2012-2013 Annual Report on the Administration of the Access to Information Act

Posted on : Monday 15 July 2013

Introduction

The Access to Information Act (hereafter the “Act”) gives Canadian citizens, as well as individuals and corporations present in Canada, the right to access federal government records that are not of a personal nature. The public’s right of access to information is balanced against the legitimate need to protect sensitive information and to permit effective functioning of government, while promoting transparency and accountability in government institutions.
The Act complements but does not replace other procedures for obtaining government information. It is not intended to limit in any way access to government information normally available to the public upon request.
Section 72 of the Act requires the head of every government institution to submit an annual report to Parliament on the administration of the Act during the fiscal year. This report describes how the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) administered the Act throughout fiscal year 2012-2013.

Overview of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service

In 1984, the Government of Canada passed an Act of Parliament for the creation of a civilian security intelligence service. This legislation not only gave birth to CSIS, it also clarified the differences between security intelligence activities and law-enforcement work, bringing to an end the 120-year interlocking of Canada's security intelligence service with the federal police force. CSIS came into existence on July 16, 1984.
CSIS is at the forefront of Canada's national security establishment and as such, its programs are proactive and pre-emptive. Its role is to investigate threats, analyze information and produce intelligence. CSIS reports to, and advises, the Government of Canada so as to protect the country and its citizens. Key threats include terrorism, espionage, foreign interference, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and cyber-threats against critical information systems and infrastructure.

Through its Security Screening Program, CSIS provides advice that prevents non-Canadians who pose security concerns from entering Canada or receiving permanent resident status or citizenship. CSIS also helps prevent individuals of security concern from gaining access to Canadian information, assets, sites or events.

The Access to Information and Privacy Section

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Section reports to the Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Partnerships via the Director General, Litigation and Disclosure Branch. The ATIP Section has an establishment of 15 employees to fulfill the Service’s obligations under the Access to Information and Privacy Acts. The CSIS Legal Services Branch provides legal advice as required.
When fully staffed, the ATIP Section is comprised of a Chief ATIP, a Deputy Chief, three unit Heads, nine Analysts and one Officer. All staff in the ATIP Section are fully dedicated to the administration of the ATIP program within CSIS, providing high-quality and timely responses to our clients. During this reporting period, 13 positions were filled. One Unit Head position was vacant as was one analyst position.

Listed below are the ATP Section’s responsibilities vis-à-vis the Access to Information Act:

  • receive and process all requests in accordance to the Act;
  • assist requesters in formulating their requests when required;
  • gather all pertinent records and ensure that the search for information is rigorous and complete;
  • assess fees;
  • conduct the initial record review and provide recommendations to the program areas;
  • conduct all internal and external consultations;
  • consolidate the recommendations;
  • apply all discretionary and mandatory exemptions under the Act;
  • assist the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) in all access to information related matters including complaints against the Service;
  • represent the Service in access to information litigation cases;
  • coordinate the annual Info Source update and submission to Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS);
  • prepare the annual report on the administration of Act;
  • provide ongoing advice and guidance to senior management and departmental staff on all matters related to the access to information program;
  • promote access to information awareness and training sessions within the department to ensure all staff are aware of the obligations imposed by the legislation;
  • monitor departmental compliance with the Act, regulations and relevant procedures and policies;
  • respond to consultations received from external organizations;
  • maintain the Service’s public reading room;
  • develop and maintain access to information policies and guidelines;
  • participate in ATIP community activities, such as the annual Canadian Access and Privacy Association (CAPA) conference, TBS ATIP community meetings and various working groups; and
  • ensure that all TBS Management Accountability Framework (MAF) expectations for the Access to Information and Privacy Acts are met.

Delegation of Authority

In accordance with section 73 of the Access to Information Act, a delegation order signed by the Minister of Public Safety Canada designates the persons holding the positions of Director of CSIS, the Assistant Director Policy and Strategic Partnerships, the Director General Litigation and the Chief ATIP to exercise and perform the duties of the Minister as head of the institution. The order was issued on September 27, 2011, by the Minister of Public Safety Canada, the Honourable   Vic Toews.

