51
All exempted 51 16 30 5
All excluded 7 12 0 0
No records exist 3 0 1 0
Request abandoned 1 1 2 2
Total 381 113 153 60
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 106 0 0 1
31 to 60 days 49 2 25 6
61 to 120 days 117 58 74 24
121 to 180 days 84 39 40 18
181 to 365 days 24 14 14 11
365 days or more 1 0 0 0
Total 381 113 153 60

Part 4: Fees

Fee Type
Fee Collected
Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of requests
Amount
Number of requests
Amount
Application
762
$3,750
12
$60
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
762
$3,750
12
$60

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 589 30,992 2 241
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 40 14,506 0 0
Total 629 45,498 2 241
Closed during the reporting period 553 21,942 2 241
Pending at the end of the reporting period 76 23,556 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 81 57 26 2 0 0 0 166
Disclose in part 50 132 110 42 9 4 2 349
Exempt entirely 2 8 3 6 4 1 0 24
Exclude entirely 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Consult other institution 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 5
Other 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 8
Total 136 201 144 52 13 5 2 553
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
1
0
1
0
0
0
2
Exempt entirely
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Exclude entirely
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Consult other institution
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Other
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Total
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
2

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 25 207 3 36 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 11 100 4 378 0 0 1 163 0 0
31 to 60 25 334 7 270 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 6 129 12 628 1 247 1 0 0 0
121 to 180 2 5 2 104 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 1 49 2 70 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 70 824 30 1,486 1 247 2 163 0 0

Part 7 - Complaints and investigations

Section 32
Section 35
Section 37
Total
106
11
1
118

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
$1,742,311
Overtime
$24,107
Goods and Services
$87,654
• Professional services contracts
$5,384
 
• Other
$82,270
 
Total
$1,854,072
9.2 Human resources
Resources
Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees
22.00
Part-time and casual employees
1.00
Regional staff
0.00
Consultants and agency personnel
0.00
Students
5.00
Total
28.00

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 2017-2018 reporting period are as follows:

  • 12 under s. 13(1)(a) – information obtained in confidence from the government of a foreign state or institution
  • 6 under s. 13(1)(c) – information obtained in confidence from the government of a province or institution
  • 136 under s. 14 – information related to federal-provincial affairs
  • 1 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
  • 261 under s. 15(1) – information related to international affairs
  • 1 under s. 16(1)(b) – information relating to investigative techniques or plans for specific lawful investigations
  • 1 under s. 16(1)(c) – information related to law enforcement and investigations, including civil investigations and administrative investigations
  • 212 under s. 16(2) – information related to security methods
  • 1 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
  • 2 under s. 16.1(1)(b) – records related to investigations by the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada
  • 1 under s. 16.1(1)(d) – records related to investigations by the Privacy Commissioner
  • 8 under s. 17 – safety of individuals, including the identity of police informants and the victims of violence or acts of threats or intimidation
  • 5 under s. 18(a) – trade secrets or financial, commercial, scientific or technical information that belongs to the Government of Canada
  • 21 under s. 18(b) – information which could prejudice the competitive position of a government institution
  • 4 under s. 18(d) – information materially injurious to the financial interests of a government institution or to the economic interests of Canada
  • 5 under s. 18.1(1)(a) – records related to the economic interests of the Canada Post Corporation
  • 4 under s. 18.1(1)(b) – records related to the economic interests of Export Development Canada
  • 464 under s. 19(1) – personal information
  • 8 under s. 20(1)(a) – trade secrets of a third party
  • 46 under s. 20(1)(b) – financial, commercial, scientific or technical information supplied to a government institution in confidence by a third party
  • 1 under s. 20(1)(b.1) – third party information related to emergency management plans
  • 102 under s. 20(1)(c) – information that could result in material financial loss or gain to a third party
  • 16 under s. 20(1)(d) – information which could interfere with the negotiations of a third party
  • 174 under s. 21(1)(a) – advice or recommendations developed by or for a government institution or minister
  • 285 under s. 21(1)(b) – consultations or deliberations related to operations of government
  • 30 under s. 21(1)(c) – positions or plans developed for negotiations by the Government of Canada
  • 21 under s. 21(1)(d) – plans for the management of a government institution that have not yet been put into operation
  • 5 under s. 22 – information relating to testing or auditing procedures or techniques
  • 121 under s. 23 – information subject to solicitor-client privilege
  • 37 under s. 24(1) – information restricted by or pursuant to any provision set out in Schedule II of the ATIA

Exemptions not invoked

The following exemptions were not invoked by PCO during the 2017-2018 reporting period:

  • s. 13(1)(b) – information obtained in confidence from an international organization of states or an institution
  • 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. 14(a) – information expected to be injurious to the government’s federal-provincial affairs, specifically, federal-provincial consultations or deliberations
  • s. 15(1) I.A. – information relating to communications and the conduct of international affairs
  • s. 15(1) Def. – information related to communications and the defence of Canada
  • s. 15(1) S.A. – information which could compromise the prevention of subversive activities
  • 16(1)(a)(i) – government records related to the detection, prevention or suppression of crime
  • s. 16(1)(a)(ii) – government records related to the enforcement of any law of Canada or a province
  • s. 16(1)(a)(iii) – government records related to activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada
  • s. 16(1)(d) – information the disclosure of which could compromise the security of penal institutions
  • s. 16(2)(a) – information which could facilitate the commission of a crime such as crime methods or techniques
  • 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)(c) – records related to investigations by the Information Commissioner
  • s. 16.2(1) – records related to investigations by the Commissioner of Lobbying
  • 16.3 – records related to investigations under the Canada Elections Act
  • 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. 16.5 – records related to a disclosure under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act
  • 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 – 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
  • s. 22.1(1) records containing a draft report of an internal audit of a government institution
  • s. 26 – records which will be published by a government institution within ninety days after the request is made

Exclusions cited

The total numbers of requests for which specific exclusions were cited during the 2017-2018 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
  • 23 under s. 69(1)(a) – memoranda to Cabinet
  • 15 under s. 69(1)(c) – agenda and records of Cabinet deliberations
  • 6 under s. 69(1)(d) – records of communication between Ministers  
  • 49 under s. 69(1)(e) – records used to brief ministers of the Crown
  • 5 under s. 69(1)(f) – draft legislation
  • 64 under s. 69(1)(g) re (a) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(a)
  • 65 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)
  • 49 under s. 69(1)(g) re (e) – records that contain information about records referred to in s. 69(1)(e)
  • 20 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 2017-2018 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)(b) – discussion papers
  • 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
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: