ARCHIVED - Annual Report to Parliament: Access to Information Act and Privacy Act 2005 - 2006

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Author: Published under the authority of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Date: 2006
ISBN: 978-0-662-49550-0
QS- (QS-6220-000-BB-A1)

PDF Version   (1022 Kb, 25 Pages)



Table of Contents




Introduction

While the purpose of the Privacy Act (PA), proclaimed in July 1983, is "to extend the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a government institution and that provide individuals with a right of access to that information" (section 2), the purpose of the Access to Information Act (ATIA), also proclaimed in July 1983, is "to extend the present laws of Canada to provide a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution" (section 2) to Canadians, permanent residents and anyone living in Canada.

The principles underlying these legislations are:

This Annual Report to Parliament is for the 2005-2006 fiscal year, as required under subsections 72(1) and 72(2) of both the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Delegated Authorities

Under Section 73 of both Acts, the Minister's authority is delegated to enable the Department to meet its legislated requirements as well as exercise its powers. Responsibility for all sections of the Acts has been delegated to the Corporate Secretary, Office of the Corporate Secretariat and to the Departmental Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator.

Mandate, Roles and Responsibilities

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

The Department's mission is to "work together to make Canada a better place for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Northerners. " This mission is achieved through the exercise of two distinct mandates – Indian and Inuit Affairs, and Northern Development – both aimed at providing opportunities for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Northerners to more fully participate in and benefit from Canada's political, social and economic development.

In June 2004, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada also became the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.

The Department is generally responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North. This broad mandate is derived largely from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act , the Indian Act , territorial acts and legal obligations arising from section 91(24) of the Constitution Act , 1867. The Department is responsible for administering over 50 statutes. Consequently, INAC's mandate is complex and its responsibilities encompass a broad range of services. Its portfolio necessitates working with a range of departments within the federal government; First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders; provincial and territorial governments; circumpolar governments; and service delivery agents, as well as with the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

With respect to the Department's responsibilities for Northern Affairs, INAC is the lead federal department for a region that comprises 40 percent of Canada's land mass. The Department plays a direct role in the political and economic development of the territories, including carrying out province-like responsibilities for the management of land and resources in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (prior to the conclusion of devolution agreements) and specific duties related to environmental protection, management of offshore oil and gas resources, and the co-ordination of scientific resources in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Canadian Polar Commission

The Canadian Polar Commission is responsible for monitoring, promoting and disseminating knowledge of the polar regions; contributing to public awareness of the importance of polar science to Canada; enhancing Canada's international profile as a circumpolar nation; and recommending polar science policy direction to government.

Established in 1991 as Canada's lead agency in the area of polar research, the Commission operates as an independent agency under the Canadian Polar Commission Act. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of INAC.

Indian Specific Claims Commission

The mission of the Indian Specific Claims Commission is to assist First Nations and Canada to settle specific claims. Performing a quasi-judicial role, the Commission provides an independent means: to review specific land claims at the request of a First Nation, when its claim has been rejected by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development or when a First Nation disagrees with the compensation criteria to be used by the government in negotiating the settlement of its claim; and to provide mediation services for claims during negotiations.

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1. Administration of Personal Information

Privacy Impact Assessments

The Privacy Policy division of the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) unit has been instrumental in making the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) process a focal point for privacy activities at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). By providing advice and guidance, including written and verbal training, the Privacy Policy division has enabled all INAC program offices to incorporate privacy into their fundamental program planning.

Over the past year, the Department has remained firmly committed to the implementation of the PIA policy. It has acquired the necessary experience and skills to conduct PIA(s) by departmental staff, rather than acquiring the services of consultants, as in the past.

The departmental Privacy Committee has expanded its role to ensure that all privacy matters of significance to the Department are addressed.

A PIA outlines salient points about new or existing personal information, including hard copy format or through technology systems, by answering questions about the information that will be collected, who will be able to access the information, how the information and data will be maintained, what administrative controls will be in place, and how the decision to use the information was made. From the initiation of a PIA to the final product, the Privacy Policy division has provided PIA direction to program offices and its components.

The Privacy Policy division has provided critical privacy advice to new initiatives, resulting in changes that will improve privacy protection in departmental programs. Procedures are being established to ensure that privacy is considered throughout the life cycle of INAC's processes and programs and that fair information principle inform policy decisions concerning data collection and use.