Number of Requests

During this reporting period, CSIS received a total of 488 requests. In addition, 46 requests were carried over from the previous reporting period for a total of 534 requests. Of these, 473 were completed and 61 were carried over to the next reporting period.  The subject matter of the requests covered mainly Intelligence Reports and Security Threat Assessments.
A total of 290 consultations were received from other government organizations, 79 consultations were carried over from the previous reporting period for a total of 369 consultations. Of these, 316 were completed and 53 were carried over to the next reporting period.

The following table outlines the cycle of ATI requests at CSIS for the last three years.

Fiscal Year

2012-2013

2011-2012

2010-2011

Requests Received

488

229

263

Requests Carried Over

46

36

33

Requests Completed

473

219

260

Consultations Received

290

325

257

Informal Requests

245

3

0

Sources of Requests

Of the 488 new requests received, 162 came from the media, 37 from academia, 36 from business, 3 from organization and 250 from the public.
The following represents a breakdown of the sources of requests received during the fiscal year:

  • 33% of the requests came from the Media;
  • 8% of the requests came from the Academia;
  • 8% of the requests came from Business;
  • Less than .01% of the requests came from Organizations; and
  • 51% of the requests came from the Public.

Disposition of Completed Requests

The disposition of the 473 requests completed in 2012-2013 was as follows:

  • 4 were fully disclosed;
  • 118 were disclosed in part;
  • 2 were excluded;
  • 2 were transferred;
  • 245 were treated informally;
  • 14 were exempted in their entirety;
  • 65 no records response; and
  • 23 were abandoned.   
The following is a breakdown of the completed requests of the last three fiscal years.

Fiscal Year

2012-2013

2011-2012

2010-2011

All discloseds

4

1

6

Disclosed in part

118

99

86

Excluded

2

0

1

Transferred

2

3

4

Informal

245

3

0

All exempted

14

12

17

No records

65

84

65

Abandoned

23

17

23

Completion Rate

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed the 473 requests within the following time frames:

  • 130 completed in 0 to 15 days;
  • 162 completed in 16 to 30 days;
  • 60 completed in 31 to 60 days;
  • 78 completed in 61 to 120 days;
  • 32 completed in 121 to 180 days;
  • 9 completed in 181 to 365 days; and                         
  • 2 completed over 365 days.

The following is a breakdown of the completion rate:

  • 27% of the requests were completed in 0 to 15 days;
  • 34% of the requests were completed in 16 to 30 days;
  • 13% of the requests were completed in 31 to 60 days;
  • 17% of the requests were completed in 61 to 120 days;
  • 7% of the requests were completed in 121 to 180 days;
  • 2% of the requests were completed in 181 to 365 days; and                        
  • less than 0.05% of the requests were completed over 365 days.

Exemptions Invoked

The ATIP Section invoked exemptions under the Act a total of 565 times, as follows:

  • 45 times under paragraph 13(1)(a) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 3 times under paragraph 13(1)(b) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 11 times under paragraph 13(1)(c) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 5 times under paragraph 13(1)(d) (information obtained in confidence);     
  • 37 times under section 15 (international affairs);
  • 8 times under section 15 (defence of Canada);
  • 139 times under section 15 (subversive activities);
  • 3 times under subparagraph 16(1)(a)(i) (law enforcement and investigations);
  • 15 times under subparagraph16(1)(a)(ii) (law enforcement and investigations);
  • 64 times under subsection 16(1)(a)(iii) (law enforcement and investigations);
  • 13 times under paragraph 16(1)(b) (law enforcement and investigations);
  • 52 times under paragraph 16(1)(c) (law enforcement and investigations);
  • 2 times under paragraph 16(1)(d) (law enforcement and investigations);
  • 7 times under paragraph 16(2)(a) (vulnerabilities);
  • 5 times under paragraph 16(2)(c) (vulnerabilities);
  • 1 time under section 17 (safety of individuals);
  • 1 time under subsection 18(a) (economic interests of Canada);
  • 1 time under subsection 18(d) (economic interests of Canada);
  • 97 times under subsection 19(1) (personal information);
  • 3 times under paragraph 20(1)(b) (third party information);
  • 1 time under paragraph 20(1)(c) (third party information);
  • 1 time under paragraph 20(1)(d) (third party information);
  • 19 times under paragraph 21(1)(a) (advice, etc.);
  • 19 times under paragraph 21(1)(b) (advice, etc.);
  • 2 times under paragraph 21(1)(c) (advice, etc.);
  • 2 times under paragraph 21(1)(d) (advice, etc.);
  • 1 time under section 22 (testing procedures, tests and audits);
  • 1 time under subsection 22.1(1) (internal audits);
  • 9 times under section 23 (solicitor-client privilege); and
  • 17 times under subsection 24(1) (statutory prohibitions against disclosure.

