Access to Information and Privacy Statistical Report for the 2017 to 2018 Fiscal Year

The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act both came into effect on .

Paragraph 70(1)(c.1) of the Access to Information Act assigns responsibility to the President of the Treasury Board, as the designated minister, to collect statistics on an annual basis. These statistics are used to assess the performance of the Government of Canada’s access to information and privacy programs.

The Access to Information and Privacy Statistical report is an annual report of statistical information about the Government of Canada’s access to information and privacy programs.

The tables and figures in this report present data from the period of , to , provided by government institutions subject to the Acts. They also present cumulative data from , to .

The complete statistical dataset will be made available in open format on the Government of Canada’s Open Data Portal.

Each institution subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act tables an annual report in Parliament on the administration of each Act in their institution. These reports can be found on institutions’ websites.

On this page

Access to Information Act statistics for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year

Requests under the Access to Information Act

106,255 requests were received in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, an increase of 15.6% from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year.

Of the 125,329 requests that were either received in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year or outstanding from the previous fiscal year, 78% were closed. This is a decrease from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year: of the 105,973 requests received in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year or outstanding from the previous fiscal year, 82% were closed.

10 government institutions received 85.5% of all new requests in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Table 1: requests received and closed under the Access to Information Act, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Requests under the Access to Information Act Number of requests
Outstanding from 2016 to 2017 reporting periodtable 1 note 1 19,074
Received during 2017 to 2018 reporting period 106,255
Total 125,329
Closed during 2017 to 2018 reporting period 97,705
Carried over to 2018 to 2019 reporting period 27,624

Table 1 Notes

Table 1 Note 1

Due to administrative errors, there are small inconsistencies between the data for the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and the data for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year regarding the number of requests or consultations left outstanding at the end of the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year.

Return to table 1 note 1 referrer

Figure 1: requests received and closed under the Access to Information Act, from 2015 to 2016 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
requests received and closed under the Access to Information Act, from 2015 to 2016 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version

This table compares the number of requests under the Access to Information Act received, closed and carried forward from the 2015 to 2016 reporting period to the 2016 to 2017 reporting period, and from the 2016 to 2017 reporting period to the 2017 to 2018 reporting period.

Requests under the Access to Information Act 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Outstanding from previous reporting period 11,728 14,093 19,074
Received during reporting period 75,387 91,880 106,255
Closed during reporting period 72,581 86,908 97,705
Carried over to next reporting period 14,534 19,065 27,624
Table 2: Access to Information Act requests received in 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, top 10 institutions
Rank Name of institution Number of requests received Requests received as percentage Number of pages processedtable 2 note 1
1 Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada 64,234 60.5 3,713,374
2 Canada Border Services Agency 7,466 7.0 15,688,670table 2 note 2
3 Royal Canadian Mounted Police 5,203 4.9 358,854
4 Canada Revenue Agency 2,750 2.6 1,641,339
5 National Defence 2,055 1.9 170,771
6 Environment and Climate Change Canada 1,999 1.9 110,138
7 Employment and Social Development Canada 1,942 1.8 970,992
8 Health Canada 1,806 1.7 374,021
9 Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada 1,700 1.6 236,699
10 Global Affairs Canada 1,680 1.6 141,778
Other institutions 15,420 14.5 4,129,700
Total 106,255 100.0 27,536,336

Table 2 Notes

Table 2 Note 1

The number of pages processed for each institution represents the total processed pages for closed requests. It does not include the number of pages processed for requests that were carried over into the next reporting period.

Return to table 2 note 1 referrer

Table 2 Note 2

The number of pages processed by the Canada Border Services Agency rose significantly from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year due to 1 request involving approximately 14.8 million pages.

Return to table 2 note 2 referrer

Table 3: sources of received Access to Information Act requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Source Number of requests Percentage of requests
Business (private sector) 48,806 45.9
Public 34,641 32.6
Media 7,808 7.3
Organizationtable 3 note 1 5,059 4.8
Academia 3,657 3.4
Decline to identifytable 3 note 2 6,284 5.9
Total 106,255 100.0

Table 3 Notes

Table 3 Note 1

The category “organization” includes, but is not limited to, associations, unions, non-for-profit and voluntary organizations, offices of members of Parliament, political parties and non-government organizations. It also includes requesters that selected “organization” when submitting their request.

Return to table 3 note 1 referrer

Table 3 Note 2

The category “decline to identify” includes requesters that selected “decline to identify” when submitting their request. It also includes instances where the requester did not select any of the available categories when submitting a hard-copy application.

Return to table 3 note 2 referrer

Figure 2: sources of received Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
sources of received Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 2 - Text version

This table compares requester types (the sources of requests) from the 2016 to 2017 reporting period with those for the 2017 to 2018 reporting period.

Source 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Business 38,319 48,806
Public 31,030 34,641
Media 8,838 7,808
Organization 4,631 5,059
Academia 3,452 3,657
Decline to identify 5,610 6,284

Timeliness

76.2% of requests were closed within established timelines (that is, closed within the statutory deadline of 30 days or within an extension period provided for in the Act). The comparable figure in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year was 80.7%.

Of 97,705 requests closed in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, 54,143, or 55.4%, were closed within the initial statutory deadline of 30 days.

