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Follow-ups and system monitoring
Next year will see us follow up on our report cards process in several ways.
First, we will monitor the progress of the 10 institutions surveyed this year. We will follow up with the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Canada School of Public Service as they implement the measures they committed to carrying out in response to the recommendations in our special report to Parliament.
We will also launch our first three-year plan for performance reviews. This plan will be widely advertised, giving selected institutions advance notice of the type and scope of information we will be seeking. By doing so, we hope to encourage proactive compliance.
Second, we will continue our consultations with stakeholders on proposed new categories for classifying the results of our investigations.
Third, we are planning to conduct a formal systemic investigation that will focus on time extensions. We want to further examine the use, root causes and impact of extensions, and work with institutions to propose solutions.
We will also be monitoring the access to information system to identify and examine emerging systemic issues. For example, we will be looking more closely at preparation fees, which federal institutions may charge for the time they take to prepare records for disclosure. Before the advent of electronic case management systems, access to information officers used to perform this task by blocking every occurrence of excluded or exempted information using “cut and paste” operations. Now, most institutions prepare records for disclosure while reviewing the record, a function for which fees cannot be charged. Therefore, the rationale for charging preparation fees is no longer so obvious and we are concerned that this practice could be a means to limit disclosure of information.