Info Source

Sources of Federal Government and Employee Information

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

Introduction to Info Source

Info Source: Sources of Federal Government and Employee Information provides information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It provides individuals and employees of the government (current and former) with relevant information to access personal information about them held by government institutions subject to the Privacy Act and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act.

The Introduction to Info Source: Sources of Federal Government and Employee Information and an index of institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act are available centrally.

The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act assign overall responsibility to the President of Treasury Board (as the designated Minister) for the government-wide administration of the legislation.

General Information

Background

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) is an independent public body set up in 1983 under the Access to Information Act (the Act). The Information Commissioner is appointed by and reports directly to Parliament. The OIC ensures that federal institutions respect the rights that the Access to Information Act confers to information requesters. Protecting and advancing the right of access to public sector information ultimately enhances the transparency and accountability of the federal government.

Responsibilities

The Office is headed by the Information Commissioner who is supported by one Assistant Information Commissioner also appointed by the Governor in Council. Our primary responsibility is to conduct efficient, fair and confidential investigations into complaints about federal institutions’ handling of access to information requests. We strive to maximize compliance with the Act while fostering disclosure of public sector information using the full range of tools, activities and powers at the Commissioner’s disposal, from information and mediation to persuasion and litigation, where required.

We use mediation and persuasion to resolve complaints. In doing so, we give complainants, heads of federal institutions and all third parties affected by complaints an opportunity to make representations. We encourage institutions to disclose information as a matter of course and to respect Canadians’ rights to request and receive information, in the name of transparency and accountability. We bring cases to the Federal Court of Canada to advance the legal interpretation of the Act in order to maximize disclosure of information.

We also support the Information Commissioner in her advisory role to Parliament and parliamentary committees on all access to information matters. We actively make the case for greater freedom of information in Canada through targeted initiatives such as Right to Know Week, and ongoing dialogue with Canadians, Parliament and federal institutions.

There are three operational and administrative branches: Complaints Resolution and Compliance, Legal Services, and Corporate Services.

The Complaints Resolution and Compliance Branch investigates individual complaints about the processing of access requests, conducts dispute resolution activities and makes formal recommendations to institutions, as required. It also assesses federal institutions’ compliance with their obligations, carries out systemic investigations and analysis, and provides policy direction.

Legal Services represents the Commissioner in court and provides legal advice on investigations, legislative issues and administrative matters. It closely monitors the range of cases having potential litigation ramifications for our organization and for access to information in general. Legal Services also assists investigators by providing them with up-to-date and customized reference tools on the evolving technicalities of the case law.

Corporate Services provides strategic and corporate leadership in human resources and financial management, internal audit as well as information management and technology. It conducts our external relations with a wide range of stakeholders, notably Parliament, government and representatives of the media. It is also responsible for managing our access to information and privacy function.

Learn more about the Office of the Information Commissioner here: Who we are; What we do; Our Structure

Institutional Functions, Programs and Activities

Compliance with Access to Information Obligations

Description:

The Access to Information Act is the legislative authority for the oversight activities of the Information Commissioner of Canada. The OIC is responsible for investigating ATI-related complaints from individuals and corporations. Through audits and reviews, the OIC also assesses how well federal institutions are complying with their obligations under the Act, and provides recommendations and report cards to federal institutions, and special reports and annual reports to Parliament on access to information matters.

Document Types:

Correspondence/complaint applications relating to the Access to Information Act, representations and/or correspondence with complainants, federal institutions, and third parties, documentary evidence, investigators’ notes,  investigation reports, legal opinions, briefing notes, audits, reviews, records of findings, annual reports, special reports, report cards, and extension notices.

Record Number: OIC OPE 3350

  • Complaint Investigations

Description:

This bank describes information regarding complaints of alleged violations of the ATI Act submitted to, or initiated by the Office of the Information Commissioner under section 30 of the Access to Information Act. Personal information may include: contact information of the complainants, details of allegations, opinions and views about the complainants and parties to the allegations, other personal information gathered during the investigations, including representations provided by individuals and parties to the allegations as well as decisions and recommendations relevant to the investigation.

Class of Individuals:

Individuals and representatives of individuals who initiate a complaint to the Information Commissioner, business representatives (third parties) and employees/officers of the Government of Canada, including the OIC.

Purpose:

Information is collected under the authority of the Access to Information Act. It is used to conduct complaint investigations and to support conclusions, recommendations and decisions made by the Information Commissioner.

Consistent Uses:

Limited information is shared with the federal institution(s) and/or third parties involved in the complaint (e.g. name of the complainant, nature of the allegations, information that is permitted to be shared by section 63(1) of the ATI Act in order to conduct the investigation). Information may be referred to legal counsel within the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC PPU 8550). In accordance with Section 30 of the Act, the Information Commissioner must submit an annual report to Parliament with respect to activities under the Act and, in doing so, may present anonymized case summaries of select cases. Information may be used to conduct audits and to identify and address systemic issues. It may also be used for evaluation and quality control purposes in order to ensure consistency in the investigative process, for training of investigators, and for research and litigation purposes.

Retention and Disposal Standards: Routine files are retained for a period of 2 years and then destroyed. Files of enduring value are retained for a period of 5 years and then transferred to Library and Archives Canada. Files of interest for training or reference purposes are retained for a period of 5 years and then destroyed.

RDA Number: 2005/006

Related Record Number: OIC OPE 3350

TBS Registration: 20091170

Bank Number: OIC PPU 3100

Notes: Access to this bank may require the complaint file number, the name and address of the complainant, the approximate date of the complaint, the name of the government institution or private sector organization, and/or the investigator’s name.