Table 4: status of closed Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Status of closed requests Requests as percentage Number of requests
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Closed within statutory deadline, including extensions 80.7 76.2 70,128 74,453
Closed beyond statutory deadline, including extensions 19.3 23.8 16,780 23,252
Total 100.0 100.0 86,908 97,705
Figure 3: Access to Information Act requests closed within established timelines, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Access to Information Act requests closed within established timelines, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 3 - Text version

This table compares the status of requests closed in the last 5 years, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Status of closed request 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Closed within statutory deadline, including extensions 86.0% 87.5% 85.9% 80.7% 76.2%
Closed beyond statutory deadline, including extensions 14.0% 12.5% 14.1% 19.3% 23.8%
Table 5: disposition and time required to close Access to Information Act requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition of requests (including requests for which extensions were required) Closure timetable 5 note 1
0 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 14,963 6,436 1,787 478 456 313 24,433
Disclosed in part 27,077 14,245 8,118 2,611 2,382 2,019 56,452
All exempted 316 105 120 54 64 9 668
All excluded 186 53 72 21 10 6 348
No records exist 5,412 894 441 143 138 61 7,089
Request transferred 718 11 4 1 0 0 734
Request abandonedtable 5 note 2 5,235 340 258 144 422 1,306 7,705
Neither confirmed nor deniedtable 5 note 3 236 19 10 5 2 4 276
Total number of requests 54,143 22,103 10,810 3,457 3,474 3,718 97,705
Total as percentage 55.4 22.6 11.1 3.5 3.6 3.8 100.0

Table 5 Notes

Table 5 Note 1

The number of days to close requests or consultations refers to calendar days.

Return to table 5 note 1 referrer

Table 5 Note 2

An abandoned request is a request that has been formally withdrawn by the requester, or the requester did not respond to a notice indicating that the request will be closed if they do not respond within a specified time period.

Return to table 5 note 2 referrer

Table 5 Note 3

The category “neither confirmed nor denied” relates to requests for which subsection 10(2) of the Access to Information Act was invoked: “The head of a government institution may but is not required to indicate under subsection 10(1) whether a record exists.”

Return to table 5 note 3 referrer

Table 6: time required to close Access to Information Act requests in 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, according to time period
Closure time Requests as percentage Number of requests
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
0 to 30 days 64.5 55.4 56,084 54,143
31 to 60 days 18.0 22.6 15,616 22,103
61 to 120 days 9.5 11.1 8,248 10,810
121 to 180 days 2.7 3.5 2,359 3,457
181 to 365 days 2.6 3.6 2,275 3,474
More than 365 days 2.7 3.8 2,326 3,718
Total 100.0 100.0 86,908 97,705

Note: The Access to Information Act provides for the extension of the time limit to respond to a request beyond 30 days if:

  1. it involves a large number of records or necessitates a search through a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the institution;
  2. external consultations are necessary and cannot reasonably be expected to be closed within the original time limit; or
  3. notice to a third party is required to advise the third party that their information is the subject of a request. The data in this table reflects all closed requests, including requests for which extensions were taken.
Figure 4: time required to close Access to Information Act requests, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
time required to close Access to Information Act requests, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 4 - Text version

This table compares the time required to close requests, listed according to time periods, for the last 5 years, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Closure time 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
0 to 30 days 61.0% 65.1% 64.1% 64.5% 55.4%
31 to 60 days 18.0% 19.6% 21.3% 18.0% 22.6%
61 to 120 days 10.4% 8.0% 7.5% 9.5% 11.1%
121 days or more 10.6% 7.3% 7.1% 8.0% 10.9%

Note: Before the 2011 to 2012 reporting period, only 4 time periods for closing requests were recorded. The data for the 2011 to 2012 reporting period onwards has therefore been consolidated for time periods of more than 121 days. The data for the 2013 to 2014 reporting period for 121 days or more indicated in previous years 10.7%, this was an administrative error. The correct amount is 10.6%.

Table 7: principal reasons for Access to Information Act requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Principal reason Total number of requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions (deemed refusal)
Workload 21,273
External consultation 463
Internal consultation 365
Othertable 7 note 1 1,151
Total 23,252

Table 7 Notes

Table 7 Note 1

Other reasons include the unavailability of key officials, difficulties in obtaining relevant records, labour disputes and lengthy power outages.

Return to table 7 note 1 referrer

Note: The information in this table reflects requests that were neither closed in the initial 30 days nor closed within the timeframe covered by an extension. These requests are referred to as “deemed refusals.”

Table 8: number of days past deadline for Access to Information Act requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
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 requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions Total as percentage
1 to 30 days 9,658 1,115 10,773 46.3
31 to 60 days 2,189 489 2,678 11.5
61 to 120 days 2,271 568 2,839 12.2
121 to 180 days 1,293 365 1,658 7.1
181 to 365 days 1,534 611 2,145 9.2
More than 365 days 2,195 964 3,159 13.6
Total 19,140 4,112 23,252 100.0

Disposition

Records were disclosed either in full or in part for 83% of closed requests. This is an increase compared with the previous period.

Table 9: disposition of closed Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition of closed requests Requests as percentage Number of requests
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
All disclosed 19.8 25.0 17,176 24,433
Disclosed in part 61.2 57.8 53,170 56,452
All exempted 1.0 0.7 870 668
All excluded 0.5 0.4 403 348
No records exist 7.5 7.3 6,483 7,089
Request transferred 0.7 0.8 646 734
Request abandoned 9.1 7.9 7,886 7,705
Neither confirmed nor denied 0.3 0.3 274 276
Total 100.0 100.0 86,908 97,705
Figure 5: disposition of closed Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
disposition of closed Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 5 - Text version

This table compares the disposition of closed requests from the 2016 to 2017 reporting period with the disposition of those for the 2017 to 2018 reporting period.

Disposition of closed requests 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
All disclosed 17,176 24,433
Disclosed in part 53,170 56,452
All exempted 870 668
All excluded 403 348
No records exist 6,483 7,089
Request transferred 646 734
Request abandoned 7,886 7,705
Neither confirmed nor denied 274 276

Complexity

In the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, government institutions processed about 27.5 million pages for closed requests, an increase of about 11.5 million pages over the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year; 87.7% of pages were disclosed either in full or in part. The significant increase in number of pages processed was largely due to a single request involving approximately 14.8 million pages.

Government institutions undertook outside consultations in 8.1% of all closed requests.

