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Report Cards


Year


Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Status report on access requests in a deemed-refusal situation

1.

Background

Every department reviewed has been assessed against the following grading standard:

% of Deemed Refusals

Comment

Grade

0-5%

Ideal compliance

A

5-10%

Substantial compliance

B

10-15%

Borderline compliance

C

15-20%

Below standard compliance

D

More than 20%

Red alert

F

This report reviews Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) progress to attain ideal compliance with the time requirements of the Access to Information Act, since the previous report. Report Card statistics for AAFC also include data on the Canadian Dairy Commission, the Canadian Grain Commission and the National Farm Products Council. In addition, this report contains information on the status of the recommendations made in the Status Report of 2006.

2. COMPLIANCE HISTORY

The Office of the Information Commissioner has conducted Report Cards and status reviews on AAFC on two occasions.

The department has never come into ideal compliance during the period of our previous reviews. Therefore, AAFC was not meeting its obligations under the Access to Information Act to respond to access requests in a timely manner.

In fiscal year 2003-2004, the department received 219 new access requests. Of the completed requests received in 2003-2004, 19 were completed in a deemed-refusal situation, while a further 13 were carried over to the next fiscal year in a deemed-refusal situation. The deemed-refusal ratio, including access requests carried over at the start of 2003-2004, was 17%, resulting in a "D".

For the first nine months of 2004-2005, the department received 119 new access requests. By December 31, 2004, for access requests received in the first nine months, nine access requests were completed in a deemed-refusal situation, with a further 10 access requests uncompleted but in a deemed-refusal situation. The deemed-refusal ratio, including access requests carried over at the start of 2004-2005, was 22%, resulting in an "F".

For the full 2004-2005 fiscal year, AAFC received a grade of "F", with a 22.8% request to deemed-refusal ratio.

In the first eight months of 2005-2006, the department received only 95 access requests, assisting it to eliminate some of the backlog. The deemed-refusal ratio was 38.7%, a grade of "F".

3. CURRENT STATUS

For the current period, the deemed-refusal ratio, including access requests carried over, is 3.8%, a grade of "A". This is a significant improvement.

As mentioned in last year’s report, the new ATIP Coordinator reorganized the office and seven new ATIP employees have been hired, for a total of 13. As expected, it significantly improved delays in the processing of access requests. Furthermore, the ATIP process was reviewed and new policies developed.

The ATIP Coordinator believes three major reasons impacted the improvement, namely, the implementation of the OIC recommendations, Senior Management involvement, and streamlining of the approval process. The department deserves a special mention for its accomplishments.

4.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Because of the factors described in this report, AAFC was able to obtain ideal compliance with the time requirements of the Access to Information Act.

Recommendation #1

That the Deputy Minister take responsibility to ensure that the ATIP Office implement all of our recommendation in the Report Cards and status reviews to ensure that the department attains and maintains ideal compliance without further delay.

Recommendation #2

That Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provide proper training to its employees working with ATIPflow.

5.STATUS OF 2006 RECOMMENDATIONS

Previous Recommendation #1

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada should come into ideal compliance with the Act’s deadlines no later than March 31, 2007.

Action Taken

: This was achieved.

6. Questionnaire and Statistical Report

 

Questionnaire for Statistical Analysis Purposes in relation to official requests

made under the Access to Information Act

Part A: Requests carried over from the prior fiscal period.

Apr. 1/05 to

Mar. 31/06

Apr. 1/06 to

Nov. 30/06

1.

Number of requests carried over:

18

22

2.

Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal year:

10

6

Part B: New Requests - Exclude requests included in Part A.

Apr. 1/05 to

Mar. 31/06

Apr. 1/06 to

Nov. 30/06

3.

Number of requests received during the fiscal period:

148

134

4.A

How many were processedwithin the 30-day statutory time limit?

91

98

4.B

How many were processed beyond the 30-day statutory time limit where no extension was claimed?

23

0

4.C

How long after the statutory time limit did it take to respond where no extension was claimed?

1-30 days:

9

0

31-60 days:

4

0

61-90 days:

1

0

Over 91 days:

9

0

5.

How many were extended pursuant to section 9?

27

29

6.A

How many were processedwithin the extended time limit?

6

9

6.B

How many exceeded the extended time limit?

8

0

6.C

How long after the expiry of the extended deadline did it take to respond?

1-30 days:

3

0

31-60 days:

1

0

61-90 days:

3

0

Over 91 days:

1

0

7.

As of November 30, 2006, how many requests are in a deemed-refusal situation?

0

   

 

 

EXCERPT FROM DEPUTY MINISTER’S RESPONSE TO STATUS REPORT

"Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is very proud of its accomplishment in achieving an "A" grade for this period of review. Every effort will be made to maintain our current grade and we look forward to reporting this achievement in the 2006-2007 Annual Report to Parliament."

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