Department of Justice Canada

The Department of Justice Canada (JUS) is responsible for providing support to the Minister’s dual mandate as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. As such, it provides policy and program advice, litigates civil cases by or on behalf of the Federal Crown, as well as providing legal advice to federal law enforcement agencies and other government departments.

In 2012-13, JUS received 343 requests, an increase of 12 requests (3.6%) compared to 2011-12 (331 requests). JUS also received more consultations than any other federal institution subject to the Access to Information Act (1,339 requests for consultations from other government institutions in 2012-13). Its overall performance was lower compared to previous years, except for the proportion of requests completed within 30 days (this has been increasing since 2009-10). The same can be said for how JUS compared to government-wide levels.

JUS completed 77.6% of all requests in its inventory in 2012-13, which is lower to its completion rate in 2011-12 (81.1%). The average number of days to complete a request was 78 days.Footnote 1

The media was the most common source of requests received in 2012-13 (38.8%), an increase of 8% compared to 2011-12. The second most common source of requests was from the public (32.7%).

According to its annual report, JUS processed an additional 144 informal requests (104 more than in 2011-12) that were not captured in the statistical report.

Table 1: Workload

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Number of requests received 331 343 3.63%
Number of consultations received (from other government institutions) 1,340 1,339 -0.07%
Average number of pages processed per request closed 309 472 163
% of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed 5.04% 8.64% 3.60%
Note: The average number of pages processed per request closed and the percentage of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed are calculated from the total of requests completed for which the information was disclosed (in part or totally), exempted/excluded and for requests abandoned. It excludes requests completed for the following dispositions: no records exist, requests transferred and requests treated informally.

In terms of volume of pages processed, 8.6% of requests required processing 1,000 pages or more, compared to 5% in 2011-12. 66.7% of requests required processing 100 pages or less. The number of pages processed per request for 2012-13 was higher than in 2011-12 (309 pages as compared to 472, a difference of 52.8%).

Timeliness

JUS responded to 233 requests within 30 days, which represents 72.1% of all requests completed. JUS closed more requests over 120 days than the year before (from 6.4% in 2011-12 to 15.2% in 2012-13).

The number of requests closed past the statutory deadline increased from 14 in 2011-12 to 68 in 2012-13, which is a rate of 21.1%. The proportion achieved in 2012-13 represents an “F” grade.Footnote 2 3 Workload was identified as the principal reason for late requests.

Each year, the OIC receives notices regarding the use of extensions for more than 30 days and compiles this information in order to generate statistics. In 2012-13, the OIC received 46 notices of extension from JUS, which represents a total of 66 separate extensions.

Extensions

JUS used 5.2% (or 4) more extensions in 2012-13 as compared to 2011-12. A vast majority of the extensions were for more than 30 days (70.4% in 2012-13).

More than half of the extensions (65.4%) were taken for consultations under section 9(1)(b) (consultations). This proportion was 80.5% in 2011-12. The proportion of extensions taken under section 9(1)(a) (interference with operations) increased by 10% between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Disclosure

Of the requests completed in 2012-13, 12% were disclosed in full, which represents a 10% decrease compared to 2011-12. The proportion of pages processed that were disclosed also decreased by 11% during the same period.

A significant proportion of requests were closed for which no records existed (22.3%).

Table 2: Performance

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Completion of Requests
Completion rate 81.09% 77.64% -3.45%
Completion Time
% of requests closed within 30 days 77% 72.14% -4.86%
% of requests closed past statutory deadline 4.47% 21.05% 16.58%
% of consultations from government institution closed within 30 days 65.48% 44.76% -20.72%
% of extensions of 30 days or less 19.48% 29.63% 10.15%
Level of Disclosure
% of pages processed that were disclosed 40.71% 29.95% -10.76%
% of requests closed for which the information was disclosed entirely 22.36% 12.07% -10.29%
Note: The completion rate represents the number of requests completed divided by the total number of requests on hand, which includes the new requests received and the requests carried over from the previous reporting period.

Complaints

The number of complaints received by the OIC against JUS decreased by more than half during the reporting period, from 47 in 2011-12 to 23 in 2012-13. The number of administrative complaints remained the same for both years (9).

Most of the complaints received in 2012-13 were related to refusals (14 of the 24 complaints).

A similar number of complaints were well-founded (7) and not well-founded (6). An additional 6 complaints were discontinued and 5 are still pending (as of May 2014).

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Based on response to parliamentary written question Q-485.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

The 2007-08 OIC report card grading system was used to estimate the grade: A=0 to 5%, B= 5 to 10%, C=10 to 15%, D=15% to 20%, F=more than 20%.

Return to first footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

This may reflect the fact that JUS ceased their practice of closing files prior to receiving a response from consulted institution.

Return to first footnote 3 referrer