Table 10: relevant pages processed and disclosed regarding Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requeststable 10 note 1
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
All disclosed 3,165,256 17,088,864 3,116,170 17,005,921 17,176 24,433
Disclosed in part 10,200,570 9,201,216 6,832,982 7,010,977 53,170 56,452
All exempted 389,436 295,304 0 0 870 668
All excludetable 10 note 2 16,497 37,052 0 0 403 348
Request abandonedb 2,275,487 912,900 51,976 126,599 7,886 7,705
Total 16,047,246 27,536,336table 10 note 3 10,001,128 24,143,497 79,505 89,606

Table 10 Notes

Table 10 Note 1

The total number of requests for each reporting period reflects the total number of requests closed in each period with the exception of those categorized as “no records exist,” “request transferred” or “neither confirmed nor denied.”

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Table 10 Note 2

Some records may have been disclosed to the requester before the request’s abandonment.

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Table 10 Note 3

The number of pages processed rose significantly from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year due to 1 request involving approximately 14.8 million pages.

Return to table 10 note 3 referrer

Figure 6: number of pages processed regarding closed Access to Information Act requests, 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
 number of pages processed regarding closed Access to Information Act requests, 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 6 - Text version

This table identifies the number of pages processed over 5 years, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Total number of pages processed 13,080,637 9,919,349 9,025,729 16,047,246 27,536,336

Note: The number of pages processed rose significantly compared to the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year due to 1 request of approximately 14.8 million pages.

Table 11: other considerations regarding complexity of closed Access to Information Act requests
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of fees Legal advice sought Othertable 11 note 1 Total
All disclosed 843 15 11 472 1,341
Disclosed in part 6,603 21 332 1,155 8,111
All exempted 160 0 22 32 214
All excluded 116 0 19 18 153
Request abandoned 234 12 19 185 450
Neither confirmed nor denied 1 0 1 7 9
Total 7,957 48 404 1,869 10,278

Table 11 Notes

Table 11 Note 1

Other considerations include requests for the contents of a database, requests to process audio or video recordings, high-profile subject matter, instances in which records are located in another region or country, and instances in which the records are in a language other than English or French.

Return to table 11 note 1 referrer

Extensions

42.3% of all extensions taken for closed requests cited paragraph 9(1)(a) of the Access to Information Act as a reason for the extension, relating to interference with government operations. 21.4% of all extensions taken for closed requests were for 30 days or less, and 90.4% were for 120 days or less.

Table 12: reasons for and length of extensions regarding closed Access to Information Act requests
Length of extensionstable 12 note 1 9(1)(a) - Interference with operations 9(1)(b) - Consultation 9(1)(c) - Third-party notice Total
Section 69table 12 note 2 Othertable 12 note 3
30 days or less 2,211 137 1,244 161 3,753
31 to 60 days 1,946 185 3,410 1,504 7,045
61 to 120 days 2,225 604 1,936 274 5,039
121 to 180 days 487 65 298 66 916
181 to 365 days 426 27 123 50 626
365 days or more 117 0 28 1 146
Total 7,412 1,018 7,039 2,054 17,523

Table 12 Notes

Table 12 Note 1

The timelines associated with extensions begin at the end of the initial 30-day response period.

Return to table 12 note 1 referrer

Table 12 Note 2

Section 69 of the Access to Information Act states that the Act does not apply to confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

Return to table 12 note 2 referrer

Table 12 Note 3

“Other” includes consultations with one or more of the following: other federal government institutions, provincial and municipal governments, foreign states, international organizations of states, Aboriginal governments, non-governmental organizations or individuals.

Return to table 12 note 3 referrer

ExemptionsFootnote 1

The tables that follow indicate exemptions applied under the Access to Information Act to requests closed during the reporting period.

Table 13a: exemptions for information obtained in confidence
Provision Number of requests
13(1)(a) 4,509
13(1)(b) 357
13(1)(c) 823
13(1)(d) 497
13(1)(e) 19
Table 13b: exemptions for federal-provincial affairs
Provision Number of requests
14 604
14(a) 467
14(b) 168
Table 13c: exemptions for international affairs and defence
Provision Number of requests
15(1) 1,060
15(1) International Affairs 11,416
15(1) Defence 1,605
15(1) Subversive activities 2,656
Table 13d: exemptions for law enforcement and investigations
Provision Number of requests
16(1)(a)(i) 502
16(1)(a)(ii) 277
16(1)(a)(iii) 372
16(1)(b) 689
16(1)(c) 20,138
16(1)(d) 53
16(2) 1,482
16(2)(a) 28
16(2)(b) 99
16(2)(c) 2,754
16(3) 0
16.1(1)(a) 6
16.1(1)(b) 18
16.1(1)(c) 32
16.1(1)(d) 62
16.2(1) 14
16.3 16
16.4(1)(a) 1
16.4(1)(b) 0
16.5 13
Table 13e: exemptions for safety of individuals
Provision Number of requests
17 691
Table 13f: exemptions for economic interests of Canada
Provision Number of requests
18(a) 275
18(b) 413
18(c) 25
18(d) 313
18.1(1)(a) 52
18.1(1)(b) 32
18.1(1)(c) 4
18.1(1)(d) 57
Table 13g: exemptions for personal information
Provision Number of requests
19(1) 38,145
Table 13h: exemptions for third-party information
Provision Number of requests
20(1)(a) 142
20(1)(b) 2,850
20(1)(b.1) 44
20(1)(c) 2,224
20(1)(d) 541
20.1 3
20.2 0
20.4 0
Table 13i: exemptions for operations of government
Provision Number of requests
21(1)(a) 4,680
21(1)(b) 5,195
21(1)(c) 927
21(1)(d) 427
Table 13j: exemptions for testing procedures, tests and audits
Provision Number of requests
22 308
22.1(1) 66
Table 13k: exemptions for solicitor-client privilege
Provision Number of requests
23 2,354
Table 13l: exemptions for statutory prohibitions
Provision Number of requests
24(1) 2,155
Table 13m: exemptions for information to be published
Provision Number of requests
26 203

ExclusionsFootnote 2

The tables that follow indicate exclusions applied under the Access to Information Act to requests closed during the reporting period.

