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Questionnaires

Year


Citizenship and Immigration Canada 

Part A: Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year (2007-2008)
1. Number of requests carried over: 1,192
2. Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year— in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal year 53
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 14,037 NB: CIC received 14,034 at the time of reporting on March 31, 2009. Three (3) requests that were received in March were indexed in 2009-2010 (instead of 2008-2009), and therefore not captured for the 2008-2009 reporting period.
4.A How many were completed within the statutory 30-day time limit? 11,080
4.B How many were completed beyond the statutory 30-day time limit where no extension was claimed ? 553
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: 412
  31-60 days: 67
  61-90 days: 40
  Over 91 days: 34
5. How many were extended pursuant to section 9? 930
6.A How many were completed within the extended time limit? 611
6.B How many exceeded the extended time limit? 83
6.C How long after the expiry of the extended deadline did it take to respond?  
  1-30 days: 47
  31-60 days: 19
  61-90 days: 11
  Over 91 days: 6
7. Number of requests carried over in 2009-2010? 1,610
8. As of April 1 st , 2009, how many requests are in a deemed-refusal situation? 32
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
 

Volumes

CIC is the most accessed federal institution, having received over 14,000 requests in 2008-2009. Volumes continue to increase – in 2008-2009, the department received over 20% more ATI requests than in 2007-2008, with no corresponding increase in resources. The number of pages reviewed has also increased substantially from just over 600,000 in 2007-2008 to 808,196 in 2008-2009. 

Difficulties retrieving records

At CIC most of the requested files come from missions overseas. Some of them are remote and/or because of budget restraints, diplomatic bags are relied on to send the documents to Canada. This often means that it can take weeks for documents to reach Canada. In order to manage our unique situation and respond to requests in a timely manner, we have identified a list of missions that encounter difficulties in providing the documents to us within the 30 day statutory deadline prescribed in the Act and take reasonable and justifiable extensions. Our practice in that regard was endorsed by the OIC in 2005, recognizing CIC’s unique situation. 

Staff shortages

Again, due to CIC’s high ATI volumes and the fact that records are coming from outside national headquarters, staff shortages are not only an issue for the ATIP Division but a challenge throughout the organization. There are areas (in particular in certain overseas missions) with limited resources and no specific funding for ATIP duties. To illustrate this, in 2008-2009 4,310 callouts for records were made to missions. Of those, the top five missions were: Chandigarh (731 callouts which represents 17%), Beijing (724 callouts which represents 16.8%), New Delhi (433 callouts which represents 10%), Hong Kong (364 callouts which represents 8.4%) and Buffalo (192 callouts which represents 4.5%). This represents a considerable volume of extra work for these missions in particular, as there are no dedicated resources for it. 

Requests filed in bulk

CIC has several bulk requestors that regularly file several (upwards of 50) requests all at the same time. Given the legislative deadline for responding, this practice puts a significant strain on the Division’s resources. Again, it also has an impact beyond the Division, as often the records have to be retrieved from overseas missions. 

Consultations with other institutions External consultations with other government departments and agencies are having an impact on our ability to meet legislative deadlines. This is particularly the case for mandatory consultations with, for example, PCO on section 69 and DFAIT on section 15. 

Others

In October 2008, multiculturalism became part of CIC’s portfolio. This resulted in an increase in volume for the Complex Cases and Issues Unit in terms of new requests, as well as inheriting nine files from Heritage Canada (representing almost 10,000 pages).

10.
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

Approval process

In 2005, CIC’s current system was developed after a review of the Department’s process which at that time revealed inefficiencies in the approval process which resulted in lengthy delays for certain requests. CIC’s current approach for sensitive and complex files (which represent 5% of the department’s total volume) involves giving a heads-up (not an approval process) of upcoming releases by email to those involved including only potential sensitivities. This process was further modified in 2008-2009 and Communications and the Minister’s Office are now provided with the disclosure package in a parallel process. 

Fast Track process

95% of CIC’s ATIs are requests for client related information (personal information). The ATIP division is divided into four units, one being the Fast Track Unit. Officers in this unit are at the PM-2 and PM-3 level with 2 senior reviewers that are responsible for the final signoff of the files. The PM-3’s have delegation to signoff on sections 13 and 19(1). This reduces the amount of files that need to go through the senior reviewers. To ensure that we process all of the files due on a given day, reports are printed on a daily basis to identify the requests that need to be reviewed, approved and mailed out. Due to its efficient process and monitoring activities, CIC met its legislative deadline 95% of the time in 2008-2009. 

Delegation

In 2005 and 2006, CIC made substantial changes to its Delegation of Authority for the Access to Information Act (ATIA) and Privacy Act to better enable the Department in meeting its legislative deadlines. These changes include greater delegation of authority at the PM03 and PM04 level; some increased delegation at the PM05 level; delegation of authority equal to the EX01 position for the PM06 position (which is full delegated authority for all exemptions under the Act). These additional delegations of authority are consistent with the level of experience of staff at those levels, and with the knowledge and decision-making abilities of staff who administer the ATIA. 

Director General Reporting

In an effort to improve compliance, raise knowledge and awareness, and engage senior management, several years ago ATIP Division instituted reporting for each Branch. These reports are generated and distributed monthly to Directors General across the department, indicating the number of call outs received and their performance in responding according to prescribed deadlines. The reports are then posted on the department’s internal website. 

Analysis of late files

ATIP Division conducts a monthly review and analysis of late files in an effort to specify causes for delay and to identify mitigation strategies to improve compliance. This practice was positively acknowledged in the Commissioner’s 2008-2009 Annual Report to Parliament. 

Training & Awareness

The Division provides training and awareness on ATIP throughout the department, including it as a mandatory component on CIC’s Middle Manager’s Learning Plan.

Part D: Completion Time
11. What is the average completion time for all requests completed in 2008-2009?
  The majority of requests (63% or 8,579) were responded to in 30 days or less. 4,175 (30.7%) requests were closed within 31-60 days. Thus, the average completion time for all requests completed in 2008-2009 is between 30-40 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.