2014-2015 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 2014-2015.

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 CSIS 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, 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, 13 positions were filled; the Deputy Chief and one Analyst positions were vacant. All staff in the ATIP Section is 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 CSIS;
  • 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 CSIS records being considered for release;
  • develop and maintain privacy policies and guidelines, as required; and
  • participate in ATIP community activities, such as the annual Canadian Access and Privacy Association (CAPA) conference, TBS ATIP community meetings and various working groups.

Activities and Accomplishments 2014-2015

CSIS has been an active participant in the support and promotion of access to information. To improve the service quality and ease of access for citizens, to reduce processing costs for the agency, and to continue modernizing its service delivery model, CSIS has joined the Access to Information and Privacy online request service that allows individuals to submit and pay for their request online. This initiative is part of a commitment to modernize the administration of the access to information as announced in April 2012 under the Government of Canada Open Government Action Plan.

This service has been well received as the numbers of requests submitted online are increasing weekly.

All requests submitted to CSIS are closely monitored. Weekly reports are generated by the ATIP processing software to follow the progress of each request to ensure the timeliness of responses.

Completion Rate

This year, the on time completion rate was 98%.

Deemed Refusals

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

  • 2 because of workload;
  • 2 because of external consultations;
  • 3 because of internal consultations; and
  • 5 because of other reasons.

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 information management issues, security of information, draft policies and memoranda of understanding and releases of information made by CSIS outside the parameters of the Act.

Education and Training

During the 2014-2015 reporting period, the ATIP Section continued to conduct awareness sessions through an ATIP e-learning video. The video is a requirement for all new employees and acts as a reference for all others. The video provides participants with an overview of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, to promote a better understanding of their responsibilities and obligations under the Acts and awareness of the ATIP process within CSIS.

Over the reporting period, the ATIP Section took part in the Information Management Awareness Fair as well as the Professional Development Day.

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 and the 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 CSIS had any information concerning them.

During this reporting period:

  • 486 requests were received;
  • 451 requests were closed;
  • 40 requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period; and
  • 75 requests were carried over to next reporting period.
The following table maps out the trend for the previous three years.
Request Status

Fiscal Year

2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015
Requests Received 194 350 486
Requests processed 219 322 451
Requests carried over 37 12 40
Requests carried forward 12 40 75

Disposition of Completed Requests

The disposition of the 451 requests completed in 2014-2015 was as follows:

  • 9 were all disclosed;
  • 80 were disclosed in part;
  • 12 were exempted in their entirety;
  • 0 were excluded in their entirety;
  • 227 no records;
  • 15 were abandoned; and
  • 108 Neither confirmed nor denied.
The following table maps out the trend for the previous three years.
Request Disposition

Fiscal Year

2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015
All disclosed 3 3 9
Disclosed in part 48 57 80
All exempted 35 63 12
Exclusions 0 0 0
No records 46 91 227
Abandoned 87 108 15
Neither confirmed nor denied     108

Completion Rate

During the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed the Privacy Act requests within the following time frames:

  • 168 (37%) within 1 to 15 days;
  • 236 (52%) within 16 to 30 days;
  • 36 (8%) within 31 to 60 days;
  • 9 (2%) within 61 to 120 days;
  • 2 (1%) within 121 to 180 days;
  • 0 (0%) within181 to 365 days; and
  • 0 (0%) in more than 365 days.

Exemptions Invoked

The ATIP Section invoked exemptions under the Act a total of 268 times, as follows:

  • 2 times under paragraph 19(1)(a) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 1 time under paragraph 19(1)(c) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 2 times under paragraph 19(1)(d) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 105 times under section 21 (subversive or hostile activities);
  • 1 time under subparagraph 22(1)(a)(iii) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 87 times under paragraph 22(1)(b) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 1 time under subparagraph 23(a) (security clearances);
  • 65 times under section 26 (information about another individual); and
  • 4 times under section 27 (solicitor-client privilege).

Exclusions Cited

No Exclusions were invoked.

Number of Days Past Deadline

During the fiscal year, 12 requests went over the deadline:

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

Format of Information Released

  • 87 disclosures were made in hard copy.
  • 2 decided to view the record.

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. Two notations were made.

Extensions

During this fiscal year, 34 extensions were taken for the following reasons:

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

Consultations Received from Other Federal Institutions

During this reporting period:

  • 99 consultation requests were received;
  • 2 consultation requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period, for a total of 101 consultations;
  • 97 consultation requests were closed; and
  • 4 consultation requests were carried over to next reporting period.

Completion Time for Consultations Received from Other Federal Institutions

During this reporting period:

  • 77 were completed within 1 to 15 days;
  • 12 were completed within 16 to 30 days;
  • 6 were completed within 31 to 60 days;
  • 2 were completed within 61 to 120 days;
  • None were completed within 121 to 180 days;
  • None 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.

