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Canadian Security Intelligence Service 

Part A: Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year (2007-2008)
1. Number of requests carried over: 37
2. Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year— in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal year 9
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 150
4.A How many were completed within the statutory 30-day time limit? 63
4.B How many were completed beyond the statutory 30-day time limit where no extension was claimed ? 9
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: 7
  31-60 days: 0
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 2
5. How many were extended pursuant to section 9? 65
6.A How many were completed within the extended time limit? 18
6.B How many exceeded the extended time limit? 13
6.C How long after the expiry of the extended deadline did it take to respond?  
  1-30 days: 14
  31-60 days: 8
  61-90 days: 3
  Over 91 days: 9
7. Number of requests carried over in 2009-2010? 47
8. As of April 1 st , 2009, how many requests are in a deemed-refusal situation? 8
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:
  • Requests for large volume of records
  • Approval process of access requests
  • Difficulties to retrieve records (OPIs turnaround time)
  • Staff shortages
  • Requests filed in bulk
  • Consultations with other institutions
  • Others

182 consultations were received from other institutions. In addition to the material reviewed for Service requests, the ATIP unit reviewed over 24,000 pages to comply with these consultations. The resources required to carry out these consultations were significant. This volume is one of the contributing factors to our inability to process our own requests in a timelier manner.  

The types of documents targeted by requesters involve considerable in-house consultations with subject matter experts. In addition, many of the records contained significant amounts of information provided by external stakeholders requiring additional external consultations. The consultation process is not only labour intensive; it often leaves us at the mercy of other organizations that are already juggling their own priorities. In a number of instances, the time required to conduct these external consultations (and obtain a response from these departments) was the reason why the deadlines were not met.  

In their quest for information, members of the media have entered into the practice of bulk filing their requests. This relatively new practice has had a direct impact on our ability to meet legislated deadlines.  

Inexperienced personnel were also a major contributing factor. Over the last few years and in 2008-2009 in particular, the ATIP section incurred a substantial staff turnover and a number of positions were vacant during the period under review.   Employees on full time language training and employees on leave for extended periods have also had a detrimental effect on our ability to meet more legislated deadlines.   In many instances, the time extensions to complete the requests were underestimated and some deadlines were not met by a few days only.

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
  • Streamlined approval process
  • Partial release of records
  • Fast track process for common requests
  • Others

The ATIP environment in which we operate has drastically changed over the last few years. In order to meet the new challenges that we face, the Service has implemented a “proactive processing” regime to deal with records that are requested on a regular basis by various requesters. It is anticipated that this measure will shorten the waiting period as the documents should already have been processed on reception of the request. One full time senior reviewer is assigned to this project.  

Partial disclosures of documents for requests involving time extensions for large amounts of records are made as documents become available for release.  

The Service does not categorize requests. All requests are processed in similar fashion.   The Service endeavours to develop and maintain good relationships with its requesters. The Coordinator and team supervisors engage their clients by calling when requests are not clear and attempts are made to help tailor the requests to search for and process records of interest.  

Considerable time and effort were devoted to the staffing of all ATIP positions. We expect to be fully staffed by January 2010.   Further to the corrective measures described above and the close monitoring of requests, the “deemed refusal” rate for the current fiscal year 2009-2010 is being reduced. As of August 18, 2009, the “deemed refusal” rate was under 10%.

Part D: Completion Time
11. What is the average completion time for all requests completed in 2008-2009?
  The average completion time for the 140 requests that were completed in the last fiscal year is 86 days.
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.