ARCHIVED - Annual Report 2009-2010 Access to Information Act


from the
Public Health Agency of Canada
on the
Access to Information Act
for the period
of April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010

To promote and protect the health of Canadians through leadership, partnership,
innovation and action in public health.
Public Health Agency of Canada

Annual Report 2009-2010
Access to Information Act
is available on the Internet at the following address:

Également disponible en français sous le titre :
Rapport annuel 2009-2010
sur la Loi sur l'accès à l'information

To obtain additional copies, please contact:
Access to Information and Privacy Office
Public Health Agency of Canada
130 Colonnade Road, A.L. 6503F
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Tel: (613) 948-8187 Fax: (613) 957-9093

This publication can be made available in alternative formats upon request.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2010

Cat.: / ISBN:
Online Cat.: / Online ISBN:

Table of Contents

Section 1: Introduction

The Access to Information Act (Revised Statues of Canada, Chapter A-1, 1985) was proclaimed on July 1, 1983. The Act has been amended as a result of the royal assessment of the Federal Accountability Act on December 12, 2006. Certain provisions came into force on December 12, 2006 and others took effect on April 1, 2007 and September 1, 2007.

The Access to Information Act (ATIA) gives Canadian citizens and individuals present in Canada a broad right of access to information contained in government records subject to certain specific and limited exceptions.

Section 72 of the ATIA requires that the head of every government institution prepare for submission to Parliament an annual report on the administration of the Act within the institution for each financial year.

This Annual Report provides a summary of the management and administration of the ATIA within the Public Health Agency of Canada for the fiscal year 2009-2010.

For further information or to make a request under the Access to Information Act, please direct your inquiries to:

Access to Information and Privacy Office
Public Health Agency of Canada
130 Colonnade Road
A.L. 6503F
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K9

Tel: (613) 948-8187
Fax: (613) 957-9093

1.1 Background on the Agency

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is the main Government of Canada agency responsible for public health in Canada. PHAC’s primary goal is to strengthen Canada’s capacity to protect and improve the health of Canadians and to help reduce pressures on the health-care system. To do this, the Agency is working to build an effective public health system that enables Canadians to achieve better health and well-being in their daily lives by promoting good health, helping prevent and control chronic diseases and injury, and protecting Canadians from infectious diseases and other threats to their health. PHAC is also committed to reducing health disparities between the most advantaged and disadvantaged Canadians.

Because public health is a shared responsibility, the PHAC works in close collaboration with all levels of government (provincial, territorial and municipal) to build on each others’ skills and strengths. The Agency also works closely with non-government organizations, including civil society and business, and other countries and international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) to share knowledge, expertise and experiences.

The PHAC was established in September 2004, in part as a response to the SARS outbreak in 2003, and was confirmed as a legal entity in December 2006 by the Public Health Agency of Canada Act .

PHAC is one of six departments and agencies that make up the federal government’s Health Portfolio and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Health. PHAC is managed by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, currently Dr. David Butler-Jones, who plays a dual role:

Deputy minister in the federal public service, heading the Agency and advising the Minister of Health on matters of public health and the function of the Agency; and

Lead federal public health professional tasked with communicating directly with Canadians and governments on important public health matters.

Further, as of September 4, 2009, the Prime Minister of Canada, appointed Ms. Mary Chaput as Associate Deputy Minister to the CPHO. The Associate Deputy Minister shares the responsibility of Agency accountability with the CPHO and focuses her efforts internally within the Agency and within government.

The PHAC consists of two branches, led by a senior assistant deputy minister and three assistant deputy ministers. Three other PHAC executives report directly to the Chief Public Health Officer: the Senior Science Advisor, the Chief Audit Executive, and the Chief Financial Officer.

To maintain the knowledge and skills needed to develop and deliver the public health advice and tools required by Canadians, the Agency relies on the efforts of its dedicated staff. PHAC’s approximately 2,400 employees work across Canada in a wide range of operational, scientific, technical and administrative positions.

Public health focuses on the entire population at both the individual and the community level. It encompasses a range of activities performed by all three levels of government (federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal) in collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders and communities across the country.

The role of the Public Health Agency of Canada is to:

Promote health; Prevent and control chronic diseases and injuries; Prevent and control infectious diseases; Prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, and Strengthen public health capacity in a manner consistent with a shared understanding of the determinants of health and of the common factors that maintain health or lead to disease and injury.