Exclusions Cited

The ATIP Section invoked exclusions under the Act a total of 16 times, as follows:   

  • 1 time under subsection 68(a) (Act does not apply to certain materials) information);
  • 1 time under paragraph 69(1)(a) (confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada);
  • 1 time under paragraph 69(1)(d) (confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada);
  • 3 times under paragraph 69(1)(e) (confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada); and
  • 10 times under paragraph 69(1)(g) (confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada).

Format of Information Released

During this reporting period, the Service disclosed the information in the following format:

  • 112 times paper format; and
  • 10 times in other formats.

Deemed Refusals

Three requests were closed past the statutory deadlines. All three were responded to within 15 days after falling into deemed refusal. They were delayed for other reasons.
Six requests were carried over in deemed refusal.

Translation of Requests

No requests for translation were received.

Extensions

During this reporting period, 87 extensions were taken for the following reasons:

  • 33 extensions under paragraph 9(1)(a) (interference with operations);
  • 2 extensions under paragraph 9(1)(b) (section 69);
  • 48 extensions under paragraph 9(1)(b) (other); and
  • 4 extensions under paragraph 9(1)(c) (third party notice).

Length of Extensions

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed the extensions within the following time frames:

  • 8 completed in 30 days or less;
  • 22 completed in 31 to 60 days;
  • 32 completed in 61 to 120 days;
  • 20 completed in 121 to 180 days;
  • 5 completed in 181 to 365 days; and                         
  • None went over 365 days.

Fees

The Service collected a total of $1,326 in fees. The fees were divided as follows:

  • $1,005 in application fees;
  • $50 for search;
  • $90 for preparation; and
  • $181 in reproduction charges.

A total of $4,455 in fees were waived or refunded:

  • $135 in application fees; and
  • $4,320 in reproduction fees.

Consultations Received from Other Government Institutions

During this reporting period:

  • 290 consultation requests were received;
  • 79 consultation requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period;
  • 316 consultation requests were closed; and
  • 53 consultation requests were carried over to the next reporting period.

A of total of 63,584 pages were reviewed and 12,803 pages were pending review.

Completion Time for Consultations Received from Other Government Institutions

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed the consultations within the following time frames:

  • 41 completed in 0 to 15 days;
  • 74 completed in 16 to 30 days;
  • 62 completed in 31 to 60 days;
  • 48 completed in 61 to 120 days;
  • 32 completed in 121 to 180 days;
  • 47 completed in 181 to 365 days; and                                   
  • 12 completed in more than 365 days.

Consultations Received from Other Organizations

No consultations were received from other organizations.

Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

During this reporting period, 4 consultations responses were received from the Privy Council Office (PCO). One response was received past the deadline. The consultations were completed within the following time;

  • 2 were completed in 0 to 15 days;
  • None were completed in 16 to 30 days;
  • 1 was completed in 31 to 60 days;
  • 1 was completed in 61 to 120 days;
  • None completed in 121 to 180 days;
  • None completed in 181 to 365 days; and                              
  • None took more than 365 days.

Costs Related to the Administration of the Access to Information Act

During the 2012-2013, the ATIP Section incurred an estimated $568,990 in salaries, $651 in overtime costs and $4,305 in goods and services for a total of $573,946.

Other Requests

The ATIP Section also acted as a resource for CSIS officials and offered advice and guidance on the provisions of the legislation. The ATIP Section was consulted on issues relating to a range of matters such as the MAF assessments, information management issues, security of information, draft policies and memoranda of understanding.

Highlights and Accomplishments for 2012-2013

This fiscal year’s on-time completion rate is 96%.

