2017-2018 Annual Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act

Posted on : Friday 14 September 2018

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 2017-2018.

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 activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada, and to report on these to the Government of Canada. CSIS may also take measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada in accordance with well-defined legal requirements and Ministerial direction. 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 16 fulltime employees to fulfill CSIS’ obligations under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. When fully staffed, the ATIP Section is comprised of a Chief, a Deputy Chief, three unit Heads, eight Analysts, a Privacy Advisor and two Administrative Officers.

During the 2017-2018 reporting period, all 16 of the positions were filled with the exception of the Privacy Advisor position which, as a new position, underwent the classification and competition process. All staff in the ATIP section is fully dedicated to the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act programs within CSIS, providing high-quality and timely responses to internal and external clients including other government departments. CSIS Legal Services Branch, which is staffed by Department of Justice (DoJ) lawyers, provides legal advice as required.

The ATIP Section’s responsibilities regarding the Act include, but are not limited to:

  • 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.

Education and Training

During the 2017-2018 reporting period, one Executive level presentation was given by members of CSIS ATIP. Additionally, the ATIP Section continues to conduct awareness sessions through ATIP e-learning narrated slides. The narrated slides form part of the new employee orientation program which is required for all new employees. All other Service employees have the ability to reference the narrative slides at any given time through the e-learning application. The narrated slides provides participants with an overview of the Access to Information Act and the Act, promotes a better comprehension of individual responsibilities and obligations relating to the Acts and offers an greater understanding of the internal ATIP process. During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 233 Service employees viewed the ATIP narrative slides.

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.

Compliance and Deemed Refusal Rates

A total of 844 requests were received in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Although faced with a significant increase in volume from the previous fiscal year, the Service closed 787 requests and maintained a high on-time compliance rate of 96.8 % with a 3.2 % deemed refusal rate. As of April 1st, 2018, two requests received during the 2017-2018 fiscal year are in a deemed refusal situation.

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 wide range of matters including, but not limited to, information management, security of information, draft policies and memoranda of understanding, Parliamentary question period notes (QPNs) and releases of information made by CSIS outside the parameters of the Act.

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 and Emergency Preparedness Canada, the Honourable Ralph Goodale.

Requests under the 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 regarding their person.

The following statistics for the 2017-2018 reporting period were validated by TBS:

  • 844 requests were received;
  • 35 requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period;
  • 787 requests were closed; and
  • 92 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

2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
Requests Received 1212 529 844
Requests processed 1258 523 787
Requests carried over 75 35 35
Requests carried forward 29 29 92

Disposition of Completed Requests

The disposition of the 787 requests completed in 2017-2018 was as follows:

  • All disclosed: None
  • Disclosed in part: 171
  • All exempted: 117
  • All excluded: None
  • No records exist: 161
  • Abandoned: 16
  • Neither confirmed nor denied: 322
The following table maps out the trend for the previous three years.
Request Disposition

Fiscal Year

2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
All disclosed 1 10 0
Disclosed in part 113 93 171
All exempted 10 5 117
Exclusions 0 0 0
No records 445 134 161
Abandoned 45 20 16
Neither confirmed nor denied 644 261 322

Completion Rate

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed 787 requests under the Act within the following time frames:

  • 1 to 15 days: 330
  • 16 to 30 days: 361
  • 31 to 60 days: 58
  • 61 to 120 days: 27
  • 121 to 180 days: 8
  • 181 to 365 days: 3
  • more than 365 days: None

Exemptions Invoked

The ATIP Section invoked a total of 1 001 exemptions under the Act. These break down as follows:

  • 283 times under paragraph 18(2) (disclosure may be refused);
  • 6 times under paragraph 19(1) (a) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 3 times under paragraph 19(1) (b) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 1 time under paragraph 19(1) (c) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 3 times under paragraph 19(1) (d) (information obtained in confidence);
  • 311 times under paragraph 21 (international affairs and defence);
  • 1 time under subparagraph 22 (1) (a) (i) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 3 times under subparagraph 22 (1) (a) (iii) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 299 times under paragraph 22(1) (b) (law enforcement and investigation);
  • 88 times under section 26 (information about another individual); and
  • 3 times under section 27 (solicitor-client privilege).

