ARCHIVED - Access to Information Act: Annual Report to Parliament 2012-2013

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Author: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
QS #: QS-6316-000-EE-A1
Catalog: R1-43/2013E-PDF
ISSN: 1929-5111

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Table of contents


Introduction

I. Introduction

The purpose of the Access to Information Act (ATIA) is to provide Canadians with access to records under the control of federal institutions, except for records subject to limited and specific exemptions and exclusions.

This report, submitted to Parliament pursuant to section 72 of the Act, describes the activities of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) that support compliance with access to information legislation. The report details the activities and accomplishments of AANDC's Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Directorate, including highlights such as:

Our Department

AANDC supports Aboriginal peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Northerners in their efforts to:

AANDC is the federal department primarily 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. AANDC's overall mandate and wide-ranging responsibilities are shaped by centuries of history and unique demographic and geographic challenges. The mandate is derived from the Constitution Act 1982, the Indian Act, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act, territorial Acts, treaties, comprehensive claims and self-government agreements, as well as various other statutes affecting Aboriginal people and the North.

Most of the department's programs, representing a majority of its spending, are delivered through partnerships with First Nation and Aboriginal communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. AANDC also works with urban Aboriginal people, Métis and non-status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas).

II. Organization

ATIP Directorate at AANDC

The ATIP Directorate is responsible for the administration of requests made under the Act. It was established within the Corporate Secretariat and reports to the Corporate Secretary, who is directly accountable to the Deputy Head and is a member of the AANDC Senior Management Committee (SMC). The Directorate also coordinates and implements policies, guidelines and procedures to ensure departmental compliance with the Act. Workshop presentations, training courses and awareness sessions designed to increase access to information and privacy capacity across the Department are also provided by the Directorate.

The Directorate comprises two divisions, the Operations Unit and the Privacy Policy Unit. The structure of the Privacy Policy Unit can be found in the 2012-2013 AANDC Annual Report to Parliament on the Privacy Act, while the Operations Unit, which is responsible for the processing of requests and consultations, is structured as follows:

Text description of the Operation Unit Organizational Structure flowchart

This flow chart describes the structure of the Operations Unit within the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Directorate.

The Director's Office is composed of the following: The Director (EX-01), as institutional ATIP Coordinator, holds full delegated authority under the Act. The Director is supported in day-to-day administrative tasks by the Administrative Assistant (AS-01) and in reporting and policy initiatives by the Reporting Analyst (PM-03).

Under the Director's Office are the following Teams:

The Intake Team: The Intake Team is comprised of one Intake Officer (PM-01) and 1 Clerk (CR-04), who enter all applications into the electronic case management system, acknowledge receipt of requests, perform imaging services and are responsible for other administrative tasks.

Ops Team 1: Ops Teams are each lead by Senior Advisors (PM-05), who are responsible for the oversight of request administration by their team, including review of completed requests, training and capacity building.

Ops Team 2: Each Ops Team consists of Analysts (a varying mix of PM-04, PM-03 and PM-02 levels), who process requests of varying volume and complexity based on their level.


Within each of the sectors and regional offices of AANDC are ATIP Liaison Officers (ALOs) who receive callouts from the ATIP Directorate and subsequently task the request to appropriate areas within their sector. ALOs play a crucial role in ensuring requests are clear to the record retrievers and that the appropriate records, impact statements and approvals are obtained and communicated to ATIP Directorate officials in a timely manner.

III. Delegation Order

Under section 73 of the Act, the Minister's authority is delegated to departmental officials in order to administer the Act within AANDC.

During the reporting period, the delegation order signed by Minister John Duncan on August 30, 2011 was in effect (Appendix A). Under section 73 of the Act, the order delegates full authority and responsibility for the ATIA to the following positions:

The ATIP Coordinator can also sub-delegate to either one of the Team Leader positions.


Return to Table of Contents




Statistics

IV. Interpretation of the Statistical Report

AANDC's Statistical Report was submitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) on May 3, 2013 (Appendix B). The Report details various aspects of the requests AANDC received and processed during the period of April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013.  As observed last year, AANDC experienced an increase in its volume of new requests, receiving 178 more formal requests under the Act than in 2011-2012. This 37.9% jump is evidence of an expected trend as the Government of Canada continues to improve the way Canadians' gain access to information and as members of the media utilize this legislative vehicle more and more.

Part 1. Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Requests Received

In 2012-2013, AANDC received 648 requests under the Act in addition to 83 requests that were carried over from the previous year (Table 1.1). Of these 731 requests, the ATIP Directorate completed 623 requests and carries 108 requests over into the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Table 1.1  Number of Requests from 2012-2013
Number of Requests 2011-2012 2012-2013
Received 470 648
Outstanding from last year 136 83
Total 606 731
Closed this year 518 623
Carried over to next year 88 108
1.2 Sources of Requests

Of the 648 requests received during the reporting period, 386 (59.6%) were received from the general public, followed by 149 (23.0%) from members of the media, and 54 (8.3%) were received from businesses in the private sector (Table 1.2).

Table 1.2 Sources of Requests
Number of Requests 2011-2012 2012-2013
Public 285 (60.6%) 386 (59.6%)
Media 82 (17.4%) 149 (23.0%)
Business 64 (13.6%) 54 (8.3%)
Organization 24 (5.1%) 41 (6.3%)
Academia 15 (3.2%) 18 (2.8%)
Total 470 648

AANDC continues to receive requests predominantly from the public and media. Media requests, in particular, became more frequent (67 or 81.7% more requests) as journalists sought records related to high-profile topics such as the Attawapiskat First Nation and the Idle No More campaign.

