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Questionnaires

Year


2007-2008

QUESTIONNAIRES

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

Completed Report Card Questionnaire

2007-2008

August 22, 2008


To the attention of:

Marcel Morin

Senior Policy Analyst / Analyste principal, Politiques

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada / Commissariat à l’information du Canada

112 Kent Street, 7thFloor / 112 rue Kent, 7e étage

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3 / Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 1H3

A. ACCESS TO INFORMATION REQUESTS PROCESS

1. Profile of Requester

Source Number of requests
Media 84
Academia 1
Business 65
Organization 132
Public 84
Other  
Total 366

2. Request Categorization

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

Yes X No  

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

Category Definition of Category Number of requests
2007-2008
Routine Temporary Help Call-up / Contract requests 34
Sensitive All other Access to Information requests 332

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

Coordinator level.

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

Only requests for temporary help call-ups and Access to Information requests that contain personal information are listed as routine.

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?

On average, last fiscal year, files were closed 88 days after they were received.

3.2 – Disclosure to Requester    
Number of requests received during the reporting period (April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008) 366
Number of requests completed during the reporting period (April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008) 343
Pages reviewed 70,982
Pages disclosed in total  
Pages disclosed in part 44, 428 pages disclosed in total or in part

Additional information provided to the OIC on September 11, 2008:

 Number of pages reviewed:

2005 - 2006:  59, 205 pages

2006 - 2007:  82, 683 pages.


3.3 – Disposition of Completed Requests for the Period Number of requests
All disclosed 59
Disclosed in part 200
1-20% 21-40% 41-60% 61-80% 81-99%
      58.3 %  
Nothing disclosed (excluded) 12
Nothing disclosed (exempt) 2
No relevant record exists 43
Transferred 0
Unable to process  
Abandoned by requester 27
Treated informally  
Total completed 343
Carried forward 76

3.4 – Transfers Profile  
Transferred within 15 days 0
Transferred after 15 days 0
Total transferred 0
Transfers refused No requests were transferred

3.5 – Consultations    
Received:  
Number of consultations received 122
Number of pages to review 4070
(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)  
(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)  
(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)  
For completed requests only, average time spent to review pages received for all consultations 17 days
Sent:  
Number of consultations sent 505 consultations sent for all files received in FY 2007/2008.
Number of pages sent for review 56,089
Number of consultations sent to PCO Legislation and House Planning related to Cabinet confidences (s. 69) 83
Number of consultations sent to any institutions related to International affairs, defence and national security (s. 15) DFAIT = 46 DND = 2 CSIS = 3 51
Number of consultations sent to any institution related to law enforcement and penal institutions (s. 16) RCMP = 4
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to all consultations sent In FY 2007/2008 a total of 336 consultations were sent for files that are completed. The average time to receive a response was 42.80 days.
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to consultations sent in relation to Cabinet confidences (s. 69) 116 days.
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to consultations sent in relation to defence and national security (s. 15) 115.28 days. NB: Of our 343 completed requests, we consulted DFAIT 46 times in FY 2007/2008. We only received responses on 36 of those files, therefore 10 responses are still outstanding.
For completed requests only, average time to receive responses to consultations sent in relation to law enforcement and penal institutions (s. 16) 19 days.

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)?

179/366 = 48.9%.



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?

Yes   No X

 A formal process document exists however, no protocol or policy instrument has been created (or required).

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

Yes X No  

Consultations are processed based on the due date provided by the institution.

4. Time to Process Requests

* please note, not all stages are completed consecutively – many of the approval stages are completed at the same time. The average actual days for completion reflects an accurate number – it is not simply an addition of the actual average days for each stage in the process.

4.1 Processing Model - Stages
Days Allocated Average Actual Days
Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) intake 1 0.12
OPI search 7 Days 5.2
Records review Under Review 4.84
Records preparation Under Review 6.20
Legal Under Review 0
Communications Under Review 3.07
Approval or otherwise – ATIP Under Review 4.60
Approval or otherwise – OPI Under Review 6.13
Approval or otherwise – DMO Under Review 0.89
Approval or otherwise - MO Under Review 2.80
ATIP release Depends on the file 25.88

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.
 

Stage name Days allocated Average 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.

No other review process exists.

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.

Not applicable.

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

Not applicable.

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  

Not applicable.

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.

The extent of notations made to justify extensions on ATI requests will vary by analyst. As a rule, our office will invoke a s. 9 extension when the files involve documents that originate from, or are of interest to either: other government departments (OGDs at the federal, provincial or municipal levels), 3rd Parties (i.e., Corporations, NGOs, Academic Organizations, members of the public, Legal Firms, etc.) Length of extension is based on volumes of documents, number of organizations required for consultation and who the organizations are. For example, a consultation to PCO – Legal or DFAIT warrants a longer extension.