Complaints and Investigations

For the fiscal year 2014-2015, 21 complaints were filed against CSIS and 20 were closed. It is to be noted that among the 20 complaints closed in 2014-2015, 8 were filed the previous fiscal year. The remaining 12 were filed and closed during the fiscal year 2014-2015.

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 ;
  • No PIA was initiated;
  • No PIA was completed; and
  • No PIA was forwarded to the OPC.

One PIA was initiated in the previous fiscal year, and remains ongoing.

Privacy Breaches

No material privacy breaches were reported.

Resources Related to the Administration of the Privacy Act

During the 2014-2015, the ATIP Section incurred an estimated $440,253 in salaries and $1,460 in costs relating to goods and services for a total of $441,713. No overtime costs were incurred.

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.

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.

Federal Court Cases

There are no pending cases against CSIS.

2014-2015 Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Reporting Period: 01 April 2014 to 31 March 2015

Part 1 – Requests under the Privacy Act
1. Number of requests
Number of requests
Received during the report period 486
Outstanding for the previous reporting period 40
Total 526
Closed during the reporting period 451
Carried over to the next reporting period 75

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 0 6 3 0 0 0 0 9
Disclosed in part 14 30 25 9 2 0 0 80
All exempted 2 9 1 0 0 0 0 12
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 96 127 4 0 0 0 0 227
Request abandoned 12 3 0 0 0 0 0 15
Neither confirmed nor denied 44 61 3 0 0 0 0 108
Total 168 236 36 9 2 0 0 451

2.2 Exemptions

Section
Number of requests
18(2) 0
19(1)(a) 2
19(1)(b) 0
19(1)(c) 1
19(1)(d) 2
19(1)(e) 0
19(1)(f) 0
20 0
21 105
22(1)(a)(i) 0
22(1)(a)(ii) 0
22(1)(a)(iii) 1
22(1)(b) 87
22(1)(c) 0
22(2) 0
22.1 0
22.2 0
22.3 0
23(a) 1
23(b) 0
24(a) 0
24(b) 0
25 0
26 65
27 4
28 0

2.3 Exclusions

Section
Number of requests
69(1)(a) 0
69(1)(b) 0
69.1 0
70(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 7 0 2
Disclosed in part 80 0 0
Total 87 0 2

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 911 368 9
Disclosed in part 8012 5521 80
All exempted 724 0 12
All excluded 0 0 0
Requests abandoned 269 0 15
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 108
Total 9916 5889 224

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 5 77 4 291 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 58 967 19 2373 1 325 2 1856 0 0
All exempted 10 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 14 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 107 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 194 1044 27 2664 1 325 2 1856 0 0

2.5.3 Other complexities

Disposition
Consultation required Legal advice sought Interwoven information Other Total
All disclosed 1 0 0 0 1
Disclosed in part 52 0 0 0 52
All exempted 1 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 7 0 0 0 7
Total 61 0 0 0 61

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
12 2 2 3 5

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 1 5 6
16 to 30 days 3 1 4
31 to 60 days 0 0 0
61 to 120 days 0 2 2
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 4 8 12

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) Paragraph 8(2)(m) Total
0 0 0 0

Part 4 - Requests for correction of personal information and notations
Disposition for Correction Requests Received Number
Notations attached 2
Requests for correction accepted 0
Total 2
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 1 0 1 0
Disclosed in part 21 2 6 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 1 0 0 0
Requests abandoned 2 0 0 0
Total 25 2 7 0

5.2 Length of extensions
Length of extensions 15(a)(i)
Interference with operations
15(a)(ii)
Consultation
15(b)
Translation or conversion
Section 70 Other
1 to 15 days 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 days 25 2 7 0
Total 25 2 7 0
Part 6 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations 
6.1 Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

Consultations
Other Government of Canada Institutions Number of pages to review Other  organizations Number of pages to review
Received during the reporting period 99 1716 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 2 18 0 0
Total 101 1734 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 97 1668 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 4 66 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
All disclosed 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Disclose in part 74 11 6 2 0 0 0 93
All exempted 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 77 12 6 2 0 0 0 97

6.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions.
Recommandation 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
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All exempted 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 7: Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences
7.1 Requests with Legal Services
Number of Days Fewer 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

 

7.2 Requests with Privy Council Office
Number of Days Fewer 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

Part 8: Complaints and Investigations Notices Received
Section 31 Section 33 Section 35 Court action Total
21 0 0 0 21

Part 9: Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)
Number of PIA(s) completed 0
Part 10: Resources Related to the Privacy Act
10.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries 440,253$
Overtime 0$
Goods and Services 1,460$
Professional services contracts 0$  
Other 1,460$
Total 441,713$

10.2 Human Resourcess
Resources Person Years Dedicated to Privacy Activities
Full-time employees 6.50
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 6.50
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