Table 14a: exclusions for non-application (Act does not apply to certain materials)
Provision Number of requests
68(a) 501
68(b) 6
68(c) 11
68.1 67
68.2(a) 8
68.2(b) 0
Table 14b: exclusions for Cabinet confidences
Provision Number of requests
69(1) 114
69(1)(a) 234
69(1)(b) 13
69(1)(c) 52
69(1)(d) 176
69(1)(e) 435
69(1)(f) 42
69(1)(g) re (a) 1,167
69(1)(g) re (b) 23
69(1)(g) re (c) 588
69(1)(g) re (d) 415
69(1)(g) re (e) 724
69(1)(g) re (f) 296
Table 14c: exclusions for certificate under the Canada Evidence Act
Provision Number of requests
69.1(1) 37

Consultations

The number of consultations between federal government institutions in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year increased by 13% from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year. However, the number of pages to review remained relatively consistent, decreasing by 0.1%.

Table 15a: consultations by other government institutions regarding Access to Information Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Consultations Number of consultations Number of pages to review
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Received during reporting period 8,532 9,338 533,526 493,913
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 564 949 117,101 156,002
Total 9,096 10,287 650,627 649,915
Closed during the reporting period 8,101 8,880 409,929 433,559
Pending at the end of the reporting period 685 1,407 111,736 216,356
Table 15b: recommendations and closure time for consultations by other government institutions regarding Access to Information Act requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Recommendation Number of days required to close consultation requests
1 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 3,738 800 233 49 55 17 4,892
Disclose in part 1,599 910 494 126 111 29 3,269
Exempt entirely 106 27 22 6 3 1 165
Exclude entirely 18 3 0 0 0 0 21
Consult other institutiontable 15b note 1 108 32 13 6 1 2 162
Other 245 53 35 10 14 14 371
Total 5,814 1,825 797 197 184 63 8,880

Table 15b Notes

Table 15b Note 1

“Consult other institution” refers to a government institution’s recommendation that the institution that consulted them contact additional government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act.

Return to table 15b note 1 referrer

Fees and costs

The annual cost to administer the Government of Canada’s access to information program increased by 7.8% to $69.8 million in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, with the average cost per closed request declining by 4.1% to about $714 per request.

Fees waived or refunded decreased to $48,747. This decrease reflects that on , the President of the Treasury Board issued the Interim Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act, directing government institutions to waive all fees apart from the initial $5 application fee.

Table 16: fees and costs of Access to Information Act operations, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Description Amount
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Cost of operationstable 16 note 1 $64,771,471.00 $69,810,554.00
Requests closed 86,908 97,705
Average cost per closed requesttable 16 note 2 $745.29 $714.50
Pages processed 16,047,246 27,536,336
Average cost per processed page $4.04 $2.54
Number of requests in which fees were collected 82,941 94,775
Fees collected $442,956.00 $476,710.00
Average fees collected per request $5.34 $5.03
Number of requests in which fees were waived or refunded 5,597 7,184
Fees waived or refunded $229,955.00 $48,747.00
Average fees waived per request $41.09 $6.79

Table 16 Notes

Table 16 Note 1

Cost of operations includes salaries, overtime, goods and services, contracts and all other expenses specific to access to information and privacy offices. Costs associated with time spent by business areas searching for and reviewing records are not included here.

Return to table 16 note 1 referrer

Table 16 Note 2

This calculation uses the total cost of operations in the reporting period to obtain the average cost per closed request. However, in actuality, the total cost of operations reflects processing costs of some requests that will be carried over into the next reporting period, in addition to closed requests, so the calculation is an approximation.

Return to table 16 note 2 referrer

Informal requests for government information

An informal request is a request for information made to a government institution subject to the Access to Information Act that is either not made or not processed under the Act.

Informal requests include:

  • formal requests that were discontinued in favour of providing information informally, in consultation with the requester
  • advising requesters when information is already publicly available online
  • the re-release of information made available through previously closed formal requests, summaries of which are found online.

Informal requests do not include:

  • responses to parliamentary questions or media enquiries
  • requests made internally within a government institution to share information between sectors

Unlike in the case of formal requests:

  • fees cannot be charged under the Act for informal requests
  • there are no deadlines for responding to informal requests
  • requesters have no statutory right of complaint to the Information Commissioner

In the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, 63.1% of informal requests were closed within 30 days, compared with 61.2% in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year.

Table 17: time required to close informal requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Closure time
0 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 days Total
Number of requests 11,415 2,051 1,135 501 2,589 411 18,102

Access to Information Act requests since 1983

The statistics that follow reflect the best available data since 1983. The categories have been adjusted in some cases in order to compare data across the years.

Table 18: number of Access to Information Act requests since 1983
Requests under the Access to Information Act Number of requests
Requests received 979,531
Requests closed 946,856
Figure 7: disposition of closed Access to Information Act requests since 1983
disposition of closed Access to Information Act requests since 1983. Text version below:
Figure 7 - Text version

This table identifies the disposition of closed requests since 1983.

Disposition of closed requests Requests as percentage
All disclosed 25.7%
Disclosed in part 50.3%
Unable to process 18.9%
Withheld entirely 2.3%
Other 2.8%

In the preceding figure:

