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Questionnaires

Year


2007-2008

QUESTIONNAIRES

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

Responses to Report Card Questionnaire

2007-2008

DFAIT Revised Response – July 17, 2008

 

A. ACCESS TO INFORMATION REQUESTS PROCESS

1. Profile of Requester

SourceNumber of requests
Media277
Academia16
Business67
Organization91
Public285
Other--- (We do have other sources. However, because of TBS policy, these must all correspond to one of the five groups above.)
Total736

2. Request Categorization

2.1 – Are requests categorized in any manner (i.e., sensitive, routine, etc.)?

YesXNo 

If Yes, please list and define the categories and if possible indicate the number of access requests in each category.

CategoryDefinition of CategoryNumber of requests
2007-2008
RoutineATI requests which should not require communications products282
Comm. AlertATI requests identified by the Communications Offices, Parliamentary Affairs and/or the OPI which might require communication products454

2.2– If yes, who makes the determination of the category?

The Communications Offices, Parliamentary Affairs and the OPIs

2.3– If yes, is there a specific process related to this categorization? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

All files that are categorized as Comm Alert have this additional step in the process: Three business days prior to the response to the requester, an advanced copy of the release package is provided to the Communications Office(s), Parliamentary Affairs and/or the OPI so that the preparation of Communications materials can be initiated (i.e. Q&A or media lines). This is done for information purposes only, no feedback is being sought and the release of the records will not be delayed in any way.

3. Client Service

3.1 – On average, how much time does it take your institution to make a final decision on an ATI request under theAct? i.e. What is the total amount of time taken between the receipt of the ATI request and the final decision on disclosure of requested information?

132 calendar days This is the average number of days taken to send our final response to the requester for the 541 ATI requests closed during the 2007-08 fiscal year.

3.2 – Disclosure to Requester   
Number of requests received during the reporting period (April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008)736
Number of requests completed during the reporting period (April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008)541
Pages reviewed237,279 This number represents all pages submitted to the ATIP office by OPIs in response to ATI requests closed during the 2007-08 fiscal year. Including, records eventually identified as duplicates and not relevant as well as records for requests eventually abandoned by the applicant for various reasons.
Pages disclosed in total
Pages disclosed in part
35,661

3.3 – Disposition of Completed Requests for the PeriodNumber of requests
All disclosed68
Disclosed in part206 The percentage of information released cannot be calculated in any way using our tacking and imaging systems. The only way to do so would be to review each file individually.
Nothing disclosed (excluded)3
Nothing disclosed (exempt)4
No relevant record exists126
Transferred14
Unable to process7
Abandoned by requester107
Treated informally5
Total completed541
Carried forward459

Additional information provided to OIC on August 21, 2008:

 ATI RequestsATI Consultations
Fiscal YearReviewedReleasedReviewedReleased
2005-0651,80133,64268,261n/a
2006-0767,33832,51549,38430,596

3.4 – Transfers Profile 
Transferred within 15 days11
Transferred after 15 days3
Total transferred14
Transfers refused0