Part 2. Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time

Of the 623 requests closed during the reporting period (Table 2.1), AANDC was able to fully or partially disclose records in 416 cases; that is, 66.8% of the time a request was submitted to AANDC, the result was a disclosure of records (similar to the 65.6% rate reported in 2011-2012). In these cases, the majority of requests (243, or 58.4%) took 30 days or less to complete. Proportionately, more requests were closed within the statutory 30 day timeframe in 2012-2013 (431, or 69.2%) than the previous year (275, or 53.1%).

Fourteen percent of requests were abandoned by the requester, treated informally within 15 days of receipt, or transferred to the appropriate government institution. Only in 13 cases (2.1% of all requests) were the relevant records fully exempted or excluded under provisions of the Act.

There were 192 requests that required greater than 30 days to process, 45 of which took greater than 120 days to complete. However, each of these 45 requests resulted in the full or partial disclosure of records. Last year, 243 requests took longer than 30 days to close, including several requests where no records were released. This can be attributed in part to the nature of the requests completed last year, which comprised aged backlog requests from previous years and other requests that required lengthy external consultations. Even so, AANDC completed 156 more requests within 30 days than last year, which is a testament to the streamlined and electronic processes adopted throughout the year (to be discussed in Section VIII).

The most frequent outcome of the requests processed during the reporting period was ‘Disclosed in part', which was the result of 251 requests (40.3%), followed by ‘All disclosed' which was the result of 165 requests (26.5%), a significant increase from the 95 requests in 2011-2012 that resulted in the release of all relevant records (Figure 2.1). In 68 instances, the request was abandoned by the requester, likely because the original request was not complete, clarification could not be obtained, or because the cost estimate for search fees was not accepted.

Figure 2.1  Outcomes of Closed Requests

Text description of Figure 2.1. Outcomes of Closed Requests

During the reporting period:


Table 2.1  Disposition and completion time of requests made under the Access to Information Act
  Completion Time
Disposition of requests 1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to
120 days
121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than
365 days
Total
29 105 17 13 0 1 0 165
Disclosed in part 15 94 30 68 19 23 2 251
All exempted 1 3 2 3 0 0 0 9
All excluded 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 4
No records exist 32 61 9 1 0 0 0 103
Request transferred 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Request abandoned 56 8 3 1 0 0 0 68
Treated informally 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 20
Total 157 274 61 86 19 24 2 623
2.2 Exemptions

As seen in previous years, the most common exemption invoked during the reporting period was the severing of personal information pursuant to subsection 19(1) of the Act, which was cited in 186 (57.4%) release packages (Table 2.2). The next most common exemptions applied were under those subsection 20(1) (126 instances (29.4%)) and 21(1) (141 instances (32.9%)), which protect certain third party and government operations information, respectively. In general, exemptions were used less frequently over 2012-2013, with 631 total exemptions applied across 429 requests where relevant records were retrieved and treated. Last year, nearly the same number of exemptions (630) was applied across a smaller volume of 362 requests where relevant records were treated.

Table 2.2. Number of requests closed where exemption provisions were invoked
Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests
* I.A.: International Affairs   Def.: Defence of Canada S.A.:     Subversive Activities
13(1)(a) 4 16(2)(a) 0 18(a) 11 20.1 0
13(1)(b) 2 16(2)(b) 0 18(b) 7 20.2 0
13(1)(c) 5 16(2)(c) 18 18(c) 0 20.4 0
13(1)(d) 2 16(3) 0 18(d) 3 21(1)(a) 62
13(1)(e) 3 16.1(1)(a) 0 18.1(1)(a) 6 21(1)(b) 47
14(a) 12 16.1(1)(b) 0 18.1(1)(b) 0 21(1)(c) 32
14(b) 4 16.1(1)(c) 0 18.1(1)(c) 0 21(1)(d) 8
15(1) – I.A.* 1 16.1(1)(d) 0 18.1(1)(d) 1 22 5
15(1) – Def.* 5 16.2(1) 0 19(1) 186 22.1(1) 0
15(1) – S.A.* 0 16.3 0 20(1)(a) 1 23 67
16(1)(a)(i) 1 16.4(1)(a) 0 20(1)(b) 65 24(1) 2
16(1)(a)(ii) 1 16.4(1)(b) 0 20(1)(b.1) 3 26 3
16(1)(a)(iii) 1 16.5 0 20(1)(c) 29    
16(1)(b) 0 17 2 20(1)(d) 29    
16(1)(c) 3            
16(1)(d) 0            
Total: 631
2.3 Exclusions

In contrast to exemptions, exclusions were applied during the reporting period at approximately the same frequency as in 2011-2012. Out of 429 requests where relevant records were retrieved and treated, a total of 79 exclusions were applied. Exclusions were predominantly cited pursuant to subsection 69(1)(g), which was applied in 49 requests (62.0%) (Table 2.3). These exclusions generally contained references to records related to funding via TBS Submissions and Memoranda to Cabinet.

Table 2.3  Number of requests closed where exclusion provisions were applied
Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests
68(a) 3 69(1)(a) 6 69(1)(g) re (a) 21
68(b) 0 69(1)(b) 1 69(1)(g) re (b) 0
68(c) 0 69(1)(c) 6 69(1)(g) re (c) 13
68.1 0 69(1)(d) 3 69(1)(g) re (d) 3
68.2(a) 0 69(1)(e) 9 69(1)(g) re (e) 7
68.2(b) 0 69(1)(f) 2 69(1)(g) re (f) 5
  69.1(1) 0
Total 79
2.4 Format of information released

Over the course of the reporting period, the majority of responses were provided to the requester in CD ROM format. Last year, paper copies were given only in exceptional cases where the scanning of records rendered portions difficult to read. In 2012-2013, however, paper copies were provided more frequently in keeping with the duty to assist requesters. In total, AANDC conveyed response packages electronically in 299 requests (71.9% of all responses) where records were disclosed. By focusing on electronic response packages, photocopy fees were kept to a minimum, with only a single instance where reproduction fees were collected (see Part 4).