In this past fiscal year, INAC, initiated two PIAs, completed two PIAs, and completed one preliminary PIA.

Web-based Public Enquiry System (CallBase): (PIA completed)

The INAC Departmental Library has responsibilities not only for library services but also for administering the Public Enquiries services. To fulfill this responsibility, the Departmental Library has been utilizing a supporting database called Callbase to record the enquiries. To improve the services offered through the Public Enquiries process, the Departmental Library created a web-based version of the database to enable sharing of the database among the regional and headquarters Public Enquiries staff. In hand with this change will be an increase in the number of staff tasked with responding to public enquiries.

First Nations & Inuit Transfer Payment System (FNITP): (PIA completed)

Transfer payments are made to First Nations governments / Inuit communities and their Administering Organizations to enable the delivery of essential services to their respective community members in accordance with Treasury Board's Policy on Transfer Payments and INAC's internal accountability, performance reporting and evaluation requirements. Transfer payments are also available to specific individuals through Individual Agreements. Overall INAC program and financial reporting requirements are respectively set out in the First Nations National Reporting Guide (FNNRG) and the Year End Reporting Handbook. INAC regional offices provide region-specific versions of FNNRGs to First Nations. Currently the collection of data for these reporting requirements is paper-based and enabled through the various regional offices, which are responsible for entering the data into various regional and national databases (expert systems). The FNITP System is intended to apply technology in order to modernize business processes. Business transformation is necessary to effect a reduction in the reporting burden associated with the current management process for funding arrangements.

National Education Dashboard: (PPIA)

The National Education Dashboard combines the Education Tracing System and Quebec region's Education Dashboard into one system. The rationale form completing a PPIA is that there is very little privacy information available to the end user of the National Education Dashboard. The National Education Dashboard consists of two components. A standard education indicator, this component pulls together data from three different sources and allows reporting of aggregate level data across a predefined set of education indicators. The Education Tracing Systems, this is a tool that allows users to conduct longitudinal analysis of students within INAC's elementary/secondary and post-secondary databases over time. The tracing system measures three standard outcome measures for education achievement.

Security Services Information System (SSIS): (PIA initiated)

SSIS is a mission critical application built by the Information Management Branch for the Accommodation and Security Services Division (within Administrative Services Directorate/Corporate Services), Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Its main functions are the recording and maintenance of information/data related to security clearances and the issuance of ID cards for employees, contractors and students working at INAC. SSIS is also used for tracking physical security items such as keys, padlocks, cypher locks, safes, secure telephones, and other assets across the country. It is a corporate application (supporting HQ and regions) which includes the PeopleSoft Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for personnel, position and classification information. The main purpose of the SSIS is to ensure the security screening of individuals, according to the Government Security Policy and departmental policies, in order to ensure only reliable, trustworthy and loyal individuals are employed by the Government of Canada. This applies to all positions and to all phases of the contracting process, and when an individual's duties or tasks require access to essential persons or installations critical to the national interest that are deemed to afford regular and consistent access to classified information and assets. Until the required checks are complete, individuals cannot be appointed to a position or have access to sensitive information and assets.

Persons With Disabilities Program (PWD): (PIA initiated)

The PWD Program is a British Columbia (BC) provincially legislated disabilities program that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is making available on-reserve using similar criteria and procedures. On-reserve residents who are collecting social assistance may apply for a disability designation in order to receive higher social assistance benefits. The PWD Interface is being created by the First Nations Social Development Society (FNSDS) to speed up data entry and reduce double entry of information that is currently the situation with the PWD as used by INAC.

NB: No website links are available to the summary of the PIA(s)/ PPIA(s)

Memoranda of Understanding

Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) initiated with INAC and other institutions for the disclosure of personal information continue to be a significant vehicle. The Department is presently implementing a procedural document to assist employees in formulating MOU(s) to ensure consistency when disclosing personal information through this method.

These MOUs entail extensive negotiations to ensure the agreements contain the necessary privacy clauses to protect the personal information being disclosed.