Education and Training

During the 2012-2013 reporting period, the ATIP Section continued to conduct awareness sessions for all new employees. Additional awareness sessions were also provided to a number of managers and specialized groups.
Over the reporting period, 7 briefing sessions were given to 164 participants. The purpose of the sessions was to provide participants with an overview of the Access to Information and Privacy Acts, to promote a better understanding of their obligations and the process within CSIS.

Significant Changes to Organization, Programs, Operations or Policy
None to report.

Overview of New or Revised Access to Information Act-related Policies and Procedures Implemented
None to report.

Changes As a Result of Issues Raised by the Office of the Information Commissioner
None to report.

Changes As a Result of Issues Raised by Other Agents of Parliament
None to report.

Complaints and Investigations

A total of 15 complaints were filed with the OIC in 2012-2013. Twelve were related to exemptions, 1 incomplete search, 1 time extension and 1 time delay.
During this time period, 13 complaints were closed as follows:

  • 10 were not well founded; and
  • 3 were well founded but resolved without recommendations.

A total of 25 complaints remain active.

Federal Court Cases

There are no pending cases against the Service. 
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the application for leave to appeal in Jim Bronskill v. Minister of Canadian Heritage et al., thereby endorsing the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in the Thomas Clement Douglas matter.

2012-2013 Statistical report on the Access to Information Act

Name of the institution: Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Reporting period: 01 April 2012 to 31 March 2013

Part 1 – Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests

Number of Requests

Received during reporting period

488

Outstanding from the previous period

46

Total

534

Closed during reporting period

473

Carried over to the next period

61


1.2 Sources of requests

Source

Number of Requests

Media

162

Academia

37

Business (Private Sector)

36

Organization

3

Public

250

Total

488


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

1

2

0

0

1

0

0

4

Disclosed in part

5

35

14

29

24

9

2

118

All exempted

2

7

3

2

0

0

0

14

All excluded

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

2

No records exist

35

25

3

2

0

0

0

65

Request transferred

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Request abandoned

19

3

0

1

0

0

0

23

Treated informally

66

90

39

44

6

0

0

245

Total

130

162

60

78

32

9

2

473


2.2 Exemptions

Section

Number of requests

13(1)(a)

45

13(1)(b)

3

13(1)(c)

11

13(1)(d)

0

13(1)(e)

0

15(1) - Internationales Affairs

37

15(1) - Defence of Canada

8

15(1) - Subversive Activities

139

16(1)(a)(i)

3

16(1)(a)(ii)

15

16(1)(a)(iii)

64

16(1)(b)

13

16(1)(c)

52

16(1)(d)

2

16(2)(a)

7

16(2)(b)

0

16(2)(c)

5

16(3)

0

16(1)(a)(i)

0

16.1(1)(a)

0

16.1(1)(b)

0

16.1(1)(c)

0

16.2(1)

0

16.3

0

16.4(1)(a)

0

16.4(1)(b)

0

16.5

0

17

1

18(a)

0

18(b)

1

18(c)

0

18(d)

1

18.1(1)(a)

0

18.1(1)(b)

0

18.1(1)(c)

0

16.1(1)(d)

0

19(1)

97

20(1)(a)

0

20(1)(b)

3

20(1)(b).1

0

20(1)(c)

1

20(1)(d)

1

20.1

0

20.2

0

20.4

0

21(1)(a)

19

21(1)(b)

19

21(1)(c)

2

21(1)(d)

2

22

1

22.1(1)

1

23

9

24(1)

17

26

0


2.3 Exclusions

Section

Number of requests

68(a)

1

68(b)

0

68(c)

0

68.1

0

68.2(a)

0

68.2(b)

0

69(1)(a)

1

69(1)(b)

0

69(1)(c)

0

69(1)(d)

1

69(1)(e)

3

69(1)(f)

0

69(1(g) re (a)

2

69(1(g) re (b)

0

69(1(g) re (c)

4

69(1(g) re (d)

0

69(1(g) re (e)

3

69(1(g) re (f)

1

69.1(1)

