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Annual Report to Parliament on the Access to Information Act 2010–2011
April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011
Table of Contents
The Access to Information Act (Revised Statutes of Canada, Chapter A-1, 1985) was proclaimed on July 1, 1983, giving Canadian citizens and permanent residents the right to access information contained in government records, subject to certain specific and limited exceptions.
Section 72 of the Access to Information Act (the Act) requires the head of every government institution to submit an annual report to Parliament on the administration of the Act. This annual report describes how the Canada School of Public Service (the School) administered its responsibilities under the Act during the fiscal year of 2010-2011.
Mandate of the Canada School of Public Service
The School is part of the Treasury Board portfolio. The School's enabling legislation is the Canada School of Public Service Act, under which it has the following mandate:
- encourage pride and excellence in the Public Service;
- foster a common sense of purpose, values and traditions in the Public Service;
- support of the growth and development of public servants;
- help ensure that public servants have the knowledge, skills and competencies they need to do their jobs effectively;
- support deputy heads in meeting the learning needs of their organizations; and
- pursue excellence in public management and administration.
The School has a single strategic outcome: "Public Servants have the common knowledge and the leadership and management competencies they require to fulfil their responsibilities in serving Canadians." This strategic outcome is supported by four program activities: Foundational Learning, Organizational Leadership Development, Public Sector Management Innovation, and Internal Services.
Organization and Implementation
Access to Information Act Activities
The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office is part of the Strategic Directions, Innovation and Program Development Directorate within the Strategic Directions, Program Development and Marketing Branch. It comprises one Director, who acts as the ATIP Coordinator for the School, and one ATIP Advisor.
The ATIP Coordinator is responsible for daily activities related to the administration of the Act.
The responsibilities of the School's ATIP Office include:
- processing requests for information submitted under the Act in accordance with legislation, regulations and Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) policies and guidelines;
- promoting awareness of the Act within the organization and developing efficient internal procedures;
- responding to consultations received from external organizations;
- applying all discretionary and mandatory exemptions under the Act;
- providing advice and guidance to employees, management and requesters on the application of the Act;
- responding to access-related matters in the Management Accountability Framework (MAF);
- assisting the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) in all access to information related matters, including complaints;
- reviewing departmental documents, such as audit and evaluation reports, prior to their proactive disclosure on the institution's website;
- coordinating of the annual Info Source update and its submission to TBS;
- preparing the statistical and annual report to Parliament on the Access to Information Act;
- participating in ATIP community activities, such as the Canadian Access and Privacy Association, the TBS ATIP community meetings and working groups.
Delegation of Authority
For the purpose of the Act, the Deputy Minister/President of the School delegated full authority to the Director/Coordinator of the ATIP Office.
The School's Policy and Guide to Access to Information and Privacy
The Policy and Guide to Access to Information and Privacy was developed to provide answers to questions about access to information and privacy from managers and employees of the School. The guide provides an overview of:
- the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and accompanying regulations;
- the policy at the School with respect to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act;
- the roles and responsibilities for ATIP within the School; and
- ATIP process and procedures.
In March 2010, the ATIP office created new internal processes. The School intends to review and update its 2008 guide by also making it accessible to all employees through the School's intranet, in the coming year.
Training and Awareness
In 2010-2011, there were two mandatory ATIP training sessions for the employees of the Human Resources Directorate, which were attended by 45 people. The School also offers a series of courses that provide an overview of ATIP; 117 School employees attended at least one of these courses during this reporting year.
Two Information Management (IM) Awareness presentations, which also provided an overview of ATIP, were given in November and December of 2010. The first presentation and workshop was with regional managers as part of a professional development meeting and the second was made to the regional executive assistants as part of a larger training session.
IM Awareness Sessions are currently delivered on an ad-hoc basis to the business units as requests for assistance are received and when a group is being prepared to receive the official School Information Classification Structure for records. ATIP is discussed during these sessions from the perspective of why it is important to manage information properly. The IM group also offers Welcome Sessions for all new employees that include a discussion of ATIP. IM communications often refer to ATIP when stressing the importance of cleaning up email and shared drives. Planned communications regarding the roll out of the GCDocs Electronic Document and Records Management System will also refer to ATIP in the context of the requirement for better management of information.
All formal access requests received by the School are forwarded to the ATIP Office, where they are reviewed for clarity and conformity with the legislation. Each request is then assigned to the office(s) of primary interest, which become(s) responsible for locating and retrieving the records containing the information sought. The ATIP Office tracks the progress of requests as they are distributed from and returned to the ATIP Office. The records are then analyzed and, if necessary, exemptions are applied.
