Annual Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013

1. Introduction

This report to Parliament, prepared and tabled in accordance with section 72 of the Privacy Act,Footnote 1 describes the activities of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) in administering the Act during 2012–2013.

The purpose of the Privacy Act is to safeguard the privacy of individuals by protecting personal information held by government institutions. The Act also gives individuals the right to access their own personal information.

The OIC was established under the Access to Information Act in 1983 as an independent oversight body reporting to Parliament. The OIC conducts efficient, fair and confidential investigations into complaints about government institutions’ handling of access to information requests. The goal of our work is to maximize compliance with the Act while fostering disclosure of public sector information.

The OIC became subject to the Privacy Act in 2007. Since then, we have made every effort to provide exemplary service to requesters. Here are some highlights from 2012–2013:

  • We completed formal requests in an average of 30.9 days.
  • We reviewed a total of 7,633 pages for seven requests.
  • To maximize disclosure, we now, when appropriate, informally release to individuals seeking information about investigations into their own complaints a copy of any record they provided to us as part of the investigation (subject to any exemptions under the Access to Information Act) and which we otherwise must formally withhold.

2. Organization

The Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, is supported by the Assistant Commissioner, Complaints Resolution and Compliance, the Director General, Corporate Services, and the General Counsel, Legal Services.

The OIC has three branches, as follows:

  • The Complaints Resolution and Compliance Branch carries out investigations and dispute resolution efforts to resolve complaints. It assesses the performance of government institutions and conducts systemic investigations.
  • Legal Services represents the Commissioner in court cases and provides legal advice on investigations, as well as legislative and administrative matters.
  • Corporate Services provides strategic and corporate leadership for various functions, such as communications, human resources, and information management and technology. It also manages the access to information and privacy function.

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Secretariat processes all requests made under the Privacy Act for records under the control of the OIC. The ATIP Secretariat had two staff members in 2012–2013:

  • The Director, ATIP Secretariat, manages the Secretariat, including overseeing request administration, policy development and training. The Director holds full delegated authority under the Act as ATIP Coordinator. The Director reports to the Director General, Corporate Services.
  • The ATIP Officer processes requests and holds some delegated authority, such as for taking time extensions and for the translation or interpretation of personal information. The ATIP Officer reports to the Director, ATIP Secretariat.

3. Delegation order

Under the Privacy Act, the Information Commissioner is the designated head of the institution for the purpose of administering the legislation.

During the reporting period, the delegation pursuant to section 73 of the Act, signed on July 16, 2011, was in effect (Appendix A).

4. Interpretation of the statistical report

The OIC’s statistical report details all aspects of the processing of privacy requests received by the ATIP Secretariat from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013 (Appendix B). Below are some items of note from that report.

4.1 Requests received under the Privacy Act

We received seven requests under the Privacy Act in 2012–2013, two more than in the previous reporting period. We completed all of these requests before March 31, 2013.

4.2 Disposition of requests completed

Of the seven requests we completed, we disclosed all the requested information in one case. In five cases, the information was disclosed in part, and in one case, no records existed.

4.3 Exemptions

We invoked subsection 22(1)(b) (investigations) in four requests in order to protect information obtained from complainants or from other institutions during the course of our investigations. We also invoked section 26 (information about another individual) in three requests and section 27 (solicitor-client privilege) in three requests.

4.4 Completion times

We completed privacy requests in an average of 30.9 days. We took three extensions for two requests in order to perform consultations and avoid interference with operations.

4.5 Method of access

We provided six release packages on CD.

4.6 Costs

Category of cost Amount
Salary $27,087
Administration (operations and management) $2,316
Total $29,403
Person-years 0.42

Costs incurred during the reporting period are calculated based on the salaries of ATIP Secretariat members and expenses associated with the administration of the Act.

5. Privacy Impact Assessments

The OIC neither initiated nor completed any Privacy Impact Assessments in 2012–2013. These assessments are required when an organization gathers new personal information or when it changes the purposes for which it gathers personal information.