  • “Unable to process” includes the categories “no records exist,”Footnote 3 “abandoned”Footnote 4 and “requests that could not be processed.”Footnote 5
  • “Withheld entirely” includes the categories “all exempted” and “all excluded.”
  • “Other” includes the categories “transferred,” “neither confirmed nor denied” and “treated informally.”
Table 19: disposition of closed Access to Information Act requests since 1983
Disposition of closed requests Requests as percentage Number of requests
Disclosed in part 50.3 475,838
All disclosed 25.7 243,025
All exempted 1.7 16,385
All excluded 0.6 5,623
No records exist 4.6 43,580
Abandoned 4.3 41,133
Transferred 1.2 11,253
Neither confirmed nor denied 0.1 1256
Treated informally 1.5 14,057
Requests that could not be processed 10.0 94,706
Total 100.0 946,856
Table 20: time required to close Access to Information Act requests since 1983
Closure time (including requests for which extensions were required) Requests as percentage Number of requests
0 to 30 days 60.2 570,356
31 to 60 days 19.0 179,965
61 days or more 20.8 196,535
Total 100.0 946,856
Table 21: fees and costs of Access to Information Act since 1983
Descriptions Amount
Requests closed 946,856
Cost of operationstable 21 note 1 $936,745,424.70
Average cost per closed requesttable 21 note 2 $989.32
Fees collected $7,790,451.02
Average fees collected per closed requesttable 21 note 3 $8.23
Fees waived $3,651,146.94
Average fees waived per closed requesttable 21 note 4 $3.86

Table 21 Notes

Table 21 Note 1

The cumulative cost of operations since 1983 has not been adjusted for inflation.

Return to table 21 note 1 referrer

Table 21 Note 2

This calculation uses the total cost of operations to obtain the average cost per closed request since 1983. However, in actuality, the total cost of operations reflects processing costs of some requests that will be carried over into the next reporting period, in addition to closed requests, so the calculation is an approximation.

Return to table 21 note 2 referrer

Table 21 Note 3

This calculation uses the total amount of fees collected to obtain the average fees collected per closed request since 1983. However, in actuality, fees would not have been collected for every closed request.

Return to table 21 note 3 referrer

Table 21 Note 4

This calculation uses the total amount of fees waived to obtain the average fees waived per closed request since 1983. However, in actuality, fees would not have been waived for every closed request.

Return to table 21 note 4 referrer

Privacy Act statistics for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year

Requests under the Privacy Act

67,967 requests were received in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, a decrease of 3.6% from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year.

Of the 89,171 requests that were either received in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year or outstanding from the previous period, 69.1% were closed. This is a decrease from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year: of the 86,916 requests received in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year or outstanding from the previous period, 75.6% were closed.

10 government institutions received 93.1% of all new requests in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Table 22: requests received and closed under the Privacy Act, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Requests under the Privacy Act Number of requests
Outstanding from 2016 to 2017 reporting periodtable 22 note 1 21,204
Received during 2017 to 2018 reporting period 67,967
Total 89,171
Closed during 2017 to 2018 reporting period 61,574
Carried over to 2018 to 2019 reporting period 27,597

Table 22 Notes

Table 22 Note 1

Due to administrative errors, there are small inconsistencies between the statistical data for the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and the statistical data for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year regarding the number of requests or consultations left outstanding at the end of the 2016 to 2017 reporting period.

Return to table 22 note 1 referrer

Figure 8: requests received and closed under the Privacy Act, from 2015 to 2016 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
requests received and closed under the Privacy Act, from 2015 to 2016 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 8 - Text version

This table shows the number of requests under the Privacy Act received, closed and carried forward from the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year to the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year, and from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year to the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Requests under the Privacy Act 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Outstanding from previous reporting period 15,022 16,426 21,204
Requests received during reporting period 70,833 70,490 67,967
Closed during reporting period 70,079 65,713 61,574
Carried over to next reporting period 15,776 21,203 27,597
Table 23: Privacy Act requests by top 10 institutions, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Rank Name of institution Number of requests received Requests received as percentage Pages processedtable 23 note 1
1 Canada Border Services Agency 13,429 19.8 684,231
2 Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada 13,368 19.7 873,279
3 Employment and Social Development Canada 8,852 13.0 798,436
4 National Defence 7,393 10.9 1,323,272
5 Correctional Service of Canada 6,211 9.1 505,801
6 Royal Canadian Mounted Police 4,996 7.4 523,160
7 Canada Revenue Agency 3,791 5.6 920,251
8 Immigration and Refugee Board 3,417 5.0 192,835
9 Veterans Affairs Canada 946 1.4 374,467
10 Canadian Security Intelligence Service 844 1.2 22,672
Other institutions 4,720 6.9 2,905,470
Total 67,967 100.0 9,123,874

Table 23 Notes

Table 23 Note 1

The number of pages processed per government institution represents the total processed pages for closed requests. This does not include the number of pages processed for requests that were carried over into the next reporting period.

Return to table 23 note 1 referrer

Timeliness

74.7% of requests closed in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year were closed within established timelines (that is, closed within the statutory deadline of 30 days or within an extension period provided for in the Act). The comparable figure for the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year was 80.4%.

Of 61,574 requests closed in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, 39,073 requests, or 63.5%, were closed within the initial statutory deadline of 30 days.

Table 24: status of closed Privacy Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Status of closed requests Requests as percentage Number of requests
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Closed within statutory deadline, including extensions 80.4 74.7 52,824 46,011
Closed beyond statutory deadline, including extensions 19.6 25.3 12,889 15,563
Total 100.0 100.0 65,713 61,574
Figure 9: Privacy Act requests closed within established timelines, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Privacy Act requests closed within established timelines, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 9 - Text version

This table compares the status of requests closed in the last 5 years, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Status of closed request 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Closed within statutory deadline, including extensions 76.4% 82.1% 80.4% 80.4% 74.7%
Closed beyond statutory deadline, including extensions 23.6% 17.9% 19.6% 19.6% 25.3%
Table 25: disposition and time required to close Privacy Act requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition of requests (including requests for which extensions were required) Closure timetable 25 note 1
0 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 12,626 3,854 696 486 524 508 18,694
Disclosed in part 14,759 5,678 2,028 1,010 1,469 2,013 26,957
All exempted 166 41 26 10 8 19 270
All excluded 3 0 0 1 3 0 7
No records exist 6,939   530 303 111 135 75 8,093
Request abandonedtable 25 note 2 4,202 295 155 84 260 2,156 7,152
Neither confirmed nor deniedtable 25 note 3 378 6 4 0 0 13 401
Total 39,073 10,404 3,212 1,702 2,399 4,784 61,574
Total percentage 63.5 16.9 5.2 2.8 3.8 7.8 100.0

Table 25 Notes

Table 25 Note 1

The number of days to close requests or consultations refers to calendar days.