0


2.4 Format of information released

Disposition

Paper

Electronic

Other formats

All disclosed

0

0

4

Disclosed in part

112

0

6

Total

112

0

10


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

1590

1078

4

Disclosed in part

18211

8096

118

All exempted

541

0

14

All excluded

239

0

2

Requests abandoned

844

0

23


2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Disposition

Less than 100 pages processed

101 to 500 pages processed

501 to 1000 pages processed

1001 to 5000 pages processed

More than 5001 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

0

0

3

739

1

339

0

0

0

0

Disclosed in part

81

1904

27

3136

7

1572

3

1484

0

0

All exempted

12

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

All excluded

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Abandoned

22

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Total

116

1904

33

3875

9

1911

3

1484

0

0


2.5.3 Other complexities

Disposition

Consultation required

Assessment of fees

Legal advice sought

Other

Total

All disclosed

1

3

0

4

 

Disclosed in part

59

19

0

151

 

All exempted

1

0

0

5

 

All excluded

1

0

0

2

 

Abandoned

1

7

0

10

 

Total

63

29

0

172

 


2.6 Deemed refusals
2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline

Number of requests closed past deadline

Principal Reason

Workload

External consultation

Internal consultation

Other

3

0

0

0

3


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

3

3

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

3

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 requests
Disposition of request where an extension was taken

9(1)(a)
Interference with operations

9(1)(a)
Consultation

9(1)(c)
Third party notice

Section 69

Other

All disclosed

0

0

1

0

Disclosed in part

28

2

45

4

All exempted

2

0

1

0

All excluded

0

0

1

0

No records exist

2

0

0

0

Requests abandoned

1

0

0

0

Total

33

2

48

4


3.2 Length of extensions

Length of extensions

9(1)(a)
Interference with operations

9(1)(a)
Consultation

9(1)(c)
Third party notice

Section 69

Other

30 days or less

5

1

2

0

31 to 61 days

16

0

6

0

61 to 120 days

10

0

22

0

121 to 180 days

1

1

16

2

181 to 365 days

1

0

2

2

More than 365 days

0

0

0

0

Total

33

2

48

4


Part 4 - Fees

Fee Type

Fee Collected

Fee Waived or Refunded

Number of requests

Amount

Number of requests

Amount

Application

201

$1.005

27

$135

Search

1

$50

0

$0

Production

0

$0

0

$0

Programming

0

$0

0

$0

Preparation

2

$90

0

$0

Alternative format

0

$0

0

$0

Reproduction

0

$181

216

$4,320

Total

6

$1,326

243

$4,455


Part 5 – Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations

Consultations

Other governments institutions

Number of pages to review

Other organizations

Number of pages to review

Received during the reporting period

290

27129

0

0

Outstanding from the previous reporting period

79

36455

0

0

Total

369

63584

0

0

Closed during the reporting period

316

50781

0

0

Pending at the end of the reporting period

53

12803

0

0


5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions.

Recommendation

Number of days required to complete consultation request

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

7

8

10

3

0

0

0

28

Disclose in part

29

60

46

40

32

46

11

264

Exempt entirely

2

4

5

1

0

1

0

13

Exclude entirely

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Consult other institution

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

3

2

1

4

0

0

1

11

Total

41

74

62

48

32

47

12

316


5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations.

Recommendation

Number of days required to complete consultation request

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

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0


Part 6 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

Number of days

Number of response received

Number of responses received past deadline

1 to 15

2

0

16 to 30

0

0

31 to 60

1

0

61 to 120

1

1

121 to 180

0

0

181 to 365

0

0

More than 365 days

0

0

Total

4

1


Part 7 – Resources related to the Access to Information Act

7.1 Costs

Expenditures

Amount

Salaries

$568,990

Overtime

$651

Goods and Services

$4,305

Professional services contracts

$0

Other

$4,305

Total

$573,946


7.2 Human Resources

Resources

Dedicated full-time to ATI activities

Dedicated part-time to ATI activities

Total

Full time employees

15.00

0.00

15.00

Part-time employees

0.00

0.00

0.00

Regional staff

0.00

0.00

0.00

Consultants and agency personnel

0.00

0.00

0.00

Students

0.00

0.00

0.00

Total

15.00

0.00

15.00

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