2013-2014 Annual Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act

Posted on : Friday 11 December 2015

The Privacy Act

The Privacy Act (hereafter the “Act”) came into force on July 1, 1983. Under subsection 12(1) of the Act, Canadian citizens, permanent residents and individuals present in Canada have the right to access personal information that is under the control of the Government of Canada. This right of access 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.

In addition, the Act protects an individual’s privacy by preventing others from accessing his or her personal information, and manages the collection, retention, use and disclosure of personal information.

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 2013-2014.

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 end the 120-year interlocking of Canada's security intelligence service with the federal police force. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (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.

During the course of the past year, an Analyst position was converted to an Officer in order to deal with the dramatic increase in informal requests for material previously released under ATI.  When fully staffed, the ATIP Section is comprised of a Chief ATIP, a Deputy Chief, three unit Heads, eight Analysts and two Officers.  During the reporting period, staffing levels varied between 10 and 13 positions.  At the end of the reporting period, 12 positions were filled; the Deputy Chief and two Analyst positions were vacant.  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.

Listed below is the ATIP Section’s responsibilities vis-à-vis the Privacy Act:

  • receive and process all requests in accordance with the Act;
  • assist requesters in formulating their requests when required;
  • gather all pertinent records, ensuring that the search for information is rigorous and complete;
  • 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 Privacy Commissioner (OPC) in all privacy-related matters, including complaints against the Service;
  • represent the Service in privacy-related litigation cases;
  • coordinate the annual update of Info Source and submission to Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS);
  • prepare the annual report on the administration of the Act;
  • provide ongoing advice and guidance to senior management and departmental staff on all matters related to privacy;
  • promote privacy 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 on Service records being considered for release;
  • develop and maintain privacy policies and guidelines, as required;
  • participate in ATIP community activities, such as the annual Canadian Access and Privacy Association (CAPA) conference, TBS ATIP community meetings and various working groups.

Delegation of Authority

In accordance with section 73 of the Privacy Act, a delegation of authority, 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 Disclosure Branch, the Chief ATIP, the Deputy Chief ATIP and the ATIP Unit Heads to exercise and perform some of the powers, duties and functions of the Minister as head of the institution. The delegation order was issued by the Minister of Public Safety Canada, the Honourable Steven Blaney on January 21, 2014.

Requests Under the Privacy Act

The CSIS privacy client group consists, for the most part, of individuals who were subject to the security clearance process and members of the public interested in knowing if the Service had any information concerning them. During this reporting period:

  • 350 requests were received;
  • 322 requests were closed;
  • 12 requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period; and
  • 40 requests were carried over to next reporting period.

The following table outlines the cycle of Privacy Act requests at the CSIS for the last three fiscal years.

The following table outlines the cycle of Privacy Act requests at the CSIS for the last three fiscal years.

Fiscal Year

2011-2012

2012-2013

2013-2014

Received

271

194

350

Closed

251

219

322

Outstanding from previous fiscal year

19

37

12

Requests carried over to the next reporting period

37

12

40

Disposition of Completed Requests

The disposition of the 322 requests completed in 2013-2014 was as follows:

  • 3 were all disclosed;
  • 91 no records (this category includes requests where no records were found or the Service was unable to confirm or deny the existence of records);
  • 63 were exempted in their entirety;
  • 0 were excluded in their entirety;
  • 58 were disclosed in part; and
  • 107 were abandoned.
The following table outlines the disposition of completed Privacy Act requests at the CSIS for the last three fiscal years.

Fiscal Years

2011-2012

2012-2013

2013-2014

All disclosed

0

3

3

Disclosed in part

51

48

57

Excluded

0

0

0

All exempted

45

35

63

No records (unable to confirm or deny the existence)

150

46

91

Abandoned

5

87

108

Completion Rate

During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed the Privacy Act requests within the following time frames:

  • 133 within 1 to 15 days;
  • 140 within 16 to 30 days;
  • 42 within 31 to 60 days;
  • 4 within 61 to 120 days;
  • 1 within 121 to 180 days;
  • 2 within181 to 365 days; and
  • 0 in more than 365 days.

Exemptions Invoked

The ATIP Section invoked exemptions under the Act a total of 181 times, as follows:

  • 7 times under paragraph 19(1)(a) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 1 time under paragraph 19(1)(c) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 1 time under paragraph 19(1)(d) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 78 times under section 21 (subversive or hostile activities);
  • 2 times under subparagraph 22(1)(a)(ii) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 36 times under paragraph 22(1)(b) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 53 times under section 26 (information about another individual); and
  • 3 times under section 27 (solicitor-client privilege).

Exclusions Cited

No Exclusions were invoked.

