2016-2017 Annual Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act

Posted on : Friday 04 August 2017

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 2016-2017.

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 Intelligence 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 Act and the Act. 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, 14 positions were filled and the Deputy Chief position was 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 are the ATIP Section’s responsibilities vis-à-vis the 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.

Monitoring the progress of requests

There is a robust case monitoring system in place using reports produced by the ATIP Case Management software. The status of requests is monitored by the Chief ATIP and the unit heads on an ongoing basis.

Deemed Refusals

A total of 529 requests were received in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The Service closed 523 requests and maintained a high on-time compliance rate of 96.1% with a 3.9% deemed refusal rate. As of April 1st, 2017, 2 requests received during the 2016-2017 fiscal year are in a deemed refusal situation.

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

  • 6 because of workload;
  • 3 because of external consultations;
  • 4 because of internal consultations; and
  • 8 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 2016-2017 reporting period, 4 presentations were given. The ATIP section also continued to conduct awareness sessions through the ATIP e-learning narrated slides. The narrated slides are a requirement for all new employees and act as a reference for all others. The narrated slides provide 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. They were viewed by 260 employees during the 2016-2017 reporting period.

Delegation of Authority

In accordance with section 73 of the 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 Intelligence, 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 order was issued on March 8, 2016, by the Minister of Public Safety Canada, the Honourable Ralph Goodale.

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 as well as members of the public interested in knowing whether CSIS had any information concerning them.

During this reporting period:

  • 529 requests were received;
  • 523 requests were closed;
  • 29 requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period; and
  • 35 requests were carried over to the next reporting period.
The following table maps out the trend for the previous three years.
Request Status

Fiscal Year

2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Requests Received 486 1212 529
Requests processed 451 1258 523
Requests carried over 40 75 35
Requests carried forward 75 29 29

Disposition of Completed Requests

The disposition of the 523 requests completed in 2016-2017 was as follows:

  • 10 were all disclosed;
  • 93 were disclosed in part;
  • 5 were exempted in their entirety;
  • 0 were excluded;
  • 134 had no existing records;
  • 20 were abandoned; and
  • 261 were neither confirmed nor denied.
The following table maps out the trend for the previous three years.
Request Disposition

Fiscal Year

2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
All disclosed 9 1 10
Disclosed in part 80 113 93
All exempted 12 10 5
Exclusions 0 0 0
No records 227 445 134
Abandoned 15 45 20
Neither confirmed nor denied 108 644 261

Completion Rate

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed the Act requests within the following time frames:

  • 190 within 1 to 15 days;
  • 230 within 16 to 30 days;
  • 82 within 31 to 60 days;
  • 12 within 61 to 120 days;
  • 8 within 121 to 180 days;
  • 1 within181 to 365 days; and
  • 0 in more than 365 days.

Exemptions Invoked

The ATIP Section invoked exemptions under the Act a total of 610 times, as follows:

  • 243 times under paragraph 18(2) (disclosure may be refused);
  • 6 times under paragraph 19(1) (a) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 2 times under paragraph 19(1) (d) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 119 times under paragraph 21 (international affairs and defence);
  • 112 times under paragraph 22(1) (b) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 1 time under paragraph 25 (safety of individuals)
  • 68 times under section 26 (information about another individual); and
  • 6 time under section 27 (solicitor-client privilege).

Exclusions Cited

There were no exclusions invoked during 2016-2017.

Number of Days Past Deadline

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 21 requests went over the deadline:

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

Format of Information Released

  • 67 disclosures were made in hard copy.
  • 33 disclosures were made electronically.
  • 3 disclosures were made in another format.

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);
  • No disclosures were made pursuant to paragraph 8(2) (m); and
  • No disclosures were made pursuant to paragraph 8(5).

Requests for Correction of Personal Information and Notations

  • 1 request for correction was received and accepted.
  • The ATIP section made no notations.

Extensions

During this fiscal year, 69 extensions were taken for the following reasons:

  • 43 were taken pursuant to subparagraph 15(a) (i); and
  • 26 were taken pursuant to subparagraph 15(a) (ii) (other consultation).