Exclusions Cited

No exclusions were invoked during the 2017-2018 reporting period.

Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline

27 requests were closed past the statutory deadline due to:

  • workload: 21
  • external consultations: 6

Number of Days Past Deadline

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 27 requests went over the deadline:

  • 1 to 15 days: 9
  • 16 to 30 days: 1
  • 31 to 60 days: 5
  • 61 to 120 days: 10
  • 121 to 180 days: 2
  • 181 to 365 days: None
  • more than 365 days: None

Format of Information Released

During the 2017-2018 reporting period, the information released was sent:

  • 88 times in hard copy; and
  • 83 times in an electronic format.

Translation of Requests

  • No requests for translation were received during the 2017-2018 reporting period.

Disclosures under Subsection 8(2) of the Act

During this fiscal year, no disclosures were made pursuant to paragraphs 8(2)(e), 8(2)(m) or 8(5) of the Act.

Requests for Correction of Personal Information and Notations

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

Extensions

Throughout the reporting period, a total of 82 extensions were taken pursuant to paragraph 15 (Extension of time limits) of the Act. The extensions were taken as follows:

  • 66 were taken pursuant to subparagraph 15(a) (i) (interference with operations); and
  • 16 were taken pursuant to subparagraph 15(a) (ii) (other consultation).

Of the 82 extensions taken, the length of the extensions was between 16 to 30 days.

Consultations Received from Other Government of Canada Institutions

During this reporting period:

  • 99 consultation requests were received;
  • 2 consultation requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period;
  • 95 consultation requests were closed; and
  • 6 consultation requests were carried over to the next reporting period.

Completion Time for Consultations Received from Other Government of Canada Institutions

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the CSIS ATIP Section completed the consultations within the following time frames

  • 0 to 15 days: 58
  • 16 to 30 days: 24
  • 31 to 60 days: 9
  • 61 to 120 days: 2
  • 121 to 180 days: 2
  • 181 to 365 days: None
  • more than 365 days: None

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 on Cabinet Confidences were with the Department of Justice or with Privy Council.

Complaints and Investigations with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner during 2017-2018

  • Complaints received: 26
  • Complaints assigned and active: 13
  • Complaints closed: 37

The Service reviews the outcome of all investigations by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) and where appropriate, integrates lessons learned into corporate processes.

Monitoring Compliance

The unit heads are responsible for monitoring compliance and reporting issues to the Chief ATIP. The monitoring is continuously conducted via reports produced by the ATIP Case Management Software. The ATIP Coordinator conveys compliance issues to the Director General, Litigation and Disclosure Branch when required.

Costs Related to the Administration of the Act

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the ATIP section incurred $580,004 in costs related to the Administration of the Act.

Expenditures

Amount

Salaries

$579,611

Overtime

$98

Goods and Services

$295

TOTAL: $580,004

Privacy Impact Assessments

The TBS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Directive took effect on April 1, 2010. The PIA is a process that helps determine whether an initiative involving the use and collection of personal information raises privacy risks. It measures, describes and quantifies the risks, and proposes solutions to eliminate or mitigate them to an acceptable level prior to the implementation of new or substantially modified programs or activities.

At the start of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the ATIP section was selected as the new CSIS Policy Center for the PIA development and approval process. In consultation with subject matter experts within the Service, ATIP has the responsibility to assess whether modified or new programs /activities have an impact on privacy and warrant the preparation of a PIA based on the TBS Directive on PIAs. When a PIA is required, ATIP will initiate the process, determine the appropriate format for the PIA, coordinate the completion of the PIA, seek proper approvals, submit the PIA to the President of TBS and to the OPC and respond to the OPC’s observations and/or recommendations .