3.5 – Consultations   
Received: 
Number of consultations received1025
Number of pages to review78,370 This number represents the number of pages reviewed for all consultations completed during the 2007-08 fiscal year.
(This question is to be answered by the Privy Council Office (PCO) only) Number of consultations received from other federal institutions related to Cabinet confidences (Please, consult with PCO Legislation and House Planning) (s. 69)N/A
(This question is to be answered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade only) Number of consultations received from other federal institutions related to International affairs, defence and national security (s. 15)1025 Sub-section 15(1) is considered for all consultations received. This number represents all of the ATI Consultations received during the 2007-08 fiscal year
(This question is to be answered by Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police only) Number of consultations received from other federal institutions related to law enforcement and penal institutions (s. 16)N/A
For completed requests only, average time spent to review pages received for all consultationsTotal number of Days Taken . Total number of Pages reviewed Based on all consultations closed during the 2007-08 fiscal year.  The resulting value would not be representative of time spent reviewing records because it includes time to enter the consultation in our tracking system, to scan the records in our imaging system, to distribute the records to the OPIs, the OPIs’ review of the records, the review by the ATIP Analyst, the QC by the ATIP Team Leader, signature by the signing authority and mail out procedure. Also, some of the consultations that we received must be sent abroad for further consultation with foreign governments and international organizations of states.
Sent: 
Number of consultations sent303 These are consultations sent to other federal government institutions, including those sent to PCO for the application of s.69 during the 2007-08 fiscal year
Number of pages sent for reviewThis information cannot be gathered without doing a file by file count.
Number of consultations sent to PCO Legislation and House Planning related to Cabinet confidences (s. 69)28
Number of consultations sent to any institutions related to International affairs, defence and national security (s. 15)42 OGD This number represents all of the consultations sent to DND and CSIS during the 2007-08 fiscal year 249 Foreign Consultations sent to foreign governments or international organizations of states for the purpose of applying s.13 and .15(1) during the 2007-08 fiscal year

Number of consultations sent to any institution related to law enforcement and penal institutions (s. 16)44 This number represents all of the consultations sent to RCMP and CSC during the 2007-08 fiscal year
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to all consultations sent47 calendar days Average length of all completed OGD consultations for ATI requests closed during 07-08 period
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to consultations sent in relation to Cabinet confidences (s. 69)90 calendar days This is the average length of all completed s.69 consultation ATI requests closed during 2007-08 period
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to consultations sent in relation to defence and national security (s. 15)56 calendar days (OGD) This is the average length of all consultations sent to DND and CSIS for ATIP requests closed during the 2007-08 period. 148 calendar days (Foreign) This is the average length of all completed consultations sent to foreign governments or international organizations of states for ATI requests closed during the 2007-08 period.
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to consultations sent in relation to law enforcement and penal institutions (s. 16)17 calendar days This is the average length of all consultations sent to RCMP and CSC for ATI requests closed during the 2007-08 period.

3.6 – Of the total number of access to information requests received during the reporting period, what percentage of these requests required your institution to consult (under paragraph 9(1)(b)) with other federal institutions)?

Note: 9(1)(b)?!?! 21% of ATI requests received in 2007-08 were extended pursuant to 9(1)(b) ATI files received in 07-08 with 9(1)(b) extensions Total number of files received in 07-08 32.6% of ATI requests received in 2007-08 required non-third party consultations ATI files received in 07-08 with government consultations, foreign and domestic Total number of files received in 07-08



3.7 – Does your institution have in place a policy, a practice or another instrument, such as a protocol (written or not, please specify), to address how consultations received from another institution or sent to another institution or to a third party, are processed?

YesXNo 


3.8 – Priority: Are consultations processed on a priority basis?

Yes No 

We see two interpretations to this questions: Are incoming consultations processed on a priority basis?No. Consultations are processed with the same priority as formal ATI requests.Are outgoing consultations identified and sent on a priority basis when processing formal ATI requests?Yes. The Analyst will usually send out consultation as soon as possible.

4. Time to Process Requests

4.1 Processing Model - Stages
Days AllocatedAverage Actual Days
Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) intake2
OPI search7
Records review13 (includes dialogue with OPI)
Records preparation1
Legaln/a
Communications3
Approval or otherwise – ATIP3
Approval or otherwise – OPIn/a
Approval or otherwise – DMOn/a
Approval or otherwise - MOn/a
ATIP release1

4.2 – Other than the stages identified in 4.1, does your institution have in place other approval or review processes for requests that are categorized in a special manner as in A.2 above? If yes, please list them.
 No

Stage nameDays allocatedAverage actual days
   
   
   
   



4.3 – If other approval or review processes in place, for each stage, please explain in as much detail as possible the rationale for, and purpose of this additional approval or review stage.

 n/a 

4.4 – Please indicate whether this additional approval or review stage applies (1) to a specific type or category of requests, (2) systematically to all access requests or (3) on a case-by-case basis.

 n/a 

4.5 – Please indicate whether the roles and responsibilities of this approval or review stage are clearly established in a decision or a policy.

n/a

4.6 – In your opinion, has this other stage resulted in any increase in the delay to release the requested information?