Table 2.4  Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other Formats
All disclosed 71 94 0
Disclosed in part 46 205 0
Total 117 299 0
2.5 Complexity

The following sections detail several factors affecting the complexity of requests that were completed throughout 2012-2013.

2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed

During the reporting period, the ATIP Directorate retrieved and reviewed 397,850 pages of records under the control of the Department (Table 2.5.1). This is an increase of over 90,000 pages (29.7%) from 2011-2012, the result of a rise in request intake as well as the treatment of several particularly large requests. To view the full listing of AANDC's completed access to information requests since 2010, go to Completed Access to Information Requests.

Compared to the previous year, AANDC collected significantly more pages per request during 2012-2013. In 2011-2012, 429 requests resulted in the retrieval and processing of 305,134 pages of records, or an average of 711.3 pages per request; in 2012-2013, 497 requests resulted in the processing of 397,540 pages or an average of 880.5 pages per request.

AANDC released slightly fewer pages per request in 2012-2013, disclosing approximately 252.5 pages per request compared to the 262.9 per request released in 2011-2012. In addition, approximately one-third (125,479 pages, or 31.5%) of the total records processed during the reporting period were disclosed partially or in their entirety, down slightly from the 36.9% release rate of the previous year.

Rather than attributing this fact to a single cause, this may simply be a result of the particular nature and content of the records that were retrieved throughout 2012-2013.  This difference may also be explained in part by the portion of requests closed in 2011-2012 that were backlogged from previous years. In these cases, large volumes of pages were collected during earlier years and may have inflated the page retrieval numbers for 2011-2012. Part of the approach to eliminate the 2011 backlog involved abandoning the request, either because the requester was no longer interested, or because they agreed to open a new request with a revised scope. In such situations some of the retrieved records (30,577 pages) had already been reviewed prior to abandonment and counted toward the 2011-2012 totals. In 2012-2013, only 715 pages were processed for requests that were later abandoned.

Table 2.5.1  Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requests
All disclosed 30,723 17,407 165
Disclosed in part 363,811 108,072 251
All exempted 2,155 0 9
All excluded 446 0 4
Request abandoned 715 0 68
Total 397,850 125,479 497
2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests

Over half of the requests (277 or 55.7%) required 100 pages of processing or less (Table 2.5.2). At the other end of the spectrum, the 54 requests required the review of over 1,000 pages, including 15 requests of over 5,000 pages to process. These 54 high-volume requests accounted for 89,086 (71.0%) of all pages of records released over the course of 2012-2013.

Table 2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of request
  Less than 100
pages processed
101-500
pagesprocessed
501-1000
pages processed
1001-5000
pages processed
More than 5000 pages processed
Disposition Requests Pages disclosed Requests Pages disclosed Requests Pages disclosed Requests Pages disclosed Requests Pages disclosed
All disclosed 111 2,012 44 6,602 5 3,508 4 4,863 1 422
Disclosed in Part 92 2,370 83 11,899 27 10,002 35 36,771 14 47,030
All exempted 7 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
All excluded 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 66 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 277 4,382 133 18,501 32 13,510 40 41,634 15 47,452
2.5.3 Other complexities

During the reporting period, AANDC faced several challenges that increased the complexity of its requests. Out of the 623 requests completed, the subject matter of 275 requests (or 44.1% of all requests) was deemed to be of a sensitive nature. Such requests sought records pertaining to high-profile issues in politics and the media, budget and spending information related to First Nations, allegations and complaints.

Consultations with stakeholders remained an important factor for the processing of requests at AANDC. The Department consulted 146 times regarding records that contained information pertinent to other government institutions or third parties. When consultations were undertaken, the most frequent outcome of the request was full or partial release of records (139 instances). AANDC most frequently consulted with the Privy Council Office (PCO) regarding potential Cabinet Confidences and the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding information that is subject to solicitor-client privilege. AANDC also frequently consulted with Canada Post Corporation (CPC), Environment Canada (EC), the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Health Canada (HC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

AANDC continued to collect application fees with most new requests (see Part 4) and consulted with its departmental legal counsel regarding one file.

Table 2.5.3  Other complexities related to requests closed during the reporting period
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of fees Legal advice sought Other Total
All disclosed 17 162 0 79 258
Disclosed in part 122 240 1 160 523
All exempted 4 9 0 8 21
All excluded 2 4 0 1 7
Abandoned 1 23 0 27 51
Total 146 428 1 275 860

As it did in 2011-2012, AANDC continued to encounter complex files with a high number of pages for review. One approach that was taken last year proved successful and bore fruit in 2012-2013: when multiple requesters made identical or similar requests for the same large set of records, AANDC obtained consent from each of the requesters to apply an extension to their file and administer all requests as one single file. In return, AANDC committed to waiving all search and retrieval fees and making interim releases to the requesters if possible. The approach was well-received and each of these files was closed during 2012-2013 with no subsequent complaint filed.

