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Report Cards


Year


Industry 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

Industry Canada (IC) was selected in 2004 for review. The department had been one of a number of institutions subject to review because of evidence of chronic difficulty in meeting response deadlines. When the Office of the Information Commissioner receives a high number of deemed-refusal complaints about a department, it may be symptomatic of a greater response deadline problem within the department.

This report reviews the department’s progress to attain ideal compliance with the time requirements of the Access to Information Act, since the department was issued its first report card in 2004. 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 IC on three occasions. The department has never come into ideal compliance during the period of our reviews. Therefore, IC has not been able to meet its obligations under the Access to Information Act to respond to access requests in a timely manner.

In the Report Card of January 2004, it was reported that IC’s performance was unacceptable after the department obtained a grade of "F", for the period April 1 to November 30, 2003. The new requests to deemed-refusal ratio stood at 25%.

In the 2005 Report Card, the department received a substantial compliance alert grade of "D", with a 16.1% request to deemed-refusal ratio for requests received from April 1 to November 30, 2004. This was the first year where requests carried over from the previous year, and the number of requests already in a deemed-refusal status on April 1, were taken into consideration.

For the full 2004-2005 fiscal year, IC received a grade of "C", with a 14.2% request to deemed-refusal ratio.

In the 2005-2006 Report Card, covering the period of April 1 to November 30, 2005, IC’s performance improved as the department’s request to deemed-refusal ratio was 5.9%, a grade of "B".

3. Current Status

For this reporting period, from April 1 to November 30, 2006, the department maintained a grade of "B", with a slightly higher deemed-refusal ratio of 8.1%.

During the reporting period, IC received 249 requests. This is 46 more than the previous year. Complexity and sensitivity of the requests were also factors in the time taken to process requests.

A critical component of the administration of the Access to Information Act is the leadership role of Senior Management in a department. Senior Management exercises leadership by identifying access to information as a departmental priority and then acting upon this by providing the appropriate resources, technology, and policies.

IC Senior Management has well understood this principle and has transmitted a clear message to its employees. Senior Management has become more proactive in raising awareness of ATI within the department. As a result of this, a cultural change can be seen across the department. Finally, information and training sessions have been delivered to employees. Increased awareness of departmental officials has helped to improve compliance.

4. RECOMMENDATIONS

Because of the factors described in this report, IC was not able to achieve 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 recommendations in the Report Cards and status reviews to ensure that the department attains and maintains ideal compliance without further delay.

Recommendation #2

That the ATIP Office develop an ATI business case to determine resources needed to process access requests.

The department failed to complete the ATI business case. Accordingly, the same recommendation will be maintained this year.

 

Recommendation #3

That IC devote the resources and the effort necessary to meet the time requirements of the Access to information Act.

Once the ATI business case is completed, the department should conduct a staffing/funding review of the ATIP Office with a view to increasing resources as required.

5. STATUS OF 2006 RECOMMENDATIONS

The following recommendations were made to support IC’s continuing efforts to process requests within the time requirements of the Access to Information Act:

Many positive measures have been put into place to improve IC’s compliance with the time requirements of the Access to Information Act.Continued attention to timelines, however, is needed to attain ideal compliance.

Previous Recommendation #1

The ATIP Office should develop an ATI business case to determine resources needed to process access requests.

Action Taken

: This is ongoing. The department hired a consultant to analyze the processing of access requests before addressing the ATIP business case. The same recommendation will be maintained this year.

Previous Recommendation #2

That IC attain ideal compliance and a grade of "A" by March 31, 2007.

Action Taken:

As described above, IC failed to meet ideal compliance. This is addressed at Recommendation #1 in this year’s report.

 

 

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:

51

73

2.

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

5

17

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:

318

249

4.A

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

169

128

4.B

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

4

5

4.C

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

1-30 days:

4

4

31-60 days:

0

0

61-90 days:

0

1

Over 91 days:

0

0

5.

How many were extended pursuant to section 9?

133

91

6.A

How many were processedwithin the extended time limit?

70

55

6.B

How many exceeded the extended time limit?

7

2

6.C

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

1-30 days:

0

1

31-60 days:

1

0

61-90 days:

3

1

Over 91 days:

3

0

7.

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

2

 

EXCERPT FROM DEPUTY MINISTER’S RESPONSE TO STATUS REPORT

The department did not provide any comments.