Return to table 25 note 1 referrer

Table 25 Note 2

An abandoned request is a request that has been formally withdrawn by the requester, or the requester did not respond to a notice indicating that the request will be closed if they do not respond within a specified time period.

Return to table 25 note 2 referrer

Table 25 Note 3

The category “neither confirmed nor denied” relates to requests for which subsection 16(1) of the Privacy Act was invoked: “The head of a government institution may but is not required to indicate under subsection 16(1) whether personal information exists.”

Return to table 25 note 3 referrer

Table 26: time required to close Privacy Act requests according to time period: 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Closure time Requests as percentage Number of requests
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
0 to 30 days 72.3 63.5 47,524 39,073
31 to 60 days 13.7 16.9 9,006 10,404
61 to 120 days 4.8 5.2 3,129 3,212
121 to 180 days 3.0 2.8 1,992 1,702
181 to 365 days 2.7 3.8 1,755 2,399
More than 365 days 3.5 7.8 2,307 4,784
Total 100.0 100.0 65,713 61,574
Figure 10: time required to close Privacy Act requests, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
time required to close Privacy Act requests, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 10 - Text version

This table compares the time required to close requests, listed according to time periods, for the last 5 years, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Closure time 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
0 to 30 days 64.7% 69.9% 65.8% 72.3% 63.5%
31 to 60 days 16.0% 15.9% 19.1% 13.7% 16.9%
61 to 120 days 5.8% 4.4% 4.4% 4.8% 5.2%
121 days or more 13.5% 9.8% 10.7% 9.2% 14.4%

Note: Before the 2011 to 2012 reporting period, only 4 time periods for closing requests were recorded. The data for the 2011 to 2012 reporting period onwards has therefore been consolidated for time periods of more than 121 days.

Table 27: principal reasons for Privacy Act requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Principal reason Total number of requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions (deemed refusal)
Workload 14,896
External consultation 69
Internal consultation 23
Othertable 27 note 1 575
Total 15,563

Table 27 Notes

Table 27 Note 1

Other reasons include the unavailability of key officials, difficulties in obtaining relevant records, labour disputes and lengthy power outages.

Return to table 27 note 1 referrer

Note: The information in this table reflects requests that were neither closed in the initial 30 days nor closed within the timeframe covered by an extension. These requests are referred to as “deemed refusals.”

Table 28: number of days past deadline for Privacy Act requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
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 requests closed beyond the statutory deadline including extensions Total as percentage
1 to 30 days 3,709 603 4,312 27.7
31 to 60 days 1,059 388 1,447 9.3
61 to 120 days 1,395 515 1,910 12.3
121 to 180 days 1,071 240 1,311 8.4
181 to 365 days 1,754 235 1,989 12.8
More than 365 days 3,254 1,340 4,594 29.5
Total 12,242 3,321 15,563 100.0

Disposition

Records were disclosed either in full or in part for 74.2% of closed requests. This is a 5.8% relative increase, as compared with the previous period.

Table 29: disposition of closed Privacy Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition of closed requests Requests as percentage Number of requests
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
All disclosed 25.0 30.4 16,426 18,694
Disclosed in part 43.4 43.8 28,524 26,957
All exempted 0.6 0.4 404 270
All excluded 0.0 0.0 6 7
No records exist 20.4 13.1 13,398 8,093
Request abandoned 10.0 11.6 6,595 7,152
Neither confirmed nor denied 0.5 0.7 360 401
Total 100.0 100.0 65,713 61,574
Figure 11: disposition of closed Privacy Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
disposition of closed Privacy Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 11 - Text version

This table compares the disposition of closed requests from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year with the disposition of those for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Disposition of closed requests 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
All disclosed 16,426 18,694
Disclosed in part 28,524 26,957
All exempted 404 270
All excluded 6 7
No records exist 13,398 8,093
Request abandoned 6,595 7,152
Neither confirmed nor denied 360 401

Complexity

In the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, government institutions processed about 9.1 million pages for closed requests; 64% were disclosed either in full or in part.

Government institutions undertook outside consultations in 1.5% of all closed requests.

Table 30: relevant pages processed and disclosed regarding closed Privacy Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requeststable 30 note 1
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
All disclosed 911,322 895,256 847,850 831,635 16,426 18,694
Disclosed in part 7,119,892 8,071,604 5,158,833 4,961,915 28,524 26,957
All exempted 78,682 31,812 0 0 404 270
All excluded 204 1,004 0 0 6 7
Request abandonedtable 30 note 2 103,823 124,198 40,736 47,121 6,595 7,152
Total 8,213,923 9,123,874 6,047,419 5,840,671 51,955 53,080

Table 30 Notes

Table 30 Note 1

The total number of requests for each reporting period reflects the total number of requests closed in each period with the exception of those categorized as “no records exist” or “neither confirmed nor denied.”

Return to table 30 note 1 referrer

Table 30 Note 2

Some records may have been disclosed to the requester before the request’s abandonment.

Return to table 30 note 2 referrer

Note: Institutions subject to the Privacy Act may receive and process duplicate records and, in the end, release a single copy of the duplicates to the requester.

Figure 12: relevant pages processed regarding closed Privacy Act requests, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
relevant pages processed regarding closed Privacy Act requests, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. Text version below:
Figure 12 - Text version

This table identifies the number of pages processed over 5 years, from 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Disposition of closed requests 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
All disclosed 7,327,516 7,345,258 8,372,722 8,213,923 9,123,874
Table 31: other considerations regarding complexity of closed Privacy Act requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition Consultation required Legal advice sought Interwoven informationtable 31 note 1 Othertable 31 note 2 Total
All disclosed 37 1 104 234 376
Disclosed in part 843 25 4,129 560 5,557
All exempted 5 2 5 0 12
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 55 3 34 27 119
Neither confirmed nor denied 8 1 2 1 12
Total 948 32 4,274 822 6,076

Table 31 Notes

Table 31 Note 1

The category “interwoven information” includes requests wherein the relevant records contain personal information about another individual that is blended or intermixed with the personal information of the requester.