Always Almost always Sometimes Rarely Never 

n/a

5. Extensions Profile

5.1 – When an extension is taken under section 9, do you document on the file a rationale to justify the decision to invoke an extension? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

Yes, for example, justification is included in a series of e-mails, notes and telephone calls recorded on the file and in ATIP Flow.



5.2 – Following an extension, if it is unlikely that the extended date will be met, does the ATIP Office contact the requester to indicate:

a) The response will be late

Always Almost always SometimesXRarely Never 

b) Of an expected date for the final response

Always Almost always SometimesXRarely Never 

c) Of the right to complain to the Information Commissioner

AlwaysXAlmost always Sometimes Rarely Never 

5.3 – If necessary, please provide any relevant information to support the answer provided under 5.2 a), b) and c)

n/a

5.4 – Extensions under Paragraph 9(1)(a) – Large volume of records and Interference with the operations of the federal institution

 2005-2006
number of days

For volume (search “for” large number of records)

< 30

30-90

91-120

121-150

151-180

>180

8

14

0

7

0

0


Our tracking system does not differentiate between 9(1)(a) extensions claimed for volume and search. The numbers provided are based on when the request was received, not when the extension was claimed.

 

2006-2007

Number of days

For volume (search “for” large number of records)

< 30

30-90

91-120

121-150

151-180

>180

89

57

4

2

13

11

For volume (search “through” large number of records)


 

2007-2008

Number of days

For volume (search “for” large number of records)

< 30

30-90

91-120

121-150

151-180

>180

45

204

29

44

29

6





5.5 – How do you determine the length of an extension taken under paragraph 9(1)(a) (“large number of records”)? What is the decision process used to determine the length of an extension? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

The following criteria are considered when determining the length of a 9(1)(a) extension: number of pages, complexity of the information, availability of OPI resources (ie. Crisis in program), number of active requests with that OPI.

5.6 – When extensions under paragraph 9(1)(a) (large number of records) are taken, are there any actions, practices or processes that your institution has implemented to ensure that the time limits to extension requests are met or delays are minimized? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

The management group has implemented a practice whereby analysts track these files on an ongoing basis. Further, Team leaders are responsible for monitoring these activities on a weekly basis.

Additional information provided to the OCI on July 3, 2008:

This practice was established by the Management Team during a regular meeting and the information was relayed to the Analysts at individual team meetings.


5.7 – Extensions under paragraph 9(1)(b) – Consultations

 2005-2006
Number of days
 < 3030-9091-120121-150151-180>180
For consultation with another federal institution
For consultation with foreign government
For consultation with domestic government
For consultation with individual
For consultation for section 69
13260100

Our tracking system does not track the reason why the 9(1)(b) extensions was claimed. The numbers provided are based on when the request was received, not when the extension was claimed.

 2006-2007
Number of days
 < 3030-9091-120121-150151-180>180
For consultation with another federal institution
For consultation with foreign government
For consultation with domestic government
For consultation with individual
For consultation for section 69
28148101212



 2007-2008
Number of days
 < 3030-9091-120121-150151-180>180
For consultation with another federal institution
For consultation with foreign government
For consultation with domestic government
For consultation with individual
For consultation for section 69
2558544518

5.8 – If consultations are taken under paragraph 9(1)(b),are these sent out as soon as the need has been identified?

Always Almost alwaysXSometimes Rarely Never 

5.9 – If necessary, please provide any relevant information to support the answer.


5.10 – How do you determine the length of an extension taken under paragraph 9(1)(b) (consultations)? What is the decision process used to determine the length of an extension? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

Usually an extension of 30 days is considered, however in the case of some institutions a telephone call is effected to confirm the average response time and in other cases, statistics are drawn from ATIP flow to determine average response times.