Consultations Received from Other Government of Canada Institutions

During this reporting period:

  • 43 consultation requests were received;
  • 2 consultation requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period, for a total of 45 consultations;
  • 43 consultation requests were closed; and
  • 2 consultation requests were carried over to the next reporting period.

Completion Time for Consultations Received from Other Government of Canada Institutions

During this reporting period:

  • 26 were completed within 1 to 15 days;
  • 9 were completed within 16 to 30 days;
  • 4 were completed within 31 to 60 days;
  • 3 were completed within 61 to 120 days;
  • 1 was 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 with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner during 2015-2016

  • 47 complaints were filed
    • Complaint Types:
      • 1 – Use and Disclosure
      • 2 – Correction – Notation
      • 44 - Access
  • 28 were closed
    • 19 complaints were not well-founded
    • 9 complaints were resolved
  • 19 remain under investigation

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 PIA was completed.

One PIA was initiated in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and remains ongoing.

Material Privacy Breaches

During the 2016-2017 reporting period, there were no Material privacy Breaches.

Resources Related to the Administration of the Act

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the ATIP section incurred $1,147,454 in salaries, $19 in overtime and $599 in costs relating to goods and services for a total of $1,148,072.

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

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) undertook two audits at the Service. The first relates to the disclosures made to the Service under the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (SCISA) and the second relates to the review of the Operational Data and Analysis Center (ODAC) further to the 2016 En Banc Federal Court decision. The Service continues to fully cooperate with the OPC investigation.

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.

2016-2017 Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Reporting Period: 01 April 2016 to 31 March 2017

Part 1 – Requests under the Privacy Act
1. Number of requests
Number of requests
Received during the report period 529
Outstanding for the previous reporting period 29
Total 558
Closed during the reporting period 523
Carried over to the next reporting period 35

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 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 10
Disclosed in part 8 19 47 12 6 1 0 93
All exempted 1 2 1 0 1 0 0 5
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 37 72 24 0 1 0 0 134
Request abandoned 8 9 3 0 0 0 0 20
Neither confirmed nor denied 135 119 7 0 0 0 0 261
Total 190 230 82 12 8 1 0 523

2.2 Exemptions

Section
Number of requests
18(2) 243
19(1)(a) 6
19(1)(b) 0
19(1)(c) 0
19(1)(d) 2
19(1)(e) 0
19(1)(f) 0
20 0
21 119
22(1)(a)(i) 0
22(1)(a)(ii) 0
22(1)(a)(iii) 0
22(1)(b) 112
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 1
26 68
27 6
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 8 1 1
Disclosed in part 59 32 2
Total 67 33 3

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 175 112 10
Disclosed in part 11008 6978 93
All exempted 1408 0 5
All excluded 0 0 0
Requests abandoned 26 0 20
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 261
Total 12617 7090 389

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 10 112 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 65 1620 24 3175 3 1472 1 711 0 0
All exempted 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 261 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 357 1732 28 3175 3 1472 1 711 0 0

2.5.3 Other complexities

Disposition
Consultation required Legal advice sought Interwoven information Other Total
All disclosed 3 0 0 0 3
Disclosed in part 62 0 0 0 62
All exempted 2 0 0 0 2
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 1 0 0 0 1
Neither confirmed nor denied 4 0 0 0 4
Total 72 0 0 0 72

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
21 6 3 4 8

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 0 4 4
16 to 30 days 1 6 7
31 to 60 days 0 1 1
61 to 120 days 0 8 8
121 to 180 days 0 1 1
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 1 20 21

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 0
Requests for correction accepted 1
Total 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 34 2 21 0
All exempted 1 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 6 0 2 0
Requests abandoned 2 0 1 0
Total 43 2 24 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 43 2 24 0
Total 43 2 24 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 43 727 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 2 241 0 0
Total 45 968 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 43 968 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 2 0 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 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 25 9 3 3 1 0 0 41
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Total 26 9 4 3 1 0 0 43

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
47 19 28 0 94

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 $1,147,454
Overtime $19
Goods and Services $599
Professional services contracts $0  
Other $599
Total $1,148,072

10.2 Human Resourcess
Resources Person Years Dedicated to Privacy Activities
Full-time employees 7.00
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 7.00
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