Through our research, programs and services, our goals are to bring about healthier Canadians, reduced health disparities, and a stronger capacity to deliver on and support public health activities.

The Minister of Health is the designated head of the Agency for the purposes of Section 73 of the Access to Information Act. The Minister has delegated full authority for the administration of the Act to the ATIP Director/Coordinator.

1.2 Values Guiding the PHAC's Actions

In serving Parliament and Canadians, the PHAC is guided by and proudly adheres to the following organizational values:

1.3 Access to Information Activities

The PHAC has a Director/Coordinator of Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) that is responsible and accountable for the development, coordination and implementation of effective policies, guidelines, systems and procedures to enable the efficient processing of requests under the ATIA.

The Director/Coordinator is also responsible for related policy, systems and procedures emanating from the Act, such as the government's policy on information collection.

The activities of the Director/Coordinator include:

  • processing requests made under the ATIA;
  • acting as spokesperson for the PHAC in dealings with the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Information Commissioner, and other government departments and agencies related to the ATIA;
  • responding to consultation requests submitted by other federal institutions for PHAC documents;
  • reviewing and approving information collection in accordance with the Government Policy on Information Collection;
  • preparing the annual report to Parliament and other statutory reports, as well as other material that may be required by central agencies;
  • developing policies, procedures and guidelines for the orderly implementation of the ATIA by the PHAC;
  • promoting awareness to ensure the PHAC's responsiveness to the obligations of the ATIA;
  • monitoring the PHAC's compliance with the ATIA, regulations and relevant procedures and policies; and
  • providing, to PHAC employees, advice and awareness sessions on the provisions of the ATIA and Treasury Board policies and their impact on various program initiatives.

Of note, the entire Agency was mobilized in order to support the response to the H1N1 pandemic. This also caused a significant increase in related ATI requests further taxing the ATIP Office resources and adding to the workload of the programs who were responding to the outbreak.

1.4 Info Source

During the fiscal year, a Full assessment was conducted by the Treasury Board Secretariat for the PHAC, as part of the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) leading to the changes in the Info Source introduction, to better reflect the PHAC's Program Activity Architecture (PAA). Over the coming years, with resources permitting, the PHAC will continue the work on revamping its Info Source Chapter to re-align the classes of records and personal information banks to reflect the PAA. Individualized training and mentoring to program representatives will continue to be provided in order to ensure a complete Info Source.

1.5 Training, Education and Accomplishments for 2009-2010

The Access to Information and Privacy Office (ATIPO) continued to provide advice and training on the provisions of the Access to Information and Privacy Acts and its impact on PHAC programs and initiatives:

  • Three (3) general presentations on Access to Information and Privacy were delivered to over 50 employees of PHAC;
  • streamlined procedures to better assist OPI with their retrieval processes to ensure that established timelines are respected;
  • participated on various interdepartmental working groups; and
  • initiated staffing actions in order to fill vacant positions in the ATIPO.

However, because of the priority given to the management of access to information and privacy files (both formal and informal), and because of a high surge in the number of these requests, mostly due to the H1N1 Pandemic (+85.7% of formal access to information requests, and +90.9% of formal privacy requests), the Director/Coordinator had to prioritize work on these files, and had to cancel training to PHAC’s staff and other activities in order to deliver the access to information and privacy programs.

1.6 Upcoming Initiatives for the PHAC ATIP Office

In 2010-2011, PHAC ATIP Director/Coordinator intends to implement the following initiatives:

  • create an ATIP Office procedures manual;
  • continue to review of best management practices for program delivery at regional and headquarters level;
  • introduce a Recruitment and Retention Program for employees which includes succession planning and classification review;
  • acquisition of an electronic tracking and processing software that will improve the efficiency of the overall operation of the ATIP Office;
  • continue to staff the ATIP Office; and
  • update PHAC Info Source chapter and related information.

1.7 Delegation of Authority

The responsibilities associated with the administration of the ATIA, such as notifying applicants of extensions and transferring requests to other institutions, are delegated to the PHAC ATIP Director/Coordinator through a delegation instrument signed by the Minister of Health Canada.

A detailed delegation instrument is reproduced at Appendix A.