The School's knowledge and activities related to ATIP are informed by a strong departmental commitment to IM. As part of this commitment, the IM Committee was established in 2008-2009 and became fully operational in 2009-2010. In addition to ensuring that department-wide information management practices and systems contribute to the achievement of the School's business objectives, the IM Committee provides guidance on the management of ATIP-related records. The ATIP Coordinator is the Co-chair of the Committee, thereby helping to build organizational awareness of ATIP issues and link these issues to IM strategies.
The IM Committee ensures focused attention on IM activities, particularly with regards to the assessment received by the School in the MAF for Area of Management 12 (Information Management).
More generally, in accordance with MAF, IM is an organization-wide priority and a responsibility of senior executives and managers. The School also participates in government-wide approaches to developing, implementing and sharing of IM policies and practices.
During 2010-2011, the School continued to focus on the implementation of its IM strategy and on ensuring that its implementation plan remains up to date.
In March 2011, in accordance to the School's new governance structure, the IM and Information Technology (IT) committees were merged into the IM/IT Working Group, reporting to the Vice President and Director General level Information Services Committee. This working group is jointly chaired by the Director of Client Portfolio Management and Infrastructure and the Director of IM.
Activities Undertaken in Response to Recommendations from the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC)
The OIC released a Special Report in February 2009 entitled "Systemic Issues Affecting Access to Information in Canada." The School implemented several government-wide learning activities in response to the recommendations of this report. These initiatives continue to support the learning needs of managers and federal public servants involved in responding to access to information requests.
Access to Information and Privacy Course
The School now offers as part of its curriculum a three-day ATIP course. Developed in collaboration with TBS in 2009-2010, this course provides an overview of the ATIP function as well as the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders involved.
The course was delivered on 14 occasions during the fiscal year with a total of 235 participants. Offerings were held in the National Capital Region, British Columbia, Quebec and the Atlantic Region.
The School has updated all references to ATIP in its IM curriculum and Authority Delegation Training (ADT) courses to ensure their completeness, accuracy and relevance. This initiative will ensure consistent messaging to all course participants. In addition, the updating of policy references in ADT course documentation will ensure that current information is delivered to newly appointed supervisors, managers and senior leaders. Over 8,800 managers and executives participated in this training in 2010-2011.
The School's Armchair Discussions program provides a forum for discussion of programs and activities of interest. In October 2010, the Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddard, led a discussion regarding current privacy risks as well as measures to strengthen safeguards around the personal information of all Canadians. This event proved successful and raised the profile of privacy issues with public service participants.
Integrated Learning Strategy
In cooperation with the office of the Chief Information Officer and under the guidance of the Committee of Information Management in Business, the School completed work on an Integrated Learning Strategy for ATIP and IM specialists and generalists.
The Integrated Learning Strategy includes a series of recommendations that will guide efforts to develop, maintain, and enhance the skills and knowledge of the IM and ATIP communities across the federal Public Service over the next three years.
To ensure that federal institutions comply with their access to information obligations and that all requesters are treated fairly and consistently, sections 41 to 53 of the Access to Information Act provide for a review of decisions made under the Act. The first level of review is a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner of Canada; the second is an appeal to the Federal Court.
During the 2009-2010 reporting year, two complaints were filed with the OIC against the School. In both cases, the requester alleged that the School had improperly applied an exemption under section 18(b), thereby unjustifiably denying access. One complaint was discontinued at the request of the requester and one is still under investigation.
Four complaints in total were filed with the OIC against the School during the 2010-2011 reporting year. Two of the four complaints concerned the same file. The complaints regarding this file alleged that the School did not provide information in the requested format and that the School therefore did not consider its obligations under the duty-to-assist provision. Additionally, the second complaint alleged that the School did not meet its legislative response time. The third complaint also alleged that the School did not provide information in the requested format. As a result of the investigation, the School agreed to address both formatting complaints by providing an electronic version of the information.
The fourth complaint alleged that the School had improperly applied an exemption under subsection 19(1), thereby unjustifiably denying access. This complaint will be closed pending the OIC's letter of resolution.
During the 2010-2011 reporting year, there were no appeals to the Federal Court.
Section 71 of the Act requires government institutions to provide facilities where the public may inspect manuals used by employees of the institution in administering or carrying out programs or activities. In accordance with this section, the School has a library designated as a public reading room. It is made available to the public upon request. The library is located at the following address:
241 Cité-des-Jeunes Boulevard, Room 1359
Interpretation of the Access to Information Act Statistical Report 2010-2011
A) Requests Received under the Act
Between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, the School received 64 new requests for information under the Act. Of the 64 new requests, six were carried forward to the following reporting year. As well, 11 consultation requests were received from other government organizations. No requests were outstanding from the previous year.