Return to table 31 note 1 referrer

Table 31 Note 2

Other considerations include requests for the contents of a database, requests to process audio or video recordings, high‑profile subject matter, instances in which records are located in another region or country, and instances in which the records are in a language other than English or French.

Return to table 31 note 2 referrer

Extensions

91.7% of all extensions taken for closed requests cited paragraph 15(a)(i) of the Privacy Act as a reason for the extension, relating to interference with government operations.

Table 32: reasons for and length of extensions regarding closed Privacy Act requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Length of extensionstable 32 note 1 15(a)(i): Interference with operations 15(a)(ii): Consultation 15(b): Translation or conversion Total
Section 70table 32 note 2 Othertable 32 note 3
1 to 15 days 28 0 4 0 32
16 to 30 days 5,972 4 527 10 6,503
Total 6,000 4 531 10 6,545

Table 32 Notes

Table 32 Note 1

The Privacy Act provides for a maximum extension of 30 days.

Return to table 32 note 1 referrer

Table 32 Note 2

Section 70 of the Privacy Act states that the Act does not apply to confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

Return to table 32 note 2 referrer

Table 32 Note 3

“Other” includes consultations with one or more of the following: other federal government institutions, provincial and municipal governments, foreign states, international organizations of states, Aboriginal governments, non‑governmental organizations or individuals.

Return to table 32 note 3 referrer

ExemptionsFootnote 6

The tables that follow indicate exemptions applied under the Privacy Act in requests closed during the reporting period.

Table 33a: exemptions for exempt banks
Provision Number of requests
18(2) 283
Table 33b: exemptions for personal information obtained in confidence
Provision Number of requests
19(1)(a) 936
19(1)(b) 71
19(1)(c) 922
19(1)(d) 608
19(1)(e) 1
19(1)(f) 2
Table 33c: exemptions for federal-provincial affairs
Provision Number of requests
20 3
Table 33d: exemptions for international affairs and defence
Provision Number of requests
21 5,998
Table 33e: exemptions for law enforcement and investigation
Provision Number of requests
22(1)(a)(i) 772
22(1)(a)(ii) 320
22(1)(a)(iii) 22
22(1)(b) 5,898
22(1)(c) 703
22(2) 2
22.1 18
22.2 1
22.3 7
Table 33f: exemptions for security clearances
Provision Number of requests
23(a) 11
23(b) 1
Table 33g: exemptions for individuals sentenced for an offence
Provision Number of requests
24(a) 3
24(b) 166
Table 33h: exemptions for safety of individuals
Provision Number of requests
25 70
Table 33i: exemptions for information about another individual
Provision Number of requests
26 23,034
Table 33j: exemptions for solicitor-client privilege
Provision Number of requests
27 703
Table 33k: exemptions for medical records
Provision Number of requests
28 20

ExclusionsFootnote 7

The tables that follow indicate exclusions applied under the Privacy Act for requests closed during the reporting period.

Table 34a: exclusions because Act does not apply to certain materials
Provision Number of requests
69(1)(a) 4
69(1)(b) 0
Table 34b: exclusions for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Provision Number of requests
69.1 0
Table 34c: exclusions for Cabinet confidences
Provision Number of requests
70(1) 3
70(1)(a) 1
70(1)(b) 0
70(1)(c) 1
70(1)(d) 1
70(1)(e) 4
70(1)(f) 0
Table 34d: exclusions for certificate under the Canada Evidence Act
Provision Number of requests
70.1 0

Consultations

The number of consultations between federal government institutions decreased by 12% from the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year to the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year.

Table 35: consultations by other government institutions regarding Privacy Act requests, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Consultations Number of consultations Number of pages to review
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Received during reporting period 567 483 49,937 80,711
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 34 46 4,675 23,946
Total 601 529 54,612 104,657
Closed during the reporting period 555 485 29,169 69,422
Pending at the end of the reporting period 46 44 25,443 35,235
Table 36: recommendations and closure time for consultations by other government institutions regarding Privacy Act requests, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Recommendation Number of days required to close consultation requests
1 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 155 18 9 3 2 1 188
Disclose in part 184 42 18 6 3 3 256
Exempt entirely 8 5 3 1 2 0 19
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institutiontable 36 note 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
Other 14 0 1 0 1 0 19
Total 367 65 31 10 8 4 485

Table 36 Notes

Table 36 Note 1

“Consult other institution” refers to a government institution’s recommendation that the institution that consulted them contact additional government institutions subject to the Privacy Act.

Return to table 36 note 1 referrer

Costs

The cost to administer the Government of Canada’s privacy program increased by 6.7% to $42.6 million in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, with the average cost per closed request decreasing by 3.9%.

Table 37: cost of Privacy Act operations, 2016 to 2017 fiscal year and 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Description of costs Amount
2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018
Cost of operationstable 37 note 1 $39,904,408.00 $42,577,934.00
Requests closed 65,713 61,574
Average cost per closed requesttable 37 note 2 $607.26 $691.49
Pages processed 8,213,923 9,123,874
Average cost per page processed $4.86 $4.67

Table 37 Notes

Table 37 Note 1

Cost of operations includes salaries, overtime, goods and services, contracts and all other expenses specific to Access to Information and Privacy offices. Costs associated with time spent by business areas searching for and reviewing records are not included here.

Return to table 37 note 1 referrer

Table 37 Note 2

This calculation uses the total cost of operations in the reporting period to obtain the average cost per closed request. However, in actuality, the total cost of operations reflects processing costs of some requests that will be carried over into the next reporting period, in addition to closed requests, so the calculation is an approximation.