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   Sometimes X Rarely   Never  

b) Of an expected date for the final response

Always   Almost always   Sometimes X Rarely   Never  

c) Of the right to complain to the Information Commissioner

Always   Almost always   Sometimes X Rarely   Never  

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


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
0 0 0 0 0 0
For volume (search “through” large number of records) 0 0 0 0 0 0

  2006-2007
Number of days
 For volume (search “for” large number of records)
< 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
0 0 0 0 0 0
For volume (search “through” large number of records) 0 0 0 0 0 0



  2007-2008
Number of days
 For volume (search “for” large number of records)
< 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
0 1 0 0 0 0
For volume (search “through” large number of records) 0 0 0 0 0 0



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.

Length of extension is based on either extensive search time or extensive review time (if there are substantial numbers of records).

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.

 We rarely invoke the s. 9(1)(a) volume extension. In fact, only 1 extension under s. 9(1)(a) was taken in FY 2007/2008. With only one instance of an extension under 9(1)(a) in the last three years, there has not been enough examples to warrant a policy or procedure.

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

  2005-2006
Number of days
  < 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
For consultation with another federal institution 0 29 33 3 0 0
For consultation with foreign government See Note
For consultation with domestic government 0 6 7 0 0 0
For consultation with aboriginal government
For consultation with individual
See Note
For consultation for section 69 0 0 21 2 0 0

  2006-2007
Number of days
  < 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
For consultation with another federal institution 0 43 49 12 4 0
For consultation with foreign government See Note
For consultation with domestic government 0 3 8 1 0 0
For consultation with aboriginal government
For consultation with individual
See Note
For consultation for section 69 0 23 28 8 2 0



  2007-2008
Number of days
  < 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
For consultation with another federal institution 0 32 50 12 0 0
For consultation with foreign government See Note
For consultation with domestic government 0 3 10 3 0 0
For consultation with aboriginal government
For consultation with individual
See Note
For consultation for section 69 0 11 50 7 1 0

Consults with foreign governments were counted under ‘other federal departments’ because we consult via DFAIT. Consults with individuals/aboriginal governments were counted under the 9(1)(c) extension because we consider them 3rd parties.

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

Always X Almost always   Sometimes   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.

Number of documents, level of complexity, # of departments/organizations involved and who the organizations are (eg. PCO or DFAIT).



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.

Longer extensions are applied to files where we are required to consult with DFAIT or PCO-Legal, due to their lengthy response time.

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.

NRCan automatically issues email or telephone reminders at 25 and 40 days. If no response is received after 40 days, we continue to process the file and send a notice to the organization detailing the exemptions that we intend to apply based on our own assessment of the document. The organization is offered the chance to respond and refute. The Coordinator may decide to perform a partial release of records (Interim Response) to the applicant while we are waiting for the outstanding recommendations.

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



  2005-2006
Number of requests where third party was consulted 68
Length of extension taken
< 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
0 15 13 7 0 0
Average length of time to receive representations from third parties 28.3
Average length of time to make a decision after receipt of response / representations from third parties 14.8
Number of notices under section 27 233
Number of notices for which section 27 time frame was not met BLANK
Number of requests for which paragraph 28(1)(b) time frame was not met 0



  2006-2007
Number of requests where third party was consulted 61
Length of extension taken
< 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
0 15 36 10 0 0
Average length of time to receive representations from third parties 48.3
Average length of time to make a decision after receipt of response / representations from third parties 58.5
Number of notices under section 27 135
Number of notices for which section 27 time frame was not met BLANK
Number of requests for which paragraph 28(1)(b) time frame was not met 0

  2007-2008
Number of requests where third party consulted 88
Length of extension taken
< 30 30-90 91-120 121-150 151-180 >180
0 11 48 10 1 1
Average length of time to receive representations from third parties 38.15
Average length of time to make a decision after receipt of response / representations from third parties 28.8
Number of notices under section 27 218
Number of notices for which section 27 time frame was not met BLANK
Number of requests for which paragraph 28(1)(b) time frame was not met 0



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 X Almost always   Sometimes   Rarely   Never  

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


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

Always X Almost 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 always X Sometimes   Rarely   Never  

This is dependant on the 3rd party (i.e., the amount of time the 3rd party takes to respond to our consultation notice. Due to the nature of our business, some third party organizations are located remotely and correspondence by mail is challenging.

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.

Reminders after 30 days, final notice at 60 days. In the event no response is received, NRCan continues to process the documents and notifies the third party of the exemptions that we recommend, offering them a chance to refute our approach.

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   Sometimes   Rarely X Never  

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



6. Claims for discretionary exemptions

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

Yes No
  X

Please provide any relevant information for this question.

While rationale may be noted for some information, it is not documented for all discretionary exemptions. Documenting each discretionary exemption would not be feasible on every file. In the event of a complaint, the analyst documents the exemptions in preparation of defending to the OIC investigator.