The following is a description of the three MOUs initiated in the past fiscal year:

  1. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a common PeopleSoft database, namely PeopleSoft Human Resource Management System (HRMS);
  2. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Indian Residential Schools Resolution (OIRSR) Canada for a common PeopleSoft database, namely PeopleSoft HRMS; and,
  3. Within Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the Programs Application Data Sharing Agreement for National Post-Secondary Education System (NPSES), Indian Registry System (IRS), Nominal Role System (NRS) and National Education Dashboard Project have agreed to share information in order to provide to the Dashboard prototype and its functionality to the Education Branch Program.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada remains committed to formulating, developing, implementing, and promoting effective individual privacy protection strategies and programs. These strategies and programs will enhance the efforts of the Department to earn the highest degree of confidence by its employees and stakeholders.

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2. The Access to Information Act

Highlights

Between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2006 the Department received 304 requests for information under the Access to Information Act (see Figure 1). Along with the 304 new requests received, 54 requests were carried over from the previous fiscal year, for a total of 358 requests. During the reporting period, 317 requests were completed; 41 have been carried over to the next reporting period. In keeping with its third principle (see page 5), the ATIP Unit reviews and develops, on an ongoing basis, informal processes to access departmental information without resort to the Act, to ensure the Department respects and meets the intent and spirit of the Act. INAC continues to be committed to improving timeliness in responding to requests. In the 2004-2005 reporting period, the response rate was 94.2% on time. In 2005-2006, responses were provided within the legislated time frame in 88.1% of cases. This decrease, we believe, was most likely due to staff turnaround and difficulties in recruiting, which was addressed at the end of the fiscal year.

Figure 1: Access to Information requests received in each fiscal year between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006.
Figure 1 - Access to Information requests received in each fiscal year between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006

As in fiscal year 2004-2005, the Access to Information and Privacy Unit processed all requests using the ATIPImage Advanced software, thus significantly reducing the amount of paper used. All responsive records are scanned into the database, making it possible to review and sever records electronically. Since all files are now stored electronically, less physical space is required for storage. We have noticed a significant increase in the number of requesters opting to receive the release package on CD format.

Requestor Sources

The Access to Information requests received during this reporting period break down as follows (see Figure 2):

Media70
Academia9
Business92
Organization31
Public102

 

Figure 2: Access to Information requests received between April 1, 2005, and March 31, 2006.
Figure 2 - Access to Information requests received between April 1, 2005, and March 31, 2006

 

Disposition of Completed Requests

The distribution of completed requests is as follows (see Figure 3):

All Disclosed 85 (26.81%)
Disclosed in Part 135 (42.59%)
Nothing Disclosed (Excluded)3 (0.95%)
Nothing Disclosed (Exempt)4 (1.26%)
Transferred 2 (0.63%)
Unable to Process[Note 1] 50 (15.77%)
Abandoned by the Applicant36 (11.36%)
Treated Informally2 (0.63%)
TOTAL 317

 

Figure 3: Disposition of completed requests received between April 1, 2005, and March 31, 2006.
Figure 3 - Disposition of completed requests received between April 1, 2005, and March 31, 2006

 

Fees and Costs

Fees are calculated in accordance with provisions of the Access to Information Act and its attendant regulations. A $5.00 application fee is charged for processing a request. The first five hours of processing the request are free of charge. Any further time is charged at a rate of $10.00 per hour. A photocopy fee of $0.20 per page is charged if more than 125 pages must be copied. However, requesters have the option of receiving records on a CD-ROM without charge. Fees may be waived at the discretion of the Department. For the reporting period, the Department collected $5,053.30 in fees, and waived $18,847.80 in fees [Note 2].

Consultations with Other Institutions

When a request contains records that are of a greater interest to another institution, the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator of that institution is consulted. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada was consulted in 148 cases in the reporting period. For these 148 cases, the Access to Information and Privacy unit reviewed 7,967 pages and agreed to release 7,374 pages (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Number of pages reviewed and released between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006.
Figure 4 - Number of pages reviewed and released between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006

Complaints and Investigations

To ensure that federal institutions fully comply with the Act, and that all requesters are treated fairly and consistently, sections 41 to 53 of the Access to Information Act provide for a two-tiered system of review of decisions made under the Act. The first level is a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner of Canada and the second level is an appeal to the Federal Court.

During the reporting period, 59 complaints against the Department were filed with the Information Commissioner of Canada. To deal with these, 43 investigations were completed; 16 will be carried over to the next reporting period. Of the 43 completed investigations, the Information Commissioner of Canada found that two complaints were not substantiated, 30 were discontinued and seven were resolved to the satisfaction of the requester. Four complaints were found to be well founded, for which the Department subsequently agreed to the release of additional information, to the requesters' and the Information Commissioner's satisfaction.