A variant to this approach was employed in 2012-13, where AANDC received a request regarding a high-profile topic in the media. Soon after, the Department received multiple requests of a similar nature. To treat these other files, AANDC expanded the breadth of the original request to capture the scope and timeframes of all the ensuing requests. With the consent of the requesters, AANDC agreed to treat their files informally and provide the appropriate release package to them once the original expanded request was complete.

2.6 Deemed refusals

During the reported period, AANDC completed all requests within their statutory deadlines.

2.7 Requests for translation

During the reporting period, there were no instances where requesters asked that responsive records be translated to another official language.

Part 3. Extensions

3.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests

AANDC applied fewer extensions during the reporting period than the previous year. A total of 189 extensions under section 9(1) of the Act were applied in 2012-2013, compared to the 257 applied in 2011-2012. In recent years, as the workload of requests (both received and carried over from previous years) increases, so does the frequency of extensions for the purpose of external consultation. However, in 2012-2013, fewer extensions were taken (Figure 3.1).

While the most frequent reason for extending the statutory timeline of requests in 2011-2012 was due to interference with operations (due to the resolution of backlog files), the most prevalent reason for extending deadlines this reporting period was for consultation with Other Government Departments (OGDs) (69 times, or 36.5% of all extensions) and third party organizations (57 times, or 30.2% of all extensions).

In all cases where extensions pursuant to 9(1)(a) were taken, the requests resulted in dispositions of ‘All disclosed' or ‘Disclosed in part' in all cases. Where an extension was taken under either 9(1)(a), (b) or (c), records were fully or partially disclosed in 175 out of 189 (92.6%) instances (Table 3.1). Only in four cases were extensions applied for external consultations with OGDs or third parties and as a result no records released due to exemptions. In nine cases where extensions were taken for consultations, requests were abandoned by the requester.

All of the 32 requests where extensions were taken for the purpose of consulting PCO on potential Cabinet confidences resulted in the disclosure of records (for more on PCO consultations, see Part 6).

Figure 3.1  Extensions and workload over the past three years

Text description of Figure 3.1. Extensions and workload over the past three years

This bar graphs shows the trends of extensions and workload of requests from 2010-2011 to 2012-2013.

In 2010-2011:

In 2011-2012:

In 2012-2013:


Table 3.1  Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
  9(1)(b) Consultation  
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 9(1)(a) Interference
with Operations
Section 69 Other 9(1)(c)
Third Party Notice
All Disclosed 3 0 14 10
Disclosed in part 28 32 52 36
All exempted 0 0 2 2
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 1
Request abandoned 0 0 1 8
Total 31 32 69 57
3.2 Length of extensions

The majority of extensions applied during the reporting period were less than 180 days. Only on 18 occasions (or 9.5% of the time) were longer extensions applied due to significantly large volumes of records, and in no circumstances did AANDC take an extension for greater than 180 days for external consultations with OGDs or third parties.

Table 3.2  Length of extensions
  9(1)(b) Consultation  
Length of extension 9(1)(a) Interference
with Operations
Section 69 Other 9(1)(c)
Third Party Notice
30 days or less 10 1 1 4
31 to 60 days 1 7 32 34
61 to 120 days 0 24 33 18
121 to 180 days 2 0 3 1
181 to 365 days 16 0 0 0
365 days or more 2 0 0 0
Total 31 32 69 57

The length of extensions applied under paragraphs (b) was largely dependent on timeframes decided by the other organization. Whenever an extension of over 30 days was applied, AANDC notified the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC).

Part 4. Fees

AANDC collected $2,745 in application fees and waived $460 in fees over the course of the reporting period (Table 4). For two requests, search fees were assessed and collected for a total of $2,628.

The movement toward electronic release of information has allowed the Department to avoid assessing fees for reproduction and preparation costs in most scenarios. AANDC will continue to emphasize electronic release of records wherever possible.

Table 4.  Fees collected and waived
  Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Fee Type # of Requests Amount # of Requests Amount
Application 549 $2,745 11 $55
Search 2 $2,628 2 $405
Production 0 $0 0 $0
Programming 0 $0 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0 0 $0
Reproduction 1 $182 0 $0
Total 552 $5,555 13 $460

Part 5. Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

AANDC received 220 consultations on a total of 15,646 pages from other government institutions and organizations on their own access requests, more than double the pages AANDC was consulted on in 2011-2012. AANDC carried over another five files from last year, for a total of 225 consultations (Table 5.1). This figure represents a 40.6% increase from the 160 consultations received in 2011-2012 and a 66.7% increase over the 135 received in 2010-2011.

The ATIP Directorate completed 209 consultations, reviewing 13,131 pages in the process, and will carry over 16 into the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Table 5.1  Consultations received from other institutions and organizations
Consultations Other government institutions Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period 209 15,646 11 635
Outstanding from the previous reporting 5 307 0 0
Total 214 15,953 11 635
Closed during the reporting period 198 12,496 11 635
Pending at the end of the reporting period 16 3,457 0 0
5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations

For the purposes of this section, "other government institutions" are other institutions subject to the Access to Information Act. In the majority of cases (153 consultation requests, or 77.3% of all consultation requests) AANDC recommended that the government institution disclose the consulted pages in their entirety (Figure 5.2).

The bulk of consultations processed by the ATIP Directorate (188 consultation requests, or 94.9% of all consultation requests) were completed within 30 days of their receipt (Table 5.2). There were no occurrences where AANDC required longer than 70 days to provide a response to the consulting institution.