Additional information provided to OIC on July 3, 2008:

Since we are no longer permitted to communicate directly with the Office of the Counsel to the Clerk of the Privy Council, we claim the extension based on the average number of days that PCO has taken to respond to our recent consultations.




5.11 – When extensions under paragraph 9(1)(b) (consultations) are taken, are there any circumstances where for certain consultations, a certain amount of time is always taken by the federal institution to which the consultation is sent? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

No, procedure at 5.10 is used.

5.12 – When extensions under paragraph 9(1)(b) (consultations) are taken, are there any actions, practices or processes that your institution has implemented to ensure that the time limits to extension requests are met or delays are minimized? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

Same procedure as 5.6

5.13 – Extensions under Paragraph 9(1)(c) – Notices to third parties



 2005-2006
Number of requests where third party was consulted23 Additional information provided to OIC on July 3, 2008: (For the 22 missing files, as we were unable to legally claim an extension under paragraph 9(1)(c) by the time the need to consult was identified, no extension were sent.)
Length of extension taken
< 3030-9091-120121-150151-180>180
001000
Average length of time to receive representations from third parties26 calendar days Based on s.27 notices
Average length of time to make a decision after receipt of response / representations from third partiesImpossible to calculate using the tracking system and the answer would depend on the definition of “decision”.
Number of notices under section 2747
Number of notices for which section 27 time frame was not met6 times on a total of 3 ATI requests
Number of requests for which paragraph 28(1)(b) time frame was not met0
The numbers provided are based on when the request was received, not when the consultations were sent. 



 2006-2007
Number of requests where third party was consulted31
 Length of extension taken
< 3030-9091-120121-150151-180>180
3230000
Average length of time to receive representations from third parties38 calendar day Based on s.27 notices
Average length of time to make a decision after receipt of response / representations from third partiesImpossible to calculate
Number of notices under section 2784
Number of notices for which section 27 time frame was not met1
Number of requests for which paragraph 28(1)(b) time frame was not met1

 2007-2008
Number of requests where third party consulted14 *
 Length of extension taken
< 3030-9091-120121-150151-180>180
1110000
Average length of time to receive representations from third parties27 calendar day * Based on s.27 notices
Average length of time to make a decision after receipt of response / representations from third partiesImpossible to calculate
Number of notices under section 2726 *
Number of notices for which section 27 time frame was not met1 *
Number of requests for which paragraph 28(1)(b) time frame was not met0 *

* It is likely that these numbers will increase over time since many 2007-08 requests are still ongoing.



5.14 – Are third party notices sentto third parties pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(c) and subsection 27(1) sent out before thirty days have lapsed?

Always Almost alwaysXSometimes Rarely Never 

5.15 – If you have not checked “Always”, please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

Every effort is made to send 9(1)(c) extensions within the first 30 days, however if a 9(1)(a) has been taken and the ATIP office has not received the records within the first 30 days it is impossible to send our notice to third parties and the extension within that timeline

5.16 –Are notices sent assoon as the need for the notice is identified?

AlwaysXAlmost always Sometimes Rarely Never 

5.17 – If necessary, please provide any relevant information to support the answer.


5.18 – When an extension is invoked under paragraph 9(1)(c) for third party notification, how often does the institution meet the statutory timelines? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

Always Almost alwaysXSometimes Rarely Never 


5.19– When extensions under paragraph 9(1)(c) (notices to third party) are taken, are there any actions, practices or processes that the federal institution has implemented to ensure that the time limits to extension requests are met or delays are minimized? Please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

Same response as 5.6

5.20 – When extensions are taken under paragraphs 9(1)(b) and / or 9(1)(c) – consultations – does the ATIP Office provide a partial release of the requested records for portions of the request that are not involved in the consultation process?

Always Almost always SometimesXRarely Never 

5.21 – If necessary, please provide any relevant information to support the answer.

n/a


6. Claims for discretionary exemptions

6.1 – When a discretionary exemption is claimed, is a rationale prepared to support the decision to exempt information?

YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information for this question.

A combination of notes on ATIP Image and the processing file constitute the rationale to support exemption decisions.

6.2 – When a discretionary exemption is claimed, is it exercised in the context of jurisprudence and practice?

YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information for this question.

Analysts often refer to various precedent cases, jurisprudence and OIC annual reports when discretionary exemptions are claimed.

6.3 – Is there a documented requirement to prepare a rationale when a decision is made to claim a discretionary exemption?

YesNo
 X

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

The office is presently reviewing the ATIP procedures/guidelines manual.

6.4 – Is the discretionary exemption rationale prepared by the OPIs and/or the ATIP Office?

YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

Combination of both.

6.5 – Is there a documented discretionary exemption challenge function in ATIP Office if the rationale is prepared by OPIs?

YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

If in disagreement with OPI rationale, the analyst will initiate a dialogue to firm up the rationale which may include involvement of the Team leader, the Deputy Director and Director of the ATIP office.


7. Claims for mandatory exemptions

7.1 – When a mandatory exemption is claimed, is a rationale prepared to support the decision to exempt information?

YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information for this question.

Rationale is not prepared when the mandatory exemption is self evident

7.2 – When a mandatory exemption is claimed, is it exercised in the context of jurisprudence and practice?

YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information for this question.

Same as 6.2

7.3 – Is there a documented requirement to prepare a rationale when a decision is made to claim a mandatory exemption?

YesNo
 X

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

Same as 6.3

7.4 – Is the mandatory exemption rationale prepared by the OPIs and / or the ATIP Office?

YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

Combination of both



YesNo
X 

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

Same as 6.5

B. DEEMED-REFUSAL REQUESTS

Part I: Requests carried over from the 2006-2007 fiscal period.
1.Number of requests carried over:264
2.Requests carried over from the previous fiscal period — in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal period:74
Part II: New Requests — Exclude requests included in Part I.
3.Number of requests received during the 2007-2008 fiscal period:736
4.AHow many were processed within the statutory 30-day time limit?174
4.BHow many were processed beyond the statutory 30-day time limitwhere no extension was claimed?54
5.How many were extended pursuant to section 9?410
5.AHow many were extended pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(a)?357
5.BHow many were extended pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(b)?155
5.CHow many were extended pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(c)12
6.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5)65
6.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5)50
7.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5.A)92
7.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5.A)78
8.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5.B)21
8.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5.B)18
9.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5.C)3
9.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5.C)0
10As of March 31, 2008, how many requests were in a deemed-refusal situation?169


C. RESOURCE PROFILE

1. Employee Profile

Please list all ATIP Office employees, as of March 31, 2008.

Full-time PositionClassification# of positionsYears of Experience
Director (100% Acting)EX-01125
Deputy Director (100% occupied, 50% of which are acting)PM-06210-19
Team Leader (40% occupied)PM-0555-25
Senior ATIP Analyst (66% occupied)PM-04152-16
ATIP Analyst (25% occupied, staffing action since completed)PM-0342
Junior ATIP Analyst (83% occupied, staffing action to start shortly)PM-0261-2
Manager (100% occupied)AS-0514
ATIP Systems Administrator (Vacant, recruitment under way)AS-031N/A
Administrative Assistant(100% Acting)AS-0214
ATIP Systems Analyst (33% occupied, staffing action wrapping up)AS-0131
ATIP Clerk (100% occupied by temporary and casual workers, staffing action to start shortly)CR-0430-1
Consultants Hired to process ATI requestsClassification  
6 Consultants were hired to process requests within the ATIP Office.   
1 Consultant was hired by the ATIP Office to help an overloaded OPI.   