1.8 Highlights and Accomplishments for 2009-2010

The PHAC has continued to improve the way in which the Agency responds to ATIP requests, by focusing on improving timeliness, efficiency and accuracy. The PHAC ATIP Director/Coordinator implemented concrete measures in FY 2009-2010 that allowed the Agency to achieve these goals, and the Agency will continue to build on these improvements over the next three years. Some of the highlights are as follows:

  • The Agency's Management Committee was briefed on the status of the Agency's information holdings as well as its obligations. The Committee agreed that the Agency would continue registering required standard banks, ADMs would review the entries in Info Source to validate their currency, and the Agency would respect statutory requirements in relation to any new program activities from this point forward.
  • The PHAC ATIP Director/Coordinator has further engaged ADMs around timeliness of responding to ATIP requests through weekly reporting to senior management and quarterly reporting on meeting retrieval deadlines by Branch.
  • Despite a significant increase in consultations during this past year, the Agency has remained committed to on-time performance in the face of the continued high volume of requests.

Section 2: Report on the administration of the Access to Information Act

The number of requests received under the ATIA has increased since last year. From April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010, the PHAC received 208 new requests while the previous year, in 2008-2009, it received 112 requests.

Appendix B provides a statistical summary of the access to information requests received and/or finalized in 2009-2010.

2.1 Requests Made under the Access to Information Act

As in previous years, the requests completed covered the entire gamut of the PHAC's activities.

Received during the reporting period
Outstanding from previous period

As was the case last year, the preferred method of access reported by the PHAC, as well as by departments and agencies throughout the federal government, is to receive copies of government records as opposed to simply view them.

Historical comparisons
  2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010
Requests received 119 112 208
Requests completed 103 110 160

2.2 Sources of Requests Received

The majority of requests came from the media (113) and business (62) followed by those made by the public (31). The remaining requests came from organizations (2).

2.3 Disposition of Requests Completed

The Agency finalized the 160 requests cited in Appendix B in the following manner:

  • 36 requests resulted in the release of all information sought.
  • 61 requests resulted in partial disclosures. Section 21 was the most invoked section of the ATIA.
  • In 24 requests, no relevant records existed under the control of the agency.
  • 39 requests were abandoned. Requests are considered abandoned when the applicant formally withdraws the request or when he/she does not respond to correspondence sent by ATIPO.

Pages Examined 298,098

Pages Released 15,345

2.4 Exemptions Invoked

As noted in Appendix B, exemptions under sections 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, and 24 of the Act were invoked by PHAC. Appendix B is intended to show the number of requests where specific types of exemptions were invoked to sever information. For example, if, in processing a request, five different exemptions were applied by PHAC, one exemption under each relevant section would be reported for a total of five. If the same exemption is claimed several times for the same request, it is reported only once in Appendix B.

2.5 Exclusions Cited

The Act does not apply to published material pursuant to section 68 and to confidences of the Queen's Privy Council pursuant to section 69. Appendix B also shows the number of requests where exclusions were invoked. Similar to the above, if under one request, two different exclusions were claimed, one exclusion, under each relevant section, would be reported for a total of two. If the same exclusion is applied several times for the same request, it is reported only once in Appendix B.

2.6 Extension of Time Limits

Section 9 of the Act provides for the extension of the statutory time limits if consultations are necessary or the request is for a large volume of records and processing the request within the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the Agency. During the reporting period, 93 requests were within 30 days, 18 requests were extended for 30 days, and another 49 requests required extensions for more than 60 days.

2.7 Completion Time

This year, 160 requests were completed, of which 133 (83.1%) of the requests were completed within the prescribed legislative time frame:

  • 9 requests (5.6%) were completed 1-30 days after due date;
  • 10 requests (6.3%) were completed 31-60 days after due date;
  • 6 requests (3.8%) were completed 61-90 days after due date;
  • 1 request (0.6%) was completed 91-120 days after due date; and
  • 1 request (0.6%) was completed over 120 days after due date.

2.8 Fees

The fees collected during the reporting period totalled $2,272.20. In accordance with government policy, it is the Agency’s practice to waive photocopies fees where the total owing per requests amounts to less than $25.

2.9 Costs

Total salary costs associated with the ATIA were $309,248.70 for 2009-2010. Other administrative costs amounted to $61,947.80 for a total of $371,196.50. The associated employee resources for 2009-2010 are estimated at 4.03 FTEs for administering the ATIA. These numbers are for the ATIP PHAC Office and do not reflect the overall associated cost to the Agency.