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

Yes No
X  

Please provide any relevant information for this question.


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

Yes No
  X

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.


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

Yes No
   

Depends

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

 This depends on who has recommended the exemption. In the event that the OPI has recommended an exemption, they provide rationale (or a defense) of the exemption so that the analyst can be sure the legislation is applied correctly.

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

Yes No
  X

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

There is no documented process however, challenging the application of exemptions is done regularly by the ATIP office. OPIs are asked to explain their request for exemption in terms of an injury test (where applicable) providing details about specific, probable and near term injury to be placed on the file. This is commonly done via email and printed and placed on the print file.

7. Claims for mandatory exemptions 

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

Yes No
  X

Please provide any relevant information for this question.


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

Yes No
X  

Please provide any relevant information for this question.


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

Yes No
  X

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.


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

Yes No
  X

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.




Yes No
  X

Please provide any relevant information and documentation for this question.

 

B. DEEMED-REFUSAL REQUESTS

Part I: Requests carried over from the 2006-2007 fiscal period.
1.Number of requests carried over:53
2.Requests carried over from the previous fiscal period — in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal period:4
Part II: New Requests — Exclude requests included in Part I.
3.Number of requests received during the 2007-2008 fiscal period:366
4.AHow many were processed within the statutory 30-day time limit?163
4.BHow many were processed beyond the statutory 30-day time limitwhere no extension was claimed?8
5.How many were extended pursuant to section 9?183
5.AHow many were extended pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(a)?1
5.BHow many were extended pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(b)?164
5.CHow many were extended pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(c)?42
6.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5)103
6.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5)16
7.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5.A)1 file was converted to informal treatment
7.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5.A)0
8.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5.B)140
8.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5.B)24
9.AHow many were processed within the extended time limit? (re Row 5.C)25
9.BHow many exceeded the extended time limit? (re Row 5.C)17
10As of March 31, 2008, how many requests were in a deemed-refusal situation?17


C. RESOURCE PROFILE

1. Employee Profile

Please list all ATIP Office employees. THIS IS A CURRENT LIST, NOT SIMPLY LISTED FROM LAST FISCAL YEAR.

Full-time PositionClassificationNumberYears of Experience
 A/PM6115
 PM5110
 PM415
 PM414
 PM411
    
Consultants Hired to process ATI requestsClassification  
ConsultantPM5 equivalent 12
    

2. Salary Dollar Budget for ATIP Office for ATIA activities

Fiscal YearBudget AllocatedBudget UsedFTEs AllocatedFTEs Used
2007/2008$375,000$375,0005.55.5
2006/2007$362,250$362,2505.55.5
2005/2006$332,000$332,0004.254.25

3. Operating Budget for ATIP Office for ATIA activities

Fiscal YearBudget AllocatedBudget Used
2007/2008$55,000$55,000
2006/2007$49,512$49,512
2005/2006$46,000$46,000

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

Fiscal YearATI Staff TrainingDepartmental ATI Training
2007/2008$ 9000$ 1000
2006/2007$ 6000$ 1000
2005/2006$ 6000$ 1000

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

Fiscal YearBudget AllocatedBudget Used
2007/2008$ 49,000$ 39759
2006/2007$ 20,000$ 46146
2005/2006$ 30,000$ 40203


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)?

The assessment of fees and application of extensions is delegated solely to the Coordinator. For the application of exemptions, the Coordinator has full delegated authority and each ADM has sectoral delegation of authority.

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.

Last fiscal year, NRCan achieved an acceptable compliance ratio however, some significant issues affected our ability to be even more successful. During the final quarter of the 2007-2008 fiscal year, NRCan experienced a surge in requests for information as the department responsible for a high profile, strategic initiative. In addition, two senior staff members departed and replacementes have been challenging to locate due to a tight labour market in this field.

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

Unfortunately, the strategic issue was not foreseeable by the department and despite adequate succession planning, addressing the volumes of requests while losing the Coordinator was not ideal.


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.

  • Communicate openly with applicants at each stage of processing;
  • Ensure the analyst is completely clear about what the applicant is looking for;
  • Encourage applicants towards a reasonable scope for their requests;
  • Piggy back requests where large volumes of requesters are looking for very similar information;
  • Provide lists of closed requests informally to applicants (when they ask);
  • Encourage docket listings (or email snapshots) for requests that are too large to retrieve information in five hours;
  • Encourage the provision of documents electronically or by CD;
  • Create silos of analysts (with succession planning) so that analysts become experts in specific aspects of the department;
  • Engage central agencies early in the process of a file for direction, if required;
  • Work directly with records offices (in addition to OPIs) to ensure a thorough search for records;
  • Support collaborative information technologies (such as the NRCan Resource wiki) to ensure any non-classified information is easily identifiable and retrievable

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 Individual Report Card.