2. Salary Dollar Budget for ATIP Office for ATIA activities

Fiscal YearBudget AllocatedBudget UsedFTEs AllocatedFTEs Used
2007-2008$ 1.5M$ 1.2M3021.9
2006-2007$$ 751K2011.25
2005-2006$$ 815K1313.5

3. Operating Budget for ATIP Office for ATIA activities

Fiscal YearBudget AllocatedBudget Used
2007/2008$300K$ 1.46M
2006/2007$$ 954K
2005/2006$$ 907K

4. Breakdown of ATIP Office Operating Budget Used or Set Aside for ATI Training or Training Materials

Fiscal YearATI Staff TrainingDepartmental ATI Training
2007/2008integratedintegrated
2006/2007integratedintegrated
2005/2006integratedintegrated

5. Breakdown of ATIP Office Operating Budget Used or Set Aside for ATI Consultants

Fiscal YearBudget AllocatedBudget Used
2007/2008in Ops budget$ 1.2M
2006/2007in Ops budget$
2005/2006in Ops budget$ 600K

The amounts are included in the amounts stated in table 3.


D. LEADERSHIP FRAMEWORK

1. – Is the ATIP Coordinator responsible exclusively for the administration of the ATIP Office?

YesXNo 

2. – If No, please list other responsibilities of the ATIP Coordinator.


3. – When requests processing stages, other than those listed in section A.4 of this questionnaire, are in place, who has the designated authority to make decisions on the disclosure or refusal to disclose information under theAccess to Information Act(s. 73)?

There are no other stages than those listed in A.4. Full and sole delegation is granted to the Director of the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division.

E. SPECIFICS FOR 2007-2008

In this section, the institution is asked to provide details relating to the information provided in response to the questionnaire:  

1. – Please describe the most significant issues that affected your institution's ability to (i) respond to access to information requests as quickly as possible and/or (ii) provide requesters with as much of the information requested as possible.

  • Over the past 13 years, DFAIT has consistently experienced a greater annual increase of ATIP requests compared to OGDs.
  • DFAIT experienced a 14.2 % increase in ATI requests and a 36.6 % increase in consultations received over the previous period.
  • Processing of foreign consultations on behalf of other government departments consumes a lot of ATIP resources.
  • While the ATIP Division has a more robust capacity now, there are still insufficient permanent resources to respond to current and expected workload.
  • Lack of experienced resources available in the ATIP Community; therefore having to “grow our own” analysts which consumes a lot of our limited resources.

2. – For the issues identified in the response to Q. 1 above, were they foreseeable? Please explain.

To a certain extent, yes; however, difficult to address until more recently.


F. BEST PRACTICES

3. – Please describe any best practices developed / undertaken by your institution to improve your delivery of the access to information program. If possible, please indicate how successful these practices have been.

  • Increased the number of permanent resources
  • Staffing all vacancies within the ATIP Unit
  • Reduced the workload per ATIP analysts ratio, which in turn has improved our long-term retention of experienced staff
  • Introducing a Professional Development Program for ATIP Analysts to “grow our own”
  • Working on a business case to implement, within the ATIP Division, a permanent Policy & Training capacity to ensure that all ATIP Analysts receive the necessary in-depth training and tools to do their job
  • Implemented a structured ATIP awareness program for all department officials, including an on-line ATIP tutorial
  • Created an IM/IT/ATIP Working Group in order to develop additional measures to streamline the ATIP process within the Department such as:
    • Streamlining our tasking process
    • Developing, training and implementing an ATIP Liaison system throughout the department
    • Implementing a shared folder system to allow the instantaneous transmittal of electronic documents.
  • Review of our ATIP Procedures/guideline manual
  • Introduced a monthly ATIP performance report for senior departmental officials to improve OPI turnaround times.
  • Most of the initiatives listed in this section are still being implemented. Our current efforts are focused on the processing of requests and we have not yet conducted any comparative analysis of our productivity. That being said, a quick search indicates that the office productivity for the first quarter of the fiscal year has increased by 22% over the same period last year.

G. COMPLAINT PROFILE

Data supplied by the Office of the Information Commissioner on complaints made to its Office and the resolution of those complaints.

See the Individual Report Card.

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