Return to table 37 note 2 referrer

Disclosures under subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act

Subsection 8(1) of the Privacy Act states that “personal information under the control of a government institution shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be disclosed by the institution except in accordance with this section.” Subsection 8(2) of the Act, subject to other Acts of Parliament, provides for exceptions where it would be possible for government institutions to disclose personal information without consent.

Table 38: disclosures under subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Paragraph 8(2)(e)table 38 note 1 Paragraph 8(2)(m)table 38 note 2 Total
6,053 144 6,197

Table 38 Notes

Table 38 Note 1

Paragraph 8(2)(e) of the Privacy Act: “Subject to any other Act of Parliament, personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed… to an investigative body specified in the regulations, on the written request of the body, for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada or a province or carrying out a lawful investigation, if the request specifies the purpose and describes the information to be disclosed.”

Return to table 38 note 1 referrer

Table 38 Note 2

Paragraph 8(2)(m) of the Privacy Act: “Subject to any other Act of Parliament, personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed… for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution, (i) the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or (ii) disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates.”

Return to table 38 note 2 referrer

Requests for correction of personal information and notations

Subsection 12(2) of the Privacy Act provides individuals with the right to request that government institutions correct personal information under their control when the individual believes that it may contain errors or omissions. Alternatively, the individual may request that government institutions attach a notation to the information to reflect any corrections that were requested but not made.

Where the information has been disclosed to other individuals or organizations, government institutions are also required to advise them of the correction or notation.

Table 39: requests for correction of personal information, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Disposition of received requests Amount
Requests for correction accepted 141
Notations attached 27
Total 168

Privacy impact assessments

Privacy impact assessments (PIAs) provide a framework to ensure that privacy is considered throughout the design or redesign of programs or service delivery. PIAs identify the extent to which proposals comply with all appropriate statutes, assist managers and decision makers in avoiding or mitigating privacy risks, and promote informed policy, program and system design choices.

Completed PIAs must be submitted to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, as well as to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Table 40: number of privacy impact assessments initiated and completed, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Privacy impact assessments Amount
Number of PIAs completedtable 40 note 1 75

Table 40 Notes

Table 40 Note 1

“Completed” signifies privacy impact assessments that were submitted to both the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Information and Privacy Policy Division of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Return to table 40 note 1 referrer

Personal information banks

Personal Information Banks (PIBs) are descriptions of personal information held by government institutions. The Privacy Act requires that PIBs describe all personal information about individuals that is organized and retrievable by a person’s name or by an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned only to that person. PIBs must include personal information that has been or is being used, or is available for use, to support a program or activity.

Institution-specific PIBs describe personal information contained in the records of a specific government institution.

Standard PIBs describe personal information found in records created, collected and maintained by most government institutions to support common internal programs and activities, such as communications, travel and employment. They are created by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and government institutions can register against them.

Central PIBs describe personal information about members of the general public, as well as current and former employees from all or several government institutions. They are maintained by central government departments and agencies.

Table 41: Personal Information Banks, 2017 to 2018 fiscal year
Personal information banks Amount
Number of new institution-specific PIBs registered 19
Number of times standard PIBs were registered against by government institutionstable 41 note 1 123
Number of central PIBs registered 0
Total number of new PIBs registered 142
Number of government institutions registering new PIBs 27

Table 41 Notes

Table 41 Note 1

At the date of this report’s publication, there were 50 standard personal information banks maintained by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Return to table 41 note 1 referrer

Privacy Act requests since 1983

The statistics that follow reflect the best available data since 1983. The categories have been adjusted in some cases in order to compare data across the years.

Table 42: number of Privacy Act requests since 1983
Requests under the Privacy Act Number of requests
Requests received 1,644,446
Requests closed 1,616,640
Figure 13: disposition of closed Privacy Act requests since 1983
disposition of closed Privacy Act requests since 1983. Text version below:
Figure 13 - Text version

This table identifies the disposition of closed requests since 1983.

Disposition of closed requests Requests as percentage
All disclosed 43.7%
Disclosed in part 37.4%
Unable to process 17.8%
Withheld entirely 1.0%
Other 0.1%

In the preceding figure:

  • “Unable to process” includes the categories “no records exist,”Footnote 8 “transferred,”Footnote 9 “abandoned”Footnote 10 and “requests that could not be processed.”Footnote 11
  • “Withheld entirely” includes categories “all exempted” and “all excluded.”
  • “Other” consists of the category “neither confirmed nor denied.”
Table 43: disposition of closed Privacy Act requests since 1983
Disposition of closed requests Requests as percentage Number of requests
All disclosed 43.20 698,365
Disclosed in part 37.63 608,275
All exempted 0.95 15,354
All excluded 0.04 660
No records exist 4.16 67,290
Abandoned 5.64 91,187
Neither confirmed nor denied 0.10 1,656
Transferred 1.99 32,188
Requests that could not be processed 6.29 101,665
Total 100.00 1,616,640
Table 44: time required to close Privacy Act requests since 1983
Closure time (including requests for which extensions were required) Requests as percentage Number of requests
0 to 30 days 61.0 987,239
31 to 60 days 17.9 288,602
61 days or more 21.1 340,799
Total 100.0 1,616,640
Table 45: cost of Privacy Act operations since 1983
Description of cost of operations Amount
Requests closed 1,616,640
Cost of operationstable 45 note 1 $586,454,250.12
Average cost per closed requesttable 45 note 2 $362.76

Table 45 Notes

Table 45 Note 1

The cumulative cost of operations since 1983 has not been adjusted for inflation.

Return to table 45 note 1 referrer

Table 45 Note 2

This calculation uses the total cost of operations to obtain the average cost per closed request since 1983. However, in actuality, the total cost of operations reflects processing costs of some requests that will be carried over into the next reporting period, in addition to closed requests, so the calculation is an approximation.

Return to table 45 note 2 referrer

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2018,
ISSN: 2561-3545

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