2.10 Complaints

15 complaints regarding requests addressed to the PHAC were lodged with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) during this reporting period.

  • 6 complaints claimed that PHAC took an unreasonable extension of time. 1 of these complaints was abandoned, another 1 was considered not well founded by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC). The other investigations are still ongoing.
  • 4 complaints alleged that the fees charged for the processing of these requests are unreasonable. No conclusion has been reached yet by the OIC in these files.
  • 3 complaints alleged refusal of access to records. In 1 file, the OIC reached the conclusion that the complaint was not well founded. The other investigations are still ongoing.
  • 2 complaints alleged that more records should exist. These investigations are still ongoing.

2.11 Court applications and appeals

In 2009-2010, there were no court applications / appeals submitted to the Federal Court or Federal Court of Appeal.

Section 3: Report on Access to Information Consultations and Informal Requests

3.1 Access to Information Consultations

The PHAC received 89 requests for consultations from other government departments and agencies. These requests amounted to a review of over 2,379 pages of information. After a thorough review of the files, the PHAC determined that in 7 of the 77 requests (completed over the course of the reporting period), information pertaining to the PHAC could be released in full.

Pages Examined 2,379

3.2 Informal Access to Information Requests

There were 141 informal requests processed during this reporting period.

Pages Examined 2,206

APPENDIX A: Delegation Order – Access to Information Act

Access to Information Act - Delegation Order
Text Equivalent

Access to Information Act - Delegation Order

Pursuant to the power of delegation conferred upon me by Section 73 of the Access to Information Act, the person exercising the functions and position of Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator for the Public Health Agency of Canada and the respective successor, including in the Coordinator's absence, a person or officer designated in writing to act in the place of the holder of such functions and position is hereby authorized to exercise these powers, duties or functions of the Minister as the head of the government institution under the Act, set out in the attached schedule.

The person exercising the functions and position of Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator for the Public Health Agency of Canada and the respective successor, including in the coordinator's absence, a person or officer designated in writing to act in the place of the holder of such functions and position, is hereby authorized to exercise these powers, duties or functions of the Minister as the head of the government institution under the Act, set out in sections 6, 8, 9 and 10 of the Act.

Public Health Agency of Canada Schedule of Delegation Order

Delegation of powers, duties and functions pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act
Sections of Act Powers, Duties or Functions Responsible Position
6 Clarify a request ATIP Co-ordinator
7 (a) Issue notice where access requested ATIP Co-ordinator
8 (1) Transfer to another institution or to accept transfer from another institution ATIP Co-ordinator
9 Extension of time limits ATIP Co-ordinator
11 (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) Additional fees and waiver of fees ATIP Co-ordinator
12 (2), (3) Language of access ATIP Co-ordinator
13 Refuse to disclose information obtained in confidence ATIP Co-ordinator
14 Refusal to disclose information pertaining to federal-provincial affairs ATIP Co-ordinator
15 Refuse to disclose information pertaining to international affairs and/or defence ATIP Co-ordinator
16 Refuse to disclose information pertaining to law enforcement and investigations ATIP Co-ordinator
17 Refuse to disclose information pertaining to the safety of individuals ATIP Co-ordinator
18 Refuse to disclose information pertaining to the economic interest of Canada ATIP Co-ordinator
19 Refuse to disclose personal information ATIP Co-ordinator
19 (2)(a)(b)(c) Disclose personal information when authorized ATIP Co-ordinator
20 Refuse to disclose or disclose third party information ATIP Co-ordinator
21 Refuse to disclose information pertaining to advice and recommendations for the government institution ATIP Co-ordinator
22 Refuse to disclose information pertaining to testing procedures ATIP Co-ordinator
23 Refuse to disclose information subject to solicitor-client privilege ATIP Co-ordinator
24 Refuse to disclose information subject to statutory prohibitions ATIP Co-ordinator
25 Sever information ATIP Co-ordinator
26 Refuse to disclose information to be published ATIP Co-ordinator
27 (1)(4) Carry-out third party notification ATIP Co-ordinator
28(1)(2)(4) Receive third party representation; make a decision as to whether to disclose the record or part thereof and notify the third party of the right to appeal to the Federal court ATIP Co-ordinator
29(1) Disclose inforamtion on the recommendation of the Information Commissioner ATIP Co-ordinator
33 Advise the Information Commissioner of third party involvement ATIP Co-ordinator
35(2) Make representations to the Information Commissioner during an investigation ATIP Co-ordinator
37(4) Give access to records ATIP Co-ordinator
43(1) Issue a notice to a third party of an application for Court review ATIP Co-ordinator
44(2) Issue a notice to an applicant that a third party has applied for Court review ATIP Co-ordinator
52(2)(3) Request special rules for hearings ATIP Co-ordinator
69 Refuse to disclose Cabinet confidences ATIP Co-ordinator
71(2) Refuse to disclose information from manuals ATIP Co-ordinator
72(1) Prepare an Annual Report to Parliament ATIP Co-ordinator
77 Carry out responsibilities conferred on the head of the institution by the regulations made under section 77 which are not included above ATIP Co-ordinator