6. Public interest disclosures

The OIC made no disclosures of information under paragraph 8(2)(m) of the Privacy Act during the reporting period. These disclosures are made when the Commissioner decides that releasing the information clearly outweighs any invasion of the privacy of the person to whom the records relate or when releasing the information would benefit the person in question.

7. Changes to the organization, programs, operations or policies

The ATIP Secretariat adopted a practice in 2012–2013 to better serve individuals seeking access to records pertaining to the investigation of their own complaints. In addition to our formal response, we now issue a subsequent informal release containing the correspondence and documents the complainants had sent to the OIC during the course of the investigation (subject to exemptions under the Access to Information Act). For the formal release, these records would have been withheld under paragraph 22(1)(b) of the Privacy Act.

8. Education and training

In January 2013, the ATIP Secretariat conducted an awareness session on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, with roughly 20 employees in attendance (22 percent of our staff). The session focused on topics such as access to information and privacy guidelines, the procedure for processing requests and the responsibilities of subject-matter experts when helping to respond to requests.

9. Complaints

One complaint was lodged with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada against our office in 2012–2013. The complaint deals with the application of subparagraph 22(1)(b)(iii) and the completeness of our search for records. The investigation is ongoing.

Appendix A

Text Version

Delegation orders for the purpose of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act

Arrêté de délégation en vertu de la Loi sur l’accès à l’informationet de la Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels

The Information Commissioner of Canada, pursuant to Section 73 of the Access to Information Act and of the Privacy Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, or the persons occupying on an acting basis those positions, to exercise the powers and functions of the Information Commissioner of Canada as the head of a government institution that is, the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada.  This Delegation Order supersedes all previous Delegation Orders pursuant to section 73.

This delegation order is effective on July 18, 2011

Dated, at the City of Ottawa,this 16 day of July 2011

En vertu de l’article 73 de la Loi sur l’accès à l’information et de la Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels, la Commissaire à l’information du Canada délègue aux titulaires des postes mentionnés à l’annexe ci-après, ainsi qu’aux personnes occupant à titre intérimaire lesdits postes, les attributions dont elle est investie en qualité de responsable d’une institution fédérale, c’est-à-dire le Commissariat à l’information du Canada.  Le présent arrêté de délégation annule et remplace tout arrêté antérieur fait en vertu de l’article 73.

Cet arrêté de délégation prend effet le 18 juillet 2011.

Daté,  à la ville d’Ottawa, ce 16 jour de juillet 2011

______________________________________________

Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada
Commissaire à l’information du Canada

Text Version

Schedule / Annexe

Position/ Poste

Director General (Corporate Services) /
Directeur général (Services organisationnels)

Director, ATIP Secretariat/
Directeur, Secrétariat de l’AIPRP

ATIP Officer/
Agent de l’AIPRP

Privacy Act and Regulations/
Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels et règlement.

Full Authority/
Autorité Absolue

Full Authority/
Autorité Absolue

Sections of the Act / articles de la Loi: 15, 17(2)(b)

Sections of the Regulations / articles du Règlement: 9, 11(2), 11(4), 13(1), 14

Access to Information Act and Regulations/
Loi sur l’accès à l’information et règlement.

Full Authority/
Autorité Absolue

Full Authority/
Autorité Absolue

Sections of the Act / articles de la Loi: 4(2.1), 8(1), 9, 11(2), 11(3), 11(4), 11(5), 11(6), 12(2), 12(3), 27(1), 27(4), 29(1).