The Department received one appeal from the Federal Court during this report period. The appeal was withdrawn.

Report on the Access to Information Act

Institution Indian and Northern Affaires Canada
Reporting Period 04/01/2005 to 03/31/2006
Source
Media 70
Academia 9
Business 92
Organization 31
Public 102

I. Requests under the Access to Information Act
Received during reporting period 304
Outstanding from previous period 54
TOTAL 358
Completed during reporting period 317
Carried forward 41

II Disposition of requests completed
1. All disclosed 85
2. Disclosed in part 135
3. Nothing disclosed (excluded) 3
4. Nothing disclosed (exempt) 4
5. Transferred 2
6. Unable to process 50
7. Abandoned by applicant 36
8. Treated informally 2
TOTAL 317

III Exemptions invoked
S. 13(1)(a) 0
  (b) 0
  (c) 7
  (d) 2
S. 14 0
S. 15(1) International rel. 0
  Defence 0
  Subversive activities 0
S. 16(1)(a) 4
  (b) 0
  (c) 5
  (d) 0
S. 16(2) 0
S. 16(3) 0
S. 17 5
S. 18(a) 2
  (b) 1
  (c) 0
  (d) 2
S. 19(1) 110
S. 20(1)(a) 1
  (b) 65
  (c) 28
  (d) 29
S. 21(1)(a) 46
  (b) 39
  (c) 26
  (d) 4
S. 22 5
S. 23 39
S. 24 0
S. 26 0

IV Exclusions cited
S. 68(a) 0
  (b) 0
  (c) 0
S. 69(1)(a) 6
  (b) 0
  (c) 2
  (d) 0
  (e) 6
  (f) 0
  (g) 17

V Completion time
30 days or under 186
31 to 60 days 44
61 to 120 days 62
121 days or over 25

VI Extensions
  30 days or under 31 days or over
Searching 19 14
Consultation 48 16
Third Party 1 67
TOTAL 68 97

VII Translations
Translations requested 0
Translations prepared
English to French 0
French to English 0

VIII Method of Access
Copies given 217
Examination 2
Copies and examination 1

IX Fees
Net fees collected
Application fees $1,440.00
Reproduction $879.60
Searching $2,615.70
Preparation $28.00
Computer processing $90.00
TOTAL $5,053.30

Fees waived No. of times $
$25.00 or under 134 $902.20
Over $25.00 72 $18,847.80

X Costs
Financial (all reasons) ($000)
Salary $880.7
Administration (O and M) $117.0
Total $997.7
Person year utilization (all reasons)
Person year (decimal format) 16.3
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3. The Privacy Act

Highlights

Between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2006, the Department received 655 requests for information under the Privacy Act (PA) (Figure 5). This number includes 28 formal requests under the PA (see statistical report at the end of this Chapter), as well as requests processed under our informal processes called Privacy Disclosures (624 requests) and Privacy Informals (3 requests). During the reporting period, 638 requests were processed and 17 will be carried over to the next reporting period. The most common types of requests were for records that related to registration issues, staff relations, federal day schools and Indian residential schools. While processing the 638 completed requests,14,848 pages of records were reviewed; of those, 13,562 pages were released (Figure 6).

Figure 5: Privacy requests received between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006.
Figure 5 - Privacy requests received between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006

Note: In FY 2001-2002, over 2000 were recorded due to the creation of the Office of Residential Schools Resolution of Canada (OIRSR)

Figure 6: Privacy request pages reviewed and released between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006.
Figure 6 - Privacy request pages reviewed and released between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2006

Disposition of Completed Requests

The distribution of completed requests is as follows:

All Disclosed23 (3.61%)
Disclosed in Part227 (35.58%)
Nothing Disclosed (Excluded)1 (0.16%)
Nothing Disclosed (Exempt)2 (0.31%)
Unable to Process372 (58.30%)
Abandoned by the Applicant9 (1.41%)
Treated Informally4 (0.63%)
TOTAL638

Disclosure of Personal Information

Subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act states that "personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed" under certain specific circumstances (Figure 7).

Paragraph 8(2)(a)

Personal information may be disclosed "for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the institution or for a use consistent with that purpose."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, five requests were received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(b)

Personal information may be disclosed "for any purpose in accordance with any Act of Parliament or any regulation made there under that authorizes its disclosure."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, 104 requests were received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(c)

Personal information may be disclosed "for the purpose of complying with a subpoena or warrant issued or order made by a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel the production of information or for the purpose of complying with rules of court relating to the production of information."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, no requests were received; therefore no information was released pursuant to this paragraph.