Format of Information Released

All disclosures were made in hard copy.

Deemed Refusals

Fifteen requests were closed past the statutory deadline for the following reasons:

  • 6 because of workload;
  • 5 because of external consultations; and
  • 4 because of other reasons.

Number of Days Past Deadline

During the fiscal year, 15 requests went over the deadline:

  • 9 within 1 to 15 days;
  • 2 within 16 to 30 days;
  • 1 within 31 to 60 days;
  • 1 within 61 to 120 days;
  • 2 within 121 to 180 days;
  • 0 within 181 to 365 days; and
  • 0 in more than 365 days.

Requests for Translation

  • No requests for translation were received.

Disclosures Under Subsection 8(2) of the Act

During this fiscal year:

  • No disclosures were made pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(e); and
  • No disclosures were made pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(m).

Requests for Correction of Personal Information and Notations

The ATIP Section received 2 requests for correction and 1 notation was made.

Extensions

During this fiscal year, 28 extensions were taken for the following reasons:

  • 13 were taken pursuant to subparagraph 15(1)(a)(i);
  • 0 were taken pursuant to subparagraph 15(1)(a)(ii) (section 70 consultation); and
  • 15 were taken pursuant to subparagraph 15(1)(a)(ii) (other consultation).

Consultations Received from Other Federal Institutions

During this reporting period:

  • 85 consultation requests were received;
  • 1 consultation request was outstanding from the previous reporting period, for a total of 86 consultations;
  • 84 consultation requests were closed; and
  • 2 consultation requests were carried over to next reporting period.

Completion Time for Consultations Received from Other Federal Institutions

During this reporting period:

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

Consultations Received from Other Organizations

During this reporting period, no consultations were received from other organizations.

Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

During this reporting period, no consultations were sent to the Privy Council Office.

Costs Related to the Administration of the Privacy Act

During 2013-2014, the ATIP Section incurred an estimated $529,662 in salary costs and $2,187 in goods and services.

Data-matching and Data-sharing Activities

CSIS is not in a position to publicly discuss data-matching or data-sharing activities for reasons of national security.

Education and Training

During the 2013-2014 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, 2 briefing sessions were given to 15 participants.  In addition, as part of CSIS’ E-learning initiative, an ATIP awareness video has been developed.  This video is a requirement for all new employees and acts as a reference for all others. During the past fiscal year, the video was viewed 60 times.  The purpose of the sessions and video is to provide participants with an overview of the Access to Information and Privacy Acts, to promote a better understanding of their obligations under the Acts and the ATIP process within CSIS.

New Privacy-related Policies or Procedures Implemented

None were implemented.

Significant Changes to the Organization, Programs, Operations or Policy

No changes to report.

Changes As a Result of Issues Raised by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC)

No changes to report.

Privacy Impact Assessments

The TBS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Directive took effect on April 1, 2010. The PIA provides a framework to ensure that privacy is considered throughout the design or re-design of a program or service. The assessments will identify the extent to which proposals comply with all appropriate statutes. Assessments assist managers and decision-makers to avoid or mitigate privacy risks and promote fully informed policy, program and system design choices.

During this review period:

  • No preliminary PIAs were initiated;
  • No preliminary PIAs were completed ;
  • 1 PIA was initiated;
  • No PIA was completed; and
  • No PIA was forwarded to the OPC.

Complaints and Investigations

A total of 18 complaints were filed with the OPC in 2013-2014.

During the same time period, 14 complaint investigations were completed. Their disposition is as follows:

  • 11 were not well-founded; and
  • 3 were discontinued.

A total of 4 complaints remain outstanding.

Federal Court Cases

Two cases were heard before the Federal Court. Llewellyn v. CSIS 2014 FC 432 and Braunschweig v. Canada (Public Safety) 2014 FC 218. Both applications for judicial review were dismissed.

2013-2014 Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Reporting Period: 01 April 2013 to 31 March 2014

Part 1 – Requests under the Privacy Act

1. Number of requests

 

Number of requests

Received during the report period

350

Outstanding for the previous reporting period

12

Total

362

Closed during reporting period

322

Carried over to the next reporting period

40

Part 2 – Requests closed during the reporting period

 

2.1 Disposition and closing time

Disposition of requests

Completion time

1 to15 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

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

Disclosed in part

7

23

21

4

1

2

0

58

All exempted

16

42

5

0

0

0

0

63

All excluded

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

No record exist

25

55

11

0

0

0

0

91

Request abandoned

82

20

5

0

0

0

0

107

Total

133

140

42

4

1

2

0

322

 

2.2 Exemptions

Section

Number of requests

18(2)

0

19(1)(a)