Table 5.2  Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
  Number of days required to complete consultations
Recommendations 1 to 15
days
16 to 30
days
31 to 60
days
61 to
120 days
121 to
180 days
181 to
365 days
More than
365 days
Total
Disclose entirely 98 49 5 1 0 0 0 153
Disclosed in part 9 13 4 0 0 0 0 26
Exempt entirely 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Exclude entirely 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
Consult other institution 6 4 0 0 0 0 0 10
Other 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Total 120 68 9 1 0 0 0 198
5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations

For the purposes of this section, other organizations include the governments of the provinces, territories and municipalities and of other countries. In all cases, AANDC recommended that the organization disclose the consulted pages in their entirety or partially (Figure 5.3).

All consultation requests closed during the reporting period were completed within 30 days, and 10 of 11 consultations were completed within 15 days (Table 5.3).

Table 5.3  Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
  Number of days required to complete consultations
Recommendations 1 to 15
days
16 to 30
days
31 to 60
days
61 to
120 days
121 to
180 days
181 to
365 days
More than
365 days
Total
Disclose entirely 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
Disclosed in part 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 11

Part 6. Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

During 2012-2013, AANDC sent 49 consultations on the application of section 69 of the Act to the Cabinet Confidences Section of PCO (Table 6). In contrast to previous fiscal years, no consultations required greater than 180 days to complete while only 3 required between 60 and 180 days for a response from PCO. The majority (37, or 75.5%) of consultations were completed by PCO after the deadline provided by AANDC.

Table 6  Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences
Number of days Number of responses received Number of responses received past deadline
1 to 15 37 29
16 to 30 9 8
31 to 60 0 0
61 to 120 1 0
121 to 180 2 0
181 to 365 0 0
More then 365 0 0
Total 49 37

Part 7. Resources related to the Access to Information Act

7.1 Costs
Table 7.1  Costs for the administration of the ATIA
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $616,886
Overtime $3,568
Goods and Services $248,122
Professional $214,664
Other $33,458
Total $868,576

In 2011-2012, AANDC spent $868,576 on the administration of the Act, which is an increase of $119,606 (or 16.0%) from the $748,970 expended in 2011-2012 (Table 7.1). In particular, $48,096 more was devoted to salary while AANDC spent $74,088 more on operations, including professional services contracts.

This is indicative of the staffing challenges that the ATIP Directorate faced during the reporting period and its reliance on consultants from temporary help agencies. This trend toward spending on professional services is becoming more evident (Figure 7.1). Although the total budget for administering the Act has lowered over the past four years, spending O&M budget on temporary help has increased.

Figure 7.1  Budget figures for the administration of the Access to Information Act over the previous four years

Dollars (Millions)

Text description of Figure 7.1. Budget figures for the administration of the Access to Information Act over the previous four years (p.12)

In 2009-2010:

In 2010-2011:

In 2011-2012:

In 2012-2013:


 

7.2 Human Resources

The Operations Unit within the ATIP Directorate consisted of 9.75 full-time equivalents (FTEs) dedicated to access to information activities (Table 7.2). Only 2.00 FTE were dedicated fully to access to information activities while the majority split time processing requests under the Privacy Act as well. Over the course of the reporting period, AANDC hired 2.12 FTEs of consultants or agency personnel to aid in administering the Act, particularly files of higher complexity and sensitivity. In general, AANDC had a smaller contingent of personnel working on access requests than in previous years.

Table 7.2  Human resources dedicated to the administration of the Access to Information Act
Resources Dedicated full-time to ATI Activities Dedicated part-time to ATI Activities Total
Full-time employees 2.00 7.75 9.75
Part-time and casual employees 0.00 0.00 0.00
Regional staff 0.00 0.00 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 1.12 0.00 1.12
Students 0.00 1.00 1.00
Total 3.12 8.75 11.87

Part 8. Informal release of previous released ATI packages and Other ATIP Directorate Functions

Throughout the reporting period, the ATIP Directorate also processed other types of files than formal requests under the Act, and consultation requests from other organizations. These include informal requests from the public as well as various other services provided internally to the Department. In total, the Directorate received nearly 2,500 ATIP-related requests in 2012-2013.

Informal Access Requests (Appendix A-1 of the TBS Statistical Report)

AANDC receives requests for information that can be answered without citing the ATIA but keeping within the spirit of the legislation. No dollar application fee is required. Requests are treated informally when the information requested is mostly in the public domain or can be disclosed for other reasons (example: a band audit to a band member). In total, the ATIP Directorate treated 152 access-related requests through informal means in 2012-2013.

Any copy of a release package from a previously completed request, as listed on the AANDC Completed Access to (Information Requests web page), is captured as an informal access request.

In 2012-2013, AANDC processed 91 such requests, totaling the review and re-release of 265 previous requests under the Act. This is a significant increase from last year when AANDC received less than half as many requests for previous releases and reproduced 56 less release package copies.

V. Complaints and Investigations

During the 2012-2013 reporting period, there were 45 complaints registered with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) against AANDC (Table V.1). Approximately 73% of the complaints received cited one of two reasons: the application of exemptions or exclusions (19 complaints, 42.2%) or the ‘no records'/incomplete response that was received by the requester (14 complaints, 31.1%). Similarly, AANDC received 18 complaints last year regarding exemptions or exclusions; however, over the past several years complaints over time extensions were much more common (11 in 2011-2012, 10 in 2010-2011) than the three filed against AANDC this reporting period. Previously, AANDC has received relatively few complaints concerning no records/incomplete responses, but the increase this year may be attributed to repeated complaints from the same complainant.

Of the 31 complaints that were closed during the reporting period, half (16, or 51.6%) were deemed well-founded by the OIC but 15 of 16 were resolved without the OIC providing AANDC with recommendations (Table V.2). Almost a third (10, or 32.3%) were deemed not well-founded while four complaints were discontinued by the requester.