Paragraph 8(2)(d)

Personal information may be disclosed "to the Attorney General of Canada for use in legal proceedings involving the Crown in right of Canada or the Government of Canada."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, 78 requests were received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(e)

Personal information may be disclosed "to an investigative body […] for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada or a province or carrying out a lawful investigation..."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, ten (10) requests were received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(f)

Personal information may be disclosed "under an agreement or arrangement between the Government of Canada […] and the government of a province [or territory] […] for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, 106 requests were received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(j)

Personal information may be disclosed "to any person or body for research or statistical purposes if the head of the government is satisfied that the purpose for which the information is disclosed cannot reasonably be accomplished unless the information is provided in a form that would identify the individual to whom it relates and obtains from the person or body a written undertaking that no subsequent disclosure of the information will be made in a form that could reasonably be expected to identify the individual to whom it relates."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, two (2) requests were received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(k)

Personal information may be disclosed "to any association of aboriginal peoples, Indian band, government institution or part thereof, or to any person acting on behalf of such association, band, institution or part thereof, for the purpose of researching or validating the claims, disputes or grievances of any of the aboriginal peoples of Canada."

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, 16 requests were received and treated.

Sub-paragraph 8(2)(m)(ii)

Personal information may be disclosed "for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution, disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates."

Under this sub-paragraph of the Privacy Act, only one request was received and treated.

Figure 7: Number of disclosures made under the various paragraphs of Section 8(2) of the Privacy Act.
Figure 7 - Number of disclosures made under the various paragraphs of Section 8(2) of the Privacy Act

Complaints and Investigations

To ensure that federal institutions fully comply with the Act, and that all requesters are treated fairly and consistently, section 29 and sections 41 through 52 of the Privacy Act provide for a two-tiered system of review of decisions made under the Act. The first level is a formal complaint to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the second level is an appeal to the Federal Court.

During fiscal year 2005-2006, no complaints were filed with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, against the Department, in relation to the processing of requests made under the Act. However, three complaints were filed with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada against the Department pertaining to infringement of privacy rights. One of these has been resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant. The two remaining complaints are ongoing.

Report on the Privacy Act

Institution Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Reporting Period 04/01/2005 to 03/31/2006

I Requests under the Privacy Act
Received during reporting period 28
Outstanding from previous period 0
TOTAL 28
Completed during reporting period 27
Carried forward 1

II Disposition of requests completed
1. All disclosed 2
2. Disclosed in part 20
3. Nothing disclosed (excluded) 0
4. Nothing disclosed (exempt) 0
5. Unable to process 5
6. Abandonned by applicant 0
7. Transferred 0
TOTAL 27

III Exemptions invoked
S. 18(2) 0
S. 19(1)(a) 0
  (b) 0
  (c) 0
  (d) 0
S. 20 0
S. 21 0
S. 22(1)(a) 0
  (b) 0
  (c) 0
S. 22(2) 0
S. 23(a) 0
  (b) 0
S. 24 0
S. 25 0
S. 26 20
S. 27 0
S. 28 0

IV Exclusions cited
S. 69(1)(a) 0
  (b) 0
S. 70(1)(a) 0
  (b) 0
  (c) 0
  (d) 0
  (e) 0
  (f) 0

V Completion time
30 days or under 24
31 to 60 days 2
61 to 120 days 1
121 days or over 0

VI Extensions
  30 days or under 31 days or over
Interference with operations 1 1
Consultation 0 0
Translation 0 0
TOTAL 1 1

VII Translations
Translations requested 0
Translations prepared
English to French 0
French to English 0

VIII Method of Access
Copies given 22
Examination 0
Copies and examination 0

IX Corrections and notation
Corrections requested 0
Corrections made 0
Notation attached 0

X Costs
Financial (all reasons) ($000)
Salary $68.1
Administration (O and M) $9.1
Total $77.2
Person year utilization (all reasons)
Person year (decimal format) 1.3
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Footnotes

  1. There are no records in response to the request. (return to source paragraph)

  2. Reproduction fees waived when releasing records electronically on a CD-ROM. (return to source paragraph)
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