Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) develops and implements policies and programs in support of Canada's scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters, and works towards ensuring these resources benefit current and future generations.

In 2012-13, DFO received 547 requests, an increase of 49.5% compared to 2011-12 (366 requests). DFO’s performance in 2012-13 was similar to that of 2011-12. In general, DFO’s results were under the government-wide levels, except for the proportion of requests closed past the statutory deadline.

DFO completed 73.2% of all requests in its inventory in 2012-13. This is lower than its completion rate in 2011-12 (81.7%). This reduction signals a larger backlog of requests that will be carried over to the next reporting period. The average time to complete a request was 52 days.Footnote 1

The most common category of requestors in 2012-13 was the public (39.3%), the media (28%) and organizations (18.5%).

DFO reported receiving 95 requests for previously processed requests. An additional 57 informal requests (internal and external) were received by DFO.

Table 1: Workload

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Number of requests received 366 547 49.45%
Number of consultations received (from other government institutions) 173 288 66.47%
Average number of pages processed per request closed 442 378 -64
% of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed 12.63% 8.19% -4.44%
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.

The volume of pages processed proportionally decreased in 2012-13 compared to the previous reporting period, but was higher than the government-wide level. 8.2% of requests required processing 1,000 pages or more, compared to 12.6% in 2011-12. 62% of the requests required processing 100 pages or less.

Timeliness

DFO responded to 268 requests within 30 days or less, which represents 59.2% of the requests closed in 2012-13. This rate is below the government-wide percentage. DFO however closed fewer requests in more than 120 days in 2012-13 than in 2011-12.

The proportion of requests completed past the statutory deadline in 2012-13 was 5.5%. This represents a “B” grade.Footnote 2 Workload was invoked as the principal reason why requests were closed late (15 requests, 60%). DFO also noted that work force adjustment had an important impact on program staff and the ability to retrieve records and provide sound recommendations as to disclosure in a timely manner.

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 167 notices of extension from DFO, which represents a total of 302 separate extensions.

Extensions

The number of extensions went up by 10.2% between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Consultations under section 9(1)b) was the the most commonly cited reason for extending requests.

The proportion of extensions taken for 30 days or less increased from 29.3% in 2011-12 to 35.3% in 2012-13. The proportion of those extensions for more than 120 days decreased (24.2% in 2011-12 to 14% in 2012-13).

Disclosure

Of the requests completed in 2012-13, 18.1% were disclosed in full, which is comparable to the previous year. There was, however, an improvement in the percentage of pages processed that were disclosed.

Table 2: Performance

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Completion of Requests
Completion rate 81.71% 73.18% -8.53%
Completion Time
% of requests closed within 30 days 61.47% 59.16% -2.31%
% of requests closed past statutory deadline 3.68% 5.52% 1.84%
% of consultations from government institution closed within 30 days 90.53% 77.82% -12.71%
% of extensions of 30 days or less 29.30% 35.26% 5.96%
Level of Disclosure
% of pages processed that were disclosed 48.78% 50.02% 1.24%
% of requests closed for which the information was disclosed entirely 18.41% 18.10% -0.31%
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 DFO decreased slightly from 23 complaints in 2011-12 to 18 in 2012-13.

The OIC received as many administrative complaints as it did for refusal complaints (9 complaints each).

Half of the complaints (9) were well-founded and four were not well-founded. An additional 4 complaints are still pending (as of May 2014).

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Based on response to parliamentary written question Q-485.

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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%.

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