APPENDIX B: Statistical Report - Access to Information Act

Report on the Access to Information Act
Text Equivalent

Report on the Access to Information Act

Institution: Public Health Agency of Canada
Reporting period: 4/1/2009 to 3/31/2010
Media: 113
Academia: 0
Business: 62
Organization: 2
Public: 31

I - Request under the Access to Information Act

Received during reporting period: 208
Outstanding from previous period: 18
TOTAL: 226
Completed during reporting period: 160
Carried forward: 66

II - Disposition of Requests Completed

  1. All disclosed: 36
  2. Disclosed in part: 61
  3. Nothing disclosed (excluded): 0
  4. Nothing disclosed (exempt): 0
  5. Transferred: 0
  6. Unable to process: 24
  7. Abandoned by applicant: 39
  8. treated informally: 0

TOTAL: 160

III - Exemptions Invoked

S. Art. 13(1)(a): 5
(b): 1
(c): 3
(d): 0

S. Art. 14: 7

S. Art. 15(1) International rel.: 0

Defence: 3

Subversive activities: 0

S. Art. 16(1)(a): 1
(b): 0
(c): 1
(d): 0
S. Art. 16(2): 6
S. Art. 16(3): 0

S. Art. 17: 2

S. Art. 18(a): 0
(b): 0
(c): 0
(d): 0

S. Art. 19(1): 53

S. Art. 20(1)(a): 4
(b): 10
(c): 14
(d): 4

S. Art. 21(1)(a): 17
(b): 11
(c): 7
(d): 8

S. Art. 22: 0

S. Art. 23: 1

S. Art. 24: 3

S. Art. 26: 0

IV - Exclusions Cited

S. Art. 68(a): 0
(b): 0
(c): 0

S. Art 69(1)(a): 2
(b): 0
(c): 0
(d): 0
(e): 0
(f): 0
(g): 1

V - Completion Time

30 days or under: 93
31 to 60 days: 18
61 to 120 days: 25
121 days or over: 24

VI - Extensions

  30 days or under 31 days or over
Searching 20 18
Consultation 1 17
Third party 0 14
TOTAL 21 49

VII - Translations

Translations requested: 0

Translations prepared

English to French: 0
French to English: 0

VIII - Method of access

Copies given: 79
Examination: 0
Copies and examination: 18

IX - Fees

Net fees collected

Application fees: $990.00
Reproduction: $472.20
Searching: $100.00
Preparation: $710.00
Computer processing: $0.00
TOTAL: $2,272.20

Fees waived No. of times $
$25.00 or under 38 $255.80
Over $25.00 34 $2,535.40

X - Costs

Financial (all reasons) ($000)

Salary: 309,248.7
Administration (O and M): 67,947.8
TOTAL: 377,196.5

Person year utilization (all reasons)

Person year (decimal format): 4.03


No deviations are reported.

APPENDIX C: Supplemental Reporting Requirements - Access to Information Act

Additional Reporting Requirements
Access to Information Act

In addition to the reporting requirements addressed in form TBS/SCT 350-62 "Report on the Access to Information Act" institutions are required to report on the following using this form:

Part III - Exemptions invoked
Section 13
Subsection 13(e): 0

Section 14
Subsections 14(a): 4
14(b): 1

Part IV - Exclusions cited:
Subsection 69.1 (1): 0

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