7

19(1)(b)

0

19(1)(c)

1

19(1)(d)

1

19(1)(e)

0

19(1)(f)

0

20

0

21

78

22(1)(a)(i)

0

22(1)(a)(ii)

2

22(1)(a)(iii)

0

22(1)(b)

36

22(1)(c)

0

22(2)

0

22.1

0

22.2

0

22.3

0

23(a)

0

23(b)

0

24(a)

0

24(b)

0

25

0

26

53

27

3

28

0

 

2.3 Exclusions

Section

Number of requests

69(1)(a)

0

69(1)(b)

0

69.1

0

70(1)(a)

0

70(1)(b)

0

70(1)(c)

0

70(1)(d)

0

70(1)(e)

0

70(1)(f)

0

70.1

0

 

2.4 Format of information released

Disposition

Paper

Electronic

Other formats

All disclosed

2

0

0

Disclosed in part

58

0

0

Total

60

0

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

65

65

3

Disclosed in part

8452

3112

58

All exempted

1591

0

63

All excluded

0

0

0

Requests abandoned

0

0

107

 

2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests

Disposition

Less than100 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

3

65

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Disclosed in part

37

722

18

1998

1

115

2

277

0

0

All exempted

59

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

All excluded

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Abandoned

107

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

206

787

22

1998 

1

115

2

277

0

0

 

2.5.3 Other complexities

Disposition

Consultation required

Legal advice sought

Interwoven information

Other

Total

All disclosed

0

0

0

0

0

Disclosed in part

17

0

0

0

17

All exempted

1

0

0

0

1

All excluded

0

0

0

0

0

Abandoned

0

0

0

0

0

Total

18

0

0

0

18

2.6 Deemed refusals

 

2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline

Number of requests past deadline

Principal Reason

Workload

External consultation

Internal consultation

Other

15

6

5

0

4

 

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 and extension was taken

Total

1 to 15 days

6

3

9

16 to 30 days

2

0

2

31 to 60 days

0

1

1

61 to 120 days

0

1

1

121 to 180 days

0

2

2

181 to 365 days

0

0

0

More than 365 days

0

0

0

Total

8

7

15

 

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 – Disclosures under subsection 8(2)

Paragraph 8(2)(e)

Paragraph 8(2)(m)

Total

0

0

0

Part 4 – Requests for correction of personal information and notations

 

Number

Requests for correction received

2

Requests for correction accepted

1

Requests for correction refused

1

Notations attached

1

Part 5 - Extensions

5.1 Reasons for extensions and dispositions of requests

Disposition of requests where an extension was taken

15(1(a)(i)

Interference with operations

15(1)(a)(ii)

Consultation

15(b)

Translation  or conversion

 

 

 

Section 70

Other

All disclosed

0

0

0

0

Disclosed in part

12

0

14

0

All exempted

1

0

1

0

All excluded

0

0

0

0

No records exist

0

0

0

0

Requests abandoned

0

0

0

0

Total

13

0

15

0

 

5.2 Length of extensions

Length of extensions

15(a)(i)

Interference with operations

15(a)(ii)

Consultation

15(b)

Translation or conversion

Article 70

Autres

1 to 15 days

0

0

0

0

16 to 30 days

13

0

15

0

Total

13

0

15

0

Part 6 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

 

6.1 Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

Consultations

Other government institutions

Number of pages to review

Other  organizations

Number of pages to review

Received during the reporting period

85

1528

0

0

Outstanding from the previous reporting period

1

7

0

0

Total

86

1535

0

0

Closed during the reporting period

84

1517

0

0

Pending at the end of the reporting period

1

18

0

0

 

6.2 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

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

4

Disclose in part

47

22

6

2

0

0

0

77

Exempt entirely

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

Exclude entirely

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

Consult other institution

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

50

24

8

2

0

0

0

84

 

6.3 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

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

Autre

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Part 7 – Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences 

Number of days

Number of responses received

Number of responses received past deadline

1 to 15

0

0

16 to 30

0

0

31 to 60

0

0

61 to120

0

0

121 to 180

0

0

181 to 365

0

0

More than 365 days

0

0

Total

0

0

Part 8- Resources related to the Privacy Act

 

8.1 Costs

Expenditures

Amount

Salaries

$529,662

Overtime

$0

Goods and Services

$2,187

Contracts for privacy impact assessments

$0

Professional services contracts

$0

Other

$0

Total

$531,849

 

8.2 Human Resources

Resources

Dedicated full-time

Dedicated part-time

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

Consultant and agency personnel

0.00

0.00

0.00

Students

0.00

0.00

0.00

Total

0.00

0.00

15.00

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