Table V.1  Number of complaints received
Type of Complaint Number of Complaints
Exemption/Exclusion 19
No Records/Incomplete 14
Time Extension 3
Miscellaneous 3
Delay (Deemed Refusal) 2
Cabinet Confidence Exclusion 2
Fees 1
Special Delegation 1
Total 45

 

Table V.2  Findings of completed investigations
Type of Finding Number of Occurrences
Well-founded, Resolved without recommendations 15
Not well-founded 10
Discontinued 4
Well-founded with recommendations, Resolved 1
Settled 1
Total 31

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Highlights

VI. 2012-2013 Points of Interest

Under the leadership and support of the Corporate Secretary and ATIP Coordinator, the ATIP Directorate focused its business in 2012-2013 upon three key pillars: modernization, engagement and support, and legislative and policy compliance. The following are highlights of some activities undertaken this year under these key areas.

Full Compliance with Statutory Deadlines

AANDC reported no deemed refusals and closed each of the 623 requests it processed in 2012-2013 on time. Dating back to Q2 2011-2012, AANDC has gone 22 consecutive months without completing a request late.

Electronic Retrieval of Records

One of the major accomplishments of the ATIP Directorate during 2012-2013 was its transition to a fully electronic record retrieval process. Effective October 2012, all Impact Statements and records retrieved by AANDC's sectors and regional offices were to be submitted in PDF or TIFF format to the ATIP Directorate. This involved consultation with departmental ALOs and working with Information Management Branch to arrange CIDM library access rights. It is estimated that this move to electronic retrieval of all incoming records has resulted in savings of approximately one million sheets of paper, 500 CDs and 1,500 hours of scanning time in administration of both the ATIA and PA.

Education and Training

Educating staff on the ATIA as well as its implications on the Department and its operations continues to be of great importance to AANDC.

AANDC recognizes that a solid understanding of the ATIA allows analysts to better handle requests for records and respond with greater confidence and efficiency. Ongoing training of ATIP staff will positively impact how AANDC meets its legislative obligations and implements TBS policies and procedures, including the "Duty to Assist" requesters.

To this end, several training sessions were offered over the year to ATIP employees regarding jurisprudence and the application of specific sections of the ATIA. ATIP employees are also encouraged to attend ATIP community conferences and fora hosted by TBS or the OIC. In addition, opportunities were given to several ATIP employees to provide training to departmental staff and to build relationships with the various program areas of AANDC.

With respect to departmental training, AANDC continued its successful training campaign of 2011-2012. This year, the ATIP training presentation deck was overhauled to provide improved information and instruction to departmental staff. In total, the ATIP Directorate held over 40 formal training sessions (to nearly 400 employees, including headquarters and regional offices) on the ATIA, as well as numerous informal ad hoc sessions as requested by AANDC program areas.

Meetings with AANDC Sector Heads on ATIP Roles and Responsibilities

Beginning in late 2011-2012, the Corporate Secretary and ATIP Director began meeting with the Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs) of each sector to describe their roles and responsibilities with respect to the administration of the ATIA within the Department. These informational meetings describe the importance of the ATIA, the functions of the ATIP Directorate and the critical path of formal requests from their receipt to completion. ADMs were made aware of key players, processes, timeframes, sign-offs and reporting instruments that are involved so that AANDC remains consistent and timely in its responses.

More Frequent Re-release of Previous Requests

In December 2010, AANDC launched its website listing the summaries and key information related to all completed access to information requests. As described in Section IV Part 8, this website is being used more and more frequently by the public;

AANDC processed 91 requests over 2012-2013 that were made by individuals browsing online lists and requesting a copy of the release package.

Accountability Reporting to Senior Management

As an accountability measure within the Department, the ATIP Directorate continues to produce a monthly report to Senior Management Committee (SMC) indicating sector and regional office performance with respect to the retrieval of records. The report captures workload and performance trends as well as information on request subject matter.

5 and 7 Day Reminder System

Integrated into the critical path of formal requests is a reminder system to advise sectors of their impending due dates for record retrieval.

When the ATIP Directorate tasks a sector with retrieving records that are relevant to a request, the sector is given seven calendar days to complete an Impact Statement and provide these records. During this timeframe, the Intake Unit will send email reminders to sector ALOs on the fifth and seventh days to ensure that ALOs are aware of approaching deadlines.

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VII. Changes to the Organization, Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

Organization Changes

The Directorate stabilized its organizational structure with no significant turnover of staff or decrease in operational support. As a result, the Directorate was able to handle the increase in workload without a significant impact on operations.
For 2012-2013, the Director position in the Directorate has remained temporarily staffed, as has a Team Leader position.

While these vacancies permitted acting opportunities and career rotation to staff, the Directorate has put in place a succession plan with the goal to permanently fill these positions. Despite these staffing challenges, there were no integral changes to the organizational structure overall.

Procedural Changes

Beyond the transition to electronic record retrieval, no significant procedural changes were undertaken in 2012-2013.

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Appendix A

Order of Delegation of the Access to Information Act dated August 30, 2011

Pursuant to the powers of designation conferred upon me by Section 73 of the Access to Information Act, the persons exercising the functions or positions of Deputy Minister (position number 00001), Associate Deputy Minister (position number 00000006), Deputy Minister's Office; Corporate Secretary, (position number 12294), Corporate Secretariat; and the departmental Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator (position number 20003872) and their respective successors, including in their absence, a person or officer designated in writing to act in the place of the holder of any such functions or positions are hereby designated to exercise those powers, duties or functions of the Minister as the Head of the government institution under the Act, and as set out in the attached Schedule A.

