Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)Footnote 1 is responsible for Canada's foreign policy and all matters relating to Canada's external affairs. DFATD’s specific areas of responsibility include international peace and security, global trade and commerce, diplomatic and consular relations, administration of the foreign service and Canada's missions abroad, and development of international law and its application to Canada.

DFATD received 1,148 requests during the reporting period, which is 28.7% more requests than in 2011-12 (892 requests). This represents about 1.9% of all requests received government-wide in 2012-13. The department also received a similar number of consultations in 2012-13 (1,057). DFATD’s performance was slightly below its 2011-12 performance but well below the government-wide levels in 2012-13. In its annual report, DFATD noted it had experienced staffing challenges, which could explain in part the lower performance observed in 2012-13.

DFATD completed 68.6% of all requests in its inventory in 2012-13. This is lower than the completion rate of 72.9% observed in 2011-12. This will result in a larger backlog of requests for the next reporting period. The average time to complete a request was 188 days.Footnote 2

About half (50.2%) of the requests received in 2012-13 came from the media, while an additional 20.3% were from businesses.

Table 1: Workload

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Number of requests received 892 1,148 28.70%
Number of consultations received (from other government institutions) 1,034 1,057 2.22%
Average number of pages processed per requests closed 202 149 -53
% of requests for which more than 1000 pages were processed 4.59% 2.84% -1.75%
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.

2.8% of requests closed during 2012-13 required processing 1,000 pages or more, compared to 4.6% in 2011-12. 71% of requests required processing 100 pages or less. The number of pages processed per request for 2012-13 was also lower than in 2011-12 (149 pages and 202 pages, respectively).

Timeliness

DFATD responded to 441 requests within 30 days or less, which represents 42.7% of all completed requests (4.3% lower than the previous reporting period). Approximately 26% of requests were completed after more than 120 days (which is similar to the preceding year).

DFATD responded to 23.4% of the requests past the statutory deadline in 2012-13. This proportion represents an “F” grade.Footnote 3 Workload was identified as the principal reason why requests were closed past the statutory deadline.

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 439 notices of extension from DFATD, which represents a total of 528 separate extensions.

Extensions

A total of 600 extensions were taken in 2012-13, compared to 551 in 2011-12.

20.7% of the extensions taken in 2012-13 were for a period not exceeding 30 days. In comparison, this proportion was 16% in 2011-12.

More than half of the extensions (55.8%) were taken under section 9(1)(a) (interference with operations).

Disclosure

Of the requests completed, 9.5% were disclosed entirely, which is similar to the last reporting period, but lower than the government-wide rate (21.6%). 57% of the pages processed were disclosed in 2012-13, compared to 53.8% in 2011-12.

Table 2: Performance

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Completion of Requests
Completion rate 72.93% 68.63% -4.30%
Completion Time
% of requests closed within 30 days 46.99% 42.69% -4.30%
% of requests closed past statutory deadline 22.77% 23.43% 0.66%
% of consultations from government institution closed within 30 days 38.31% 31.00% -7.31%
% of extensions of 30 days or less 15.97% 20.67% 4.70%
Level of Disclosure
% of pages processed that were disclosed 53.82% 57.03% 3.21%
% of requests closed for which the information was disclosed entirely 9.98% 9.49% -0.49%
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 concerning DFATD increased from 56 complaints in 2011-12 to 83 in 2013-14. Of these complaints, the proportion that represented administrative complaints also went up, from 35.7% in 2011-12 to 40.2% in 2012-13.

A similar number of complaints received in 2012-13 were well-founded (30) and not well-founded (24). 9 were discontinued and 8 were settled. 12 are still pending (as of May 2014).

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Formerly Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT).

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Footnote 2

Based on response to parliamentary written question Q-485.

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Footnote 3

The 2007-08 OIC report card grading system was used to estimate a 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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