The requests were completed as follows:
- 25 were disclosed in full
- 12 were disclosed in part
- 12 could not be processed, (no records were found)
- 5 were exempted in their entirety
- 3 were abandoned by the requester
- 1 was transferred.
Over the last four reporting years, there has been an increase in access to information requests.
Trends in Access to Information Requests for 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
- 2007-2008: 12
- 2008-2009: 51
- 2009-2010: 54
- 2010-2011: 64
Consultations from other organizations
- 2007-2008: 14
- 2008-2009: 9
- 2009-2010: 11
- 2010-2011: 11
B) ATI Requests Received by Source
Of the 64 requests received during the 2010-2011 fiscal year,
- 53 came from the public
- 6 came from businesses
- 4 came from the media
- 1 came from academia
C) Exemptions Invoked
This section of the Statistical Report is intended to identify the number of requests where specific exemptions were invoked to deny access. If the same exemption is claimed several times for the same request, it is reported only once.
The School applied exemptions under sections 18, 19, and 20 of the Act. The exemption most commonly used by the School during the period was section 19.1 (personal information).
D) Exclusions Cited
There were no exclusions.
E) Time Extensions
Formal extensions were sought for searching in one case and for consultation in two cases.
F) Completion Time
A total of 50 requests were completed in 30 days or less; 5 requests were completed between 31 and 60 days; and 3 requests were completed between 61 and 120 days. No requests were completed in 121 days and over.
G) Method of Access
A total of 37 requests resulted in the release of records. All records were released on paper or compact disc to the requesters.
The Act authorizes fees for certain activities related to the processing of formal requests under the Act. In addition to a $5 application fee, search, preparation and reproduction charges may apply to various records. Current fees are specified in the Access to Information Regulations. No fees are imposed for reviewing records or for overhead shipping costs and, in accordance with section 11 of the Act, no fees are charged for the first five hours required to search for a record or prepare any part of the record for disclosure.
The fees collected during the reporting period totalled $270. Fees under $25 were waived four times for a total amount of $20.
Dedicated salary costs associated with the administration of the Act are estimated at $68,788, with Overhead and Maintenance costs at $1,550 for a total of $70,338. The dedicated employee resources for 2010-2011 are fixed at 1.5 full-time equivalents.
Institution: Canada School of Public Service
Reporting period: April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011
- Media: 4
- Academia: 1
- Business: 6
- Organization: 0
- Public: 53
I. Requests under the Access to Information Act
Received during the reporting period: 64
Outstanding from previous period: 0
Completed during reporting period: 58
Carried forward: 6
II. Disposition of requests completed
- All disclosed: 25
- Disclosed in part: 12
- Nothing disclosed (excluded): 0
- Nothing disclosed (exempt): 5
- Transferred: 1
- Unable to process: 12
- Abandoned by applicant: 3
- Treated informally: 0
III. Exemptions invoked
Subsection 15(1) International rel.:
Subsection 15(1) Defence:
Subsection 15(1) Subversive activities:
Paragraph 18(b): 8
Subsection 19(1): 9
Paragraph 20(1)(b): 4
Paragraph 20(1)(c): 1
Paragraph 20(1)(d): 1
IV. Exclusions cited
V. Completion time
30 days or under: 50
31 to 60 days: 5
61 to 120 days: 3
121 days or over: 0
- 30 days or under: 0
- 31 days or over: 1
- 30 days or under: 2
- 31 days or over: 0
- 30 days or under: 0
- 31 days or over: 0
- 30 days or under: 2
- 31 days or over: 1
Translations requested: 0
- English to French: 0
- French to English: 0
VIII. Method of access
Copies given: 37
Copies and examination: 0
Net fees collected:
- Application fees: 270
- Reproduction: 0
- Searching: 0
- Preparation: 0
- Computer processing: 0
- $25.00 or under:
- Over $25.00:
Financial (all reasons):
- Salary: $68,788
- Administration (O and M): $1,550
Person year utilization (all reasons):
- Person year (decimal format): 1.5
Supplemental Reporting Requirements
The Canada School of Public Service did not invoke any of the exemptions or exclusions noted below during the reporting period of April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011.
Part III - Exemptions invoked
Part IV - Exclusions cited
Access to Information Act
I, the undersigned President of the Canada School of Public Service, pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act, hereby authorize the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator to exercise signing authorities or perform any of the President's powers, duties or functions vested in him by the Access to Information Act.
Original signed by:
Michele Brenning for
Guy Mc Kenzie
Canada School of Public Service
December 9, 2010
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