During the reporting period, the ATIP section completed:

  • 25 consultations, with subject matter experts within CSIS, to determine the requirement for PIAs:
    • Of the 25 consultations mentioned above, ATIP determined that a PIA was required for 4 of the programs/activities.
      • 1 PIA was completed and submitted as part of a multi-institutional PIA led by Public Safety (PS). Given the Service’s very limited role, PS asked the Service to complete certain sections of the PIA and submit it for inclusion in their master PIA.
      • 3 PIAs continued to progress at the end of the reporting period.

Material Privacy Breaches

During the 2017-2018 reporting period, no material privacy breaches occurred.

Data-matching and Data-sharing Activities

CSIS is not in a position to publicly discuss data-matching or data-sharing activities for National Security reasons.

New Privacy-related Policies or Procedures Implemented

As a result of ATIP being selected as the CSIS policy center for Privacy Impact Assessments and Privacy Breaches early on in the reporting period, preliminary internal procedures were developed to effectively manage privacy practices and procedures, to address privacy breaches and to coordinate the PIA process.

Significant Changes to the Organization, Programs, Operations or Policy

No changes to report for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

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

No changes to report for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Federal Court Cases

There is one pending case against CSIS.

2017-2018 Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Reporting Period: 01 April 2017 to 31 March 2018

Part 1 – Requests under the Privacy Act
1. Number of requests
Number of requests
Received during the report period 844
Outstanding for the previous reporting period 35
Total 879
Closed during the reporting period 787
Carried over to the next reporting period 92

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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 35 56 45 24 8 3 0 171
All exempted 69 45 3 0 0 0 0 117
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 77 75 6 3 0 0 0 161
Request abandoned 8 7 1 0 0 0 0 16
Neither confirmed nor denied 141 178 3 0 0 0 0 322
Total 330 361 58 27 8 3 0 787

2.2 Exemptions

Section
Number of requests
18(2) 283
19(1)(a) 6
19(1)(b) 3
19(1)(c) 1
19(1)(d) 3
19(1)(e) 0
19(1)(f) 0
20 0
21 311
22(1)(a)(i) 1
22(1)(a)(ii) 0
22(1)(a)(iii) 3
22(1)(b) 299
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 88
27 3
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 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 88 83 0
Total 88 83 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 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 18017 11027 171
All exempted 4163 0 117
All excluded 0 0 0
Requests abandoned 492 0 16
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 322
Total 22672 11027 626

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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 132 2294 31 5181 6 2616 2 936 0 0
All exempted 114 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 14 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 322 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 582 2294 36 5181 6 2616 2 936 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 130 0 0 0 130
All exempted 4 0 0 0 4
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 2 0 0 0 2
Neither confirmed nor denied 8 0 0 0 8
Total 144 0 0 0 144

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
27 21 6 0 0

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 5 4 9
16 to 30 days 0 1 1
31 to 60 days 0 5 5
61 to 120 days 1 9 10
121 to 180 days 0 2 2
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 6 21 27

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 59 0 16 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 6 0 0 0
Requests abandoned 1 0 0 0
Total 66 0 16 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 66 0 16 0
Total 66 0 16 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 1931 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 2 112 0 0
Total 101 2043 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 95 1962 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 6 81 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 4 0 0 1 0 0 6
Disclose in part 56 20 9 2 1 0 0 88
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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 58 24 9 2 2 0 0 95

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
26 13 37 1 77

Part 9: Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)
Number of PIA(s) completed 1
Part 10: Resources Related to the Privacy Act
10.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $579,611
Overtime $98
Goods and Services $295
Professional services contracts $0  
Other $295
Total $580,004

10.2 Human Resourcess
Resources Person Years Dedicated to Privacy Activities
Full-time employees 7.50
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 7.50
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