  • Ad Hoc Information Commissioner Complaint Investigations

Description:

This bank describes information contained in complaints of alleged violations of the Access to Information Act filed with the Ad Hoc Information Commissioner under section 30 of the Access to Information Act against the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada. The personal information may include: contact information of the complainants, details of allegations, opinions and views about the complainants and parties to the allegations, other personal information gathered during the investigations, including representations provided by individuals and parties to the allegations as well as decisions and recommendations relevant to the investigation.

Class of Individuals:

Individuals who file complaints alleging violations of the Access to Information Act by the OIC and other individuals who may be involved.

Purpose:

Information is collected under the authority of the Access to Information Act. It is used to process complaint investigations against the Office of the Information Commissioner pursuant to section 30 of the Access to Information Act.

Consistent Uses:

Personal information may be disclosed on a confidential basis to legal counsel or consultants hired under contract with the Ad Hoc Information Commissioner for the purpose of conducting complaint investigations. Information may be used for evaluation purposes.

Retention and Disposal Standards:

Routine files are retained for a period of 2 years and then destroyed.  Files of enduring value are retained for a period of 5 years and then transferred to Library and Archives Canada. 

RDA Number: 2005/006

Related Record Number: OIC OPE 3350

TBS Registration: 20091172

Bank Number: OIC PPU 123

Legal Matters

Description:

Information on specific issues related to access to information litigation involving, or of interest to, the Office of the Information Commissioner. Information on the Office of the Information Commissioner's jurisdiction, administration of legal matters, legal opinions and decisions, practices and procedures.

Document Types:

Policy, correspondence, opinions rendered by legal advisors, documents related to litigation such as affidavits, orders, subpoenas, undertakings of confidentiality, legal research reports, legal positions, litigation management and resolution processes, case summaries, court rulings.

Record Number: OIC LEG 8000

  • Legal Proceedings

Description:

This bank describes information related to legal proceedings before the courts, initiated under sections 41, 42 or 44 of the Access to Information Act, in which the Information Commissioner of Canada is a party, mis-en-cause (force intervener) or an intervener. Personal information may include: name, contact information, views and opinions, other personal information relevant to the specific case (e.g. financial information, health information, employee information).

Class of Individuals:

Individuals involved in legal proceedings related to the Access to Information Act including members of the public, government employees and officers, and contractors.

Purpose:

Information is collected under the authority of the Access to Information Act. It is used for litigation purposes.

Consistent Uses:

Information may be shared with other federal government institution(s) involved in the legal proceedings and may also be included in OIC Complaint Investigation Files (OIC PPU 3100). Information may be disclosed on a confidential basis to contractors hired by the Office of the Information Commissioner to assist in legal proceedings. Information may also be used for evaluation purposes.

Retention and Disposal Standards: Under Development

RDA Number: Not Available

Related Record Number: OIC LEG 8000

TBS Registration: 20091171

Bank Number: OIC PPU 8500

Standard Classes of Records and Personal Information Banks

Internal Services

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; Acquisition Services; and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

Acquisitions Services

Acquisition Services involve activities undertaken to acquire a good or service to fulfill a properly completed request (including a complete and accurate definition of requirements and certification that funds are available) until entering into or amending a contract.

Communications Services

Communications Services involve activities undertaken to ensure that Government of Canada communications are effectively managed, well coordinated and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public. The communications management function ensures that the public - internal or external - receives government information, and that the views and concerns of the public are taken into account in the planning, management and evaluation of policies, programs, services and initiatives.

Financial Management Services

Financial Management Services involve activities undertaken to ensure the prudent use of public resources, including planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, control and oversight, analysis, decision support and advice, and financial systems.

Human Resources Management Services

Human Resources Management Services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction, allocating resources among services and processes, as well as activities relating to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate counter measures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and plans.

Information Management Services

Information Management Services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective information management to support program and service delivery; foster informed decision making; facilitate accountability, transparency, and collaboration; and preserve and ensure access to information and records for the benefit of present and future generations.

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective use of information technology to support government priorities and program delivery, to increase productivity, and to enhance services to the public.

Legal Services

Legal Services involve activities undertaken to enable government departments and agencies to pursue policy, program and service delivery priorities and objectives within a legally sound framework.

Management and Oversight Services

Management and Oversight Services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction, and allocating resources among services and processes, as well as those activities related to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, or plans.

Materiel Services

Materiel Services involve activities undertaken to ensure that materiel can be managed by departments in a sustainable and financially responsible manner that supports the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Real Property Services

Real Property Services involve activities undertaken to ensure real property is managed in a sustainable and financially responsible manner, throughout its life cycle, to support the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Travel and Other Administrative Services

Travel and Other Administrative Services include Government of Canada (GC) travel services, as well as those other internal services that do not smoothly fit with any of the internal services categories.

Manuals

  • Investigator’s Guide to Interpreting the Access to Information Act

Additional Information

Please see the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada’s website for information on how to make a request under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

The Office of the Information Commissioner can only process Access to Information and Privacy Requests for records under its control. ATIP Requests for records concerning the programs and activities of other federal institutions should be sent to the ATIP Coordinators for those institutions and not to the Office of the Information Commissioner.

The OIC must conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) to ensure that privacy implications will be appropriately identified, assessed and resolved before a new or substantially modified program or activity involving personal information is implemented. To date, no OIC specific PIAs have been completed.

For additional information about the programs and activities of the Office of the Information Commissioner, or to make an access or privacy request, please contact:

Angelle Moore
A/Director, ATIP Secretariat
Office of the Information Commissioner
30 Victoria Street, 7th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 1H3
Telephone: 819-994-1226
Toll free: 1-800-267-0441

Reading Room

In accordance with the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, an area on the premises will be made available should you wish to review materials on site. The address is:

30 Victoria Street, 7th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1H3