The departmental Access to Information and Privacy Senior Advisors (position numbers 62364, 12590 and 12061) and their respective successors, including in her/his absence, a person or officer designated in writing as being authorized to act in the place of the holder of any such function or position, are hereby designated to exercise those powers, duties or functions of the Minister as the Head of the government institution under the Act, and as set out in the attached Schedule B.

Original signed by

______________________________
Ministre des Affaires indiennes et du développement du Nord
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Dated at Gatineau, the _________ of ___________ 2011

 

SCHEDULE A

DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT SCHEDULE TO DELEGATION ORDER

DESIGNATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 73 OF THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT

Sections and Powers, Duties or Functions

6
Advise requesters that we need additional information to proceed with their request

7(a)
Give written notice to requestor that we can proceed with the request

8(1)
Transfer request to another institution or accept transfer from another institution

9
Extend time limits

10
Refuse to acknowledge or deny the existence of records

11
Charge additional fees

12(2)(3)
Provide access in alternate format

13
Exempt information obtained in confidence

14
Exempt information pertaining to federal-provincial affairs

15
Exempt information pertaining to international affairs and/or defence

16
Exempt information pertaining to law enforcement and investigations

17
Exempt information pertaining to the safety of individuals

18
Exempt information pertaining to the economic interests of Canada

19
Exempt personal information

20
Exempt or disclose third party information

21
Exempt information pertaining to advice, decision-making processes of government plans and positions etc.

22
Exempt information pertaining to testing procedures or audits

23
Exempt information pertaining to solicitor-client privilege

24
Exempt information subject to statutory prohibitions or other Acts of Parliament

25
Sever information

26
Exempt information to be published within 90 days

27(1)(4)
Notify third parties of their rights to provide comments/representations regarding the disclosure of their records

28(4)
third party representations; make a decision as to whether to disclose the record or part thereof; and, notify third party of right to appeal to Federal Court

29(1)
Disclose information on Information Commissioner's recommendation

33
Advise the Information Commissioner of any third party involvement

35(2)
Make representations to the Information Commissioner during an investigation

37(4)
Release information to complainant

43(1)
Issue a notice to a third party of an application for Court review

44(2)
Issue a notice to an applicant that a third party has applied for Court review

52
Request special rules for hearings

69
Exclude Cabinet Confidences

71
Inspect and exempt information in manuals

72(1)
Prepare Annual Report to Parliament

77
Carry out responsibilities conferred to the Head of the institution by the regulations made under section 77 which are not included in the above

SCHEDULE B

DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT
SCHEDULE TO DELEGATION ORDER

DESIGNATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 73 OF
THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT

Sections and Powers, Duties or Functions

6
Advise requesters that we need additional information to proceed with their request

7(a)
Give written notice to requestor that we can proceed with the request

8(1)
Transfer request to another institution or accept transfer from another institution

9
Extend time limits

11
Charge additional fees

27(1)(4)
Notify third parties of their rights to provide comments/ representations regarding the disclosure of their records

28(1)(2)
Receive third party representations

28(4)
Make a decision as to whether to disclose the record or part thereof; and, notify third party of right to appeal to Federal Court

33
Advise the Information Commissioner of any third party involvement

35(2)
Make representations to the Information Commissioner during an investigation

43(1)
Issue a notice to a third party of an application for Court review

44(2)
Issue a notice to an applicant that a third party has applied for Court review



Appendix B

AANDC 2012-2013 Statistical Report on the Administration of the Access to Information Act - Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Part 1 - Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests
Requests Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 648
Outstanding from previous reporting period 83
Total 731
Closed during reporting period 623
Carried over to next reporting period 108

 

1.2 Sources of requests
Source Number of Requests
Media 149
Academia 18
Business (Private Sector) 54
Organization 41
Public 386
Total 648

 

Part 2 - Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1  Disposition and completion time
  Completion Time
Disposition of requests 1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to
120 days
121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than
365 days
Total
All disclosed 29 105 17 13 0 1 0 165
Disclosed in part 15 94 30 68 19 23 2 251
All exempted 1 3 2 3 0 0 0 9
All excluded 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 4
No records exist 32 61 9 1 0 0 0 103
Request transferred 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Request abandoned 56 8 3 1 0 0 0 68
Treated informally 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 20
Total 157 274 61 86 19 24 2 623

 

2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests
* I.A.: International Affairs   Def.: Defence of Canada S.A.:     Subversive Activities
13(1)(a) 4 16(2)(a) 0 18(a) 11 20.1 0
13(1)(b) 2 16(2)(b) 0 18(b) 7 20.2 0
13(1)(c) 5 16(2)(c) 18 18(c) 0 20.4 0
13(1)(d) 2 16(3) 0 18(d) 3 21(1)(a) 62
13(1)(e) 3 16.1(1)(a) 0 18.1(1)(a) 6 21(1)(b) 47
14(a) 12 16.1(1)(b) 0 18.1(1)(b) 0 21(1)(c) 32
14(b) 4 16.1(1)(c) 0 18.1(1)(c) 0 21(1)(d) 8
15(1) – I.A.* 1 16.1(1)(d) 0 18.1(1)(d) 1 22 5
15(1) – Def.* 5 16.2(1) 0 19(1) 186 22.1(1) 0
15(1) – S.A.* 0 16.3 0 20(1)(a) 1 23 67
16(1)(a)(i) 1 16.4(1)(a) 0 20(1)(b) 65 24(1) 2
16(1)(a)(ii) 1 16.4(1)(b) 0 20(1)(b.1) 3 26 3
16(1)(a)(iii) 1 16.5 0 20(1)(c) 29    
16(1)(b) 0 17 2 20(1)(d) 29    
16(1)(c) 3            
16(1)(d) 0            

