Annual Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014

 

1 Introduction

This report to Parliament, prepared and tabled in accordance with section 72 of the Privacy Act, describes the activities of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) in administering the Act during 2013–2014. 

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 the OIC’s 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, the organization has made every effort to provide exemplary service to requesters. Here are some highlights from 2013–2014:

  • completing formal requests in an average of 17.4 days; and
  • reviewing a total of 3,790 pages for nine requests.

2 Organization

The Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, is supported by employees working under the direction of 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 on 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 three staff members in 2013–2014:

  • The Director, ATIP Secretariat, oversees the handling of requests, 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 Senior ATIP Officer processes requests and holds some delegated authority for tasks such as taking time extensions, and arranging for translation or interpretation of personal information. The Senior ATIP Officer reports to the Director, ATIP Secretariat.
  • The Junior ATIP Officer processes requests and performs administrative tasks in the ATIP Secretariat. The Junior 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 order pursuant to section 73 of the Act, signed on July 16, 2011, was in effect (Appendix A).

4 Interpretation of the statistical report

The statistical report details all aspects of the ATIP Secretariat’s processing of privacy requests the OIC received from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014 (Appendix B). Below are some items of note from that report.

4.1 Requests received under the Privacy Act

The OIC received nine requests under the Privacy Act in 2013–2014, two more than in the previous reporting period. All these were completed before March 31, 2014.

4.2 Disposition of completed requests

Of the nine completed requests, the OIC disclosed all the requested information in two cases. In five cases, the information was disclosed in part. In two cases, no records existed.

4.3 Exemptions

The OIC invoked subsection 22(1)(b) (investigations) in four requests in order to protect information obtained from complainants or from other government institutions during the course of investigations. In one request, the OIC also invoked section 26 (information about another individual). In two others, section 27 (solicitor-client privilege) was invoked.

4.4 Completion times

The OIC completed all requests within the statutory timelines, in an average of 17.4 days, and did not claim any extensions. (One request was completed in 30 days; however, the due date fell on a weekend or statutory holiday and was, therefore, moved to the next business day.)

4.5 Method of access

Six release packages were provided on CD and one on paper.

4.6 Costs

Category Amount
Salary $18,475
Administration (operations and management) 401
Total $18,876
Person-years 0.24

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 Education and training

The ATIP Secretariat provided one-on-one training on ATIP procedures to OIC employees, as needed. Secretariat staff also provided ongoing guidance to offices of primary interest (subject-matter experts) regarding the search and retrieval of relevant records.

6 Changes to the organization, programs, operations or policies

The ATIP Secretariat no longer informally releases information other than personal information to requesters seeking files associated with their complaint investigations. This decision was taken in the context of observations by the Information Commissioner ad hoc, who investigates complaints about the OIC’s handling of access to information requests.

7 Complaints

Two complaints were lodged with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada against the OIC in 2013–2014. The complaints deal with the application of subparagraph 22(1)(b)(iii) and the completeness of the search for records. The investigations into these complaints are ongoing.

One complaint carried over from the previous reporting period was discontinued during 2013–2014.

8 Monitoring timelines

The ATIP Secretariat monitors the time to process requests and generates through the electronic case management system a report on all open requests, including their status and due dates. This report is circulated to OIC senior management once a week.

9 Privacy breaches

No privacy breaches occurred during the reporting period.

10 Privacy Impact Assessments

The OIC neither initiated nor completed any Privacy Impact Assessments in 2013–2014. These assessments are required when an organization gathers new personal information or when it changes the purposes for which it gathers personal information.

11 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 in the public interest 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.

Appendix A: Delegation orders, July 16, 2011

 
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: Statistical report on the Privacy Act

Government of Canada

Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

Reporting period: 04/01/13 to 03/31/14

PART 1 – Requests under the Privacy Act

  Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 9
Outstanding from previous reporting period 0
Total 9
Closed during reporting period 9
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 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Disclosed in part 1 3 1 0 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 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 9

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 1
19(1)(f) 0 22.1 0 27 2
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 1 1 0
Disclosed in part 0 5 0
Total 1 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 2148 2148 2
Disclosed in part 1642 1104 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 2146 0 0
Disclosed in part 1 66 3 711 1 327 0 0 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 2 68 3 711 1 327 1 2146 0 0

2.5.3  Other complexities

Disposition Consultation required Legal Advice Sought Interwoven Information Other Total
All disclosed 0 1 0 0 1
Disclosed in part 0 0 0 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 1 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 0 0 0 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 0 0 0 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 0 0 0 0
Total 0 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 $18,475
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $401
  • Contracts for privacy impact assessments $0
  • Professional services contracts $0
  • Other $401
Total $18,876

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 0.04 0.00 0.04
Regional staff 0.00 0.00 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00 0.00 0.02
Students 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 0.24 0.00 0.24

Appendix A

Previously released ATI package released informally
Institution Number of informal releases of previously released ATI packages
Office of the Information Commissioner 24
Completed Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)
Institution Number of Completed PIAs
Office of the Information Commissioner 0
Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences under the ATIA - Requests with Legal Services
Number of Days Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed 101‒500 Pages Processed 501‒1,000 Pages Processed 1,001‒5,000 Pages Processed More Than 5,000 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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences under the ATIA - Requests with Privy Council Office
Number of Days Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed 101‒500 Pages Processed 501‒1,000 Pages Processed 1,001‒5,000 Pages Processed More Than 5,000 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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences under the PA - Requests with Legal Services
Number of Days Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed 101‒500 Pages Processed 501‒1,000 Pages Processed 1,001‒5,000 Pages Processed More Than 5,000 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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences under the PA - Requests with Privy Council Office
Number of Days Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed 101‒500 Pages Processed 501‒1,000 Pages Processed 1,001‒5,000 Pages Processed More Than 5,000 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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
 

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Access to Information Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1

Return to footnote 1 referrer