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Human Resources and Skills Development Canada 

Part A: Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year (2007-2008)
1. Number of requests carried over: 124
2. Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year— in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal year 27
Part B: New Requests received in fiscal year 2008-2009— Exclude requests included in Part A
3. Number of requests received during the fiscal period 350
4.A How many were completed within the statutory 30-day time limit? 175
4.B How many were completed beyond the statutory 30-day time limit where no extension was claimed ? 13
4.C How long after the expiry of the statutory 30-day time limit did it take to complete the request where no extension was claimed ?  
  1-30 days: 13
  31-60 days: 0
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 0
5. How many were extended pursuant to section 9? 103
6.A How many were completed within the extended time limit? 33
6.B How many exceeded the extended time limit? 6
6.C How long after the expiry of the extended deadline did it take to respond?  
  1-30 days: 4
  31-60 days: 2
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 0
7. Number of requests carried over in 2009-2010? 58
8. As of April 1 st , 2009, how many requests are in a deemed-refusal situation? 2
Part C: Contributing Factors
9. Please describe the most significant issues that affected your institution’s ability to respond to access to information requests in a timely manner (within 30 days and/or statutory timelines). These may include: Æ Requests for large volume of records Æ Approval process of access requests Æ Difficulties to retrieve records (OPIs turnaround time) Æ Staff shortages Æ Requests filed in bulk Æ Consultations with other institutions Æ Others

The 2008-2009 fiscal year was not typical, as this year was one of transition for HRSDC’s ATIP Division. On July 14, 2008, the Department’s two offices (HRSD and Service Canada) charged with the administration of access to information and privacy legislation were integrated. In addition to this merger, the fiscal year also saw significant changes in the management team and a high turnover of employees.   As well as the fact that this was a transition year, the following two factors affected HRSDC’s ability to respond to requests in a timely manner:

  • Consultations with other departments: Consultations were required on 103 requests, or approximately a third of requests completed.
  • Requests for large volume of records: The average number of pages to review per request is 150 pages. However, during 2008-2009, HRSDC has responded to 28 requests for over 500 pages.

One of the Department’s major efforts following the merger was to reduce the number of privacy requests that were in backlog status. By December of 2008, HRSDC had successfully reduced the backlog by 90%. Because officers process both access to information and privacy requests, reducing this backlog of privacy requests had an impact on HRSDC’s response times to access to information requests.


Please describe any practices or policies developed/undertaken by your institution to improve the timely delivery of your access to information program and where possible, indicate how successful these practices/policies have been. These may include:

  • Informal treatment of requests
    • treamlined approval process
      • Partial release of records
        • Fast track process for common requests Others

As mentioned above, the two units responsible for the ATIP functions integrated in 2008-2009. While the merger seems to have had a negative impact on timeliness initially, in the medium to long term, it is expected that it will contribute to helping HRSDC improve its performance beyond “average” performance in the years to come. Some of the main purposes of bringing the 2 offices together included:

    • to make more efficient use of the pool of talent and to create a critical mass better able to meet the ATIP needs of the Department;
    • to maximize knowledge transfer from experienced officers to newer staff, leading to growing strong expertise in-house; and
    • to rethink work processes and operational policy that were in place.
    • Following the integration, some internal processes were revisited in order to bring both teams together and to support the harmonization of policies and procedures. For example, the internally established timeframes for processing requests was adjusted slightly to ensure that all parties had sufficient time to respond to requests. Also, the signing authority for certain functions has been elevated to the director and/or manager levels. In addition to the re-organization of the ATIP unit, the Department has the following long-standing practices, which are used in order to support the timely delivery of information:
    • Informal reviews: informal reviews are encouraged for follow-up requests, requests for records that are already available to the public, and for information that is to be posted on the internet (the ATIP unit vets the information on an informal basis). In 2008-2009, HRSDC reviewed records for at least 23 informal requests;
    • Partial release of records: When possible, HRSDC undertakes partial releases;
    • Fast track process for common requests: While HRSDC does not have a two-tiered approach for responding to requests, there are a few very limited exceptions to that rule:
    • Requests that are deemed personal in nature (for example, the requester insists on submitting the request under the ATI Act, while it should really be processed under the Privacy Act) usually do not require any time or effort in terms or briefing senior management and communications officials; and
    • At the time that the Offices of Primary Interest gather and submit the records to the ATIP Division, they are asked whether or not they would like to see the final package prior to its release. In most but not all cases, the OPI asks for final review.
    • Other: A key focus in the ATIP Division is the delivery of training courses. During the period in question, the ATIP Division has provided more than 80 training sessions to over 1,000 employees across the Department. The short timeframes associated with ATIP, as well as the importance of respecting timelines for access to information requests, are the primary focus of the sections dealing with access to information requests.
    • In addition to the long-standing practices described above, the following measures are currently being implemented to improve the Department’s performance:
    • In June 2009, HRSDC moved from the ATIPflow and ATIPimage Advanced computer programs to the next generation ATIP software, namely AccessPro Case Management and AccessPro Redaction. While staff are still adapting to the new system, it is expected that this will make the processing of requests more efficient.
    • A protocol has been established and is being sent from HRSDC’s Corporate Secretary to senior executives (ADMs and Regional Executive Heads). The protocol outlines the OPI’s roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis access to information requests.
    • A quarterly performance report, which details the time taken by all parties involved in processing requests and administering the Act, is being reinstated in October 2009. The report will be shared with HRSDC’s senior management team.
Part D: Completion Time
11. What is the average completion time for all requests completed in 2008-2009?
  61.2 days (attributable to extensions required on 103 requests)
Part E: Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act
12. Please attach your institution’s completed Report on the Access to Information (Form TBS/SCT 350-62) for the 2008-2009.