 

2.3  Exclusions
Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests
68(a) 3 69(1)(a) 6 69(1)(g) re (a) 21
68(b) 0 69(1)(b) 1 69(1)(g) re (b) 0
68(c) 0 69(1)(c) 6 69(1)(g) re (c) 13
68.1 0 69(1)(d) 3 69(1)(g) re (d) 3
68.2(a) 0 69(1)(e) 9 69(1)(g) re (e) 7
68.2(b) 0 69(1)(f) 2 69(1)(g) re (f) 5
  69.1(1) 0

 

2.4  Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other Formats
All disclosed 71 94 0
Disclosed in part 46 205 0
Total 117 299 0

 

2.5 Complexity

2.5.1  Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requests
All disclosed 30,723 17,407 165
Disclosed in part 363,811 108,072 251
All exempted 2,155 0 9
All excluded 446 0 4
Request abandoned 715 0 68
Total 397,850 125,479 497

 

2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of request
  Less than 100
pages processed
101-500
pages processed
501-1000
pages processed
1001-5000
pages processed
More than 5000 pages processed
Disposition Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed
All disclosed 111 2,012 44 6,602 5 3,508 4 4,863 1 422
Disclosed in Part 92 2,370 83 11,899 27 10,002 35 36,771 14 47,030
All exempted 7 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
All excluded 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 66 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 277 4,382 133 18,501 32 13,510 40 41,634 15 47,452

 

2.5.3  Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of fees Legal advice sought Other Total
All disclosed 17 162 0 79 258
Disclosed in part 122 240 1 160 523
All exempted 4 9 0 8 21
All excluded 2 4 0 1 7
Abandoned 1 23 0 27 51
Total 146 428 1 275 860

 

2.6 Deemed refusals

2.6.1. Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
  Principle Reason
Number of requests closed past the statutory deadline Workload External consultation Internal consultation Other
0 0 0 0 0

 

2.6.2. Number of days past deadline
Number of days past deadline Number of requests past deadline where no extension was taken Number of requests past deadline where an extension was taken Total
1 to 15 days 0 0 0
16 to 30 days 0 0 0
31 to 60 days 0 0 0
61 to 120 days 0 0 0
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0

 

2.7 Requests for translation
Translation Requests Accepted Refused Total
English to French 0 0 0
French to English 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0

Part 3 - Extensions

3.1  Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
  9(1)(b) Consultation  
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 9(1)(a) Interference
with Operations
Section 69 Other 9(1)(c)
Third Party Notice
All Disclosed 3 0 14 10
Disclosed in part 28 32 52 36
All exempted 0 0 2 2
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 1
Request abandoned 0 0 1 8
Total 31 32 69 57

 

3.2  Length of extensions
  9(1)(b) Consultation  
Length of extension 9(1)(a) Interference
with Operations
Section 69 Other 9(1)(c)
Third Party Notice
30 days or less 10 1 1 4
31 to 60 days 1 7 32 34
61 to 120 days 0 24 33 18
121 to 180 days 2 0 3 1
181 to 365 days 16 0 0 0
365 days or more 2 0 0 0
Total 31 32 69 57

Part 4 - Fees

4.  Fees
  Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Fee Type Number of requests Amount Number of requests Amount
Application 549 $2,745 11 $55
2 $2,628 2 $405
Production 0 $0 0 $0
Programming 0 $0 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0 0 $0
Reproduction 1 $182 0 $0
Total 552 $5,555 13 $460

Part 5 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1  Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
Consultations Other government institutions Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period 209 15,646 11 635
Outstanding from the previous reporting 5 307 0 0
Total 214 15,953 11 635
Closed during the reporting period 198 12,496 11 635
Pending at the end of the reporting period 16 3,457 0 0

 

5.2  Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
  Number of days required to complete consultations
Recommendation 1 to 15
days
16 to 30
days
31 to 60
days
61 to
120 days
121 to
180 days
181 to
365 days
More than
365 days
Total
Disclose entirely 98 49 5 1 0 0 0 153
Disclosed in part 9 13 4 0 0 0 0 26
Exempt entirely 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Exclude entirely 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
Consult other institution 6 4 0 0 0 0 0 10
Other 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Total 120 68 9 1 0 0 0 198

 

5.3  Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
  Number of days required to complete consultations
Recommendation 1 to 15
days
16 to 30
days
31 to 60
days
61 to
120
days
121 to
180
days
181 to
365 days
More
than
365
days
Total
Disclose entirely 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
Disclosed in part 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 11

Part 6 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

Number of days Number of responses received Number of responses received past deadline
1 to 15 37 29
16 to 30 9 8
31 to 60 0 0
61 to 120 1 0
121 to 180 2 0
181 to 365 0 0
More then 365 0 0
Total 49 37

Part 7 - Resources related to the Access to Information Act

7.1  Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $616,886
Overtime $3,568
Goods and Services $248,122
  • Professional
$214,664
  • Other
$33,458
Total $868,576

 

7.2  Human resources
Resources Dedicated full-time to ATI Activities Dedicated part-time to ATI Activities Total
Full-time employees 2.00 7.75 9.75
Part-time and casual employees 0.00 0.00 0.00
Regional staff 0.00 0.00 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 1.12 0.00 1.12
Students 0.00 1.00 1.00
Total 3.12 8.75 11.87
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