Sections of the Regulations / articles du Règlement: 6(1), 7(2), 7(3), 8, 8.1

Appendix B

Government of Canada

Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

Reporting period: 04/01/12 to 03/31/13

PART 1 – Requests under the Privacy Act

Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 7
Outstanding from previous reporting period 0
Total 7
Closed during reporting period 7
Carried over to next reporting period 0

PART 2 – Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1  Disposition and completion time

Disposition of
requests
Completion Time
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 days Total
All disclosed 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Disclosed in part 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 5
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 3 1 1 0 0 0 7

2.2  Exemptions

Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests
18(2) 0 22(1)(a)(i) 0 23(a) 0
19(1)(a) 0 22(1)(a)(ii) 0 23(b) 0
19(1)(b) 0 22(1)(a)(iii) 0 24(a) 0
19(1)(c) 0 22(1)(b) 4 24(b) 0
19(1)(d) 0 22(1)(c) 0 25 0
19(1)(e) 0 22(2) 0 26 3
19(1)(f) 0 22.1 0 27 3
20 0 22.2 0 28 0
21 0 22.3 0

2.3  Exclusions

Section Number of requests Section Number of requests Section Number of requests
69(1)(a) 0 70(1)(a) 0 70(1)(d) 0
69(1)(b) 0 70(1)(b) 0 70(1)(e) 0
69.1 0 70(1)(c) 0 70(1)(f) 0
  70.1 0

2.4  Format of information released

Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 0 1 0
Disclosed in part 0 5 0
Total 0 6 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 2 2 1
Disclosed in part 7631 5665 5
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0

2.5.2  Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests

Disposition Less than 100
pages processed
101-500
pages processed
501-1000
pages processed
1001-5000
pages processed
More than 5000
pages processed
Number of
Requests
Pages disclosed Number of
Requests
Pages disclosed Number of
Requests
Pages disclosed Number of
Requests
Pages disclosed Number of
Requests
Pages disclosed
All disclosed 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 1 287 1 737 3 4641 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 2 1 287 1 737 3 4641 0 0

2.5.3  Other complexities

Disposition Consultation required Legal Advice Sought Interwoven Information Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 1 0 0 0 1
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 0 0 1

2.6  Deemed refusals

2.6.1  Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline

Number of requests closed past the statutory deadline Principal Reason
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 – Disclosures under subsection 8(2)

Paragraph 8(2)(e) Paragraph 8(2)(m) Total
0 0 0

PART 4 – Requests for correction of personal information and notations

  Number
Requests for correction received 0
Requests for correction accepted 0
Requests for correction refused 0
Notations attached 0

PART 5 – Extensions

5.1  Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests

Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 15(a)(i)
Interference with operations
15(a)(ii)
Consultation
15(b)
Translation or conversion
Section 70 Other
All disclosed 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 2 0 1 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0
Total 2 0 1 0

5.2  Length of extensions

Length of extensions 15(a)(i)
Interference with operations
15(a)(ii)
Consultation
15(b)
Translation purposes
Section 70 Other
1 to 15 days 0 0 1 0
16 to 30 days 2 0 0 0
Total 2 0 1 0

PART 6 – Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

6.1  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 the reporting period 0 0 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 0 0 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 0 0 0 0

6.2  Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions

Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121  to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

6.3  Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations

Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121  to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

PART 7 – Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

Number of days Number of responses received Number of responses received past deadline
1 to 15 0 0
16 to 30 0 0
31 to 60 0 0
61 to 120 0 0
121 to 180 0 0
181 to 365 0 0
More than 365 0 0
Total 0 0

PART 8 – Resources related to the Privacy Act

8.1  Costs

Expenditures Amount
Salaries $27,087
Overtime $273
Goods and Services $2,043
• Contracts for privacy impact assessments $0
• Professional services contracts $1,915
• Other $128
Total $29,403

8.2  Human Resources

Resources Dedicated full-time Dedicated part-time Total
Full-time employees 0.20 0.00 0.20
Part-time and casual employees 0.20 0.00 0.20
Regional staff 0.00 0.00 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.02 0.00 0.02
Students 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 0.42 0.00 0.42

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Privacy Act, R.S., 1985, c. P-21

Return to footnote 1 referrer