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Report Cards


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Institutions assessed in 2007–2008 and reassessed in 2008–2009

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) enforces throughout Canada laws made by or under the authority of Parliament, with the exception of the Criminal Code, the enforcement of which is delegated to the provinces. The RCMP provides police services in all provinces (except Ontario and Quebec) and territories, and in 180 municipalities.

2008–2009 report card at a glance

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C

  • Deemed refusal rate was 18.3 percent. This rate has decreased steadily each year since 2005.
  • Average completion time was 38 days.
  • Officials from the RCMP reported that the access to information office has yet to reach its full potential for compliance.
  • The RCMP submitted the required notices to the Office of the Information Commissioner for extensions of more than 30 days 49 percent of the time.
  • The RCMP received 21 percent more requests in 2008–2009 than in 2007–2008. Despite this, the RCMP kept its backlog from increasing.
  • The access to information office introduced a new triage unit. This meant that the policy unit could take over responsibility for answering large number of informal queries relating to access to information matters (mostly from serving members) and for delivering access awareness sessions across the institution.
  • Low staff turnover led to an optimal workload at any one time of between 6 and 10 files per analyst.
  • A new procedure facilitates 48-hour turnaround time for records retrieval.

Some facts about access to information operations at RCMP in 2008–2009

Number of requests carried over from 2007–2008
256
Number of new requests
2,008
Number of requests completed
1,976
Deemed refusal rate
18.3%*
Average time to complete a request (in days)
38
Number of consultation requests
531
Number of complaints registered with the Office of the Information Commissioner
105
Number of complaints the Office of the Information Commissioner resolved
15**
Number of full-time equivalents in access to information office, as of March 31, 2009
19.05
 

* Percentage of carried over and new requests delayed beyond the deadlines (30 days and extended) set out in the Access to Information Act. (See Appendix B for the formula the Office of the Information Commissioner used to calculate this rate.)

** A complaint is resolved when the Office of the Information Commissioner finds it has merit, and the institution resolves it to the Commissioner’s satisfaction.


Follow-up on 2007–2008 report card

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) continued to improve its compliance with the Access to Information Act in 2007–2008, although with a deemed refusal rate of 49.5 percent, it was still far from being fully compliant. As part of ongoing efforts to improve compliance, the RCMP’s access to information office completed staffing actions for 13 full-time equivalents at the end of the fiscal year and made a concerted effort to train officers in detachments and offices across the country, in order to shorten response times. Challenges remain, however, since the institution’s records are held in nearly 900 locations, many of which are small detachments, which must focus their time and energy on law enforcement as well as compliance with the Access to Information Act. Access to information officials committed to working with these offices to facilitate prompt records retrieval. They also committed to making process improvements, including tracking the length of the time extensions taken under the Act and promoting the practice of releasing records informally to shorten response times. Since the RCMP’s deemed refusal rate was 79 percent in 2005 (its first year being subject to the report card process) and the institution has subsequently made steady progress lowering it, the Office of the Information Commis­sioner (OIC) watched its progress with interest in 2008–2009, in the hope that it continued. The OIC is satisfied with the RCMP’s response to the recommendations in the 2007–2008 report card.

2008–2009 report card

The RCMP is moving in the right direction on most access to information fronts. The institution brought its deemed refusal rate down to 18.3 percent. Moreover, access to information officials reported that the institution had yet to reach its full potential for compliance.

The RCMP received 21 percent more access requests in 2008–2009 than it did the previous year, while continuing to tackle its backlog. The OIC notes that the RCMP was successful in processing these requests without allowing the backlog to increase significantly: it was nearly identical in size at the beginning and the end of the year.

The RCMP approved a new business case in 2003 to expand the access to information office. Staffing of the new positions was completed in 2007 and 2008. With these new staff on board, the RCMP was able to create a triage unit to deal more effectively with complex requests and the increasing volume of formal requests. The access to information policy unit was subsequently better able to handle informal requests for information, since analysts could concentrate on reviewing records. It was further possible to offer access awareness training across the RCMP. The augmented workforce, and the fact that there was practically no staff turnover, also allowed for an ideal caseload of 6 to 10 files per analyst at any one time.

The RCMP has developed a new process to ensure prompt records retrieval: the detachment commander and/or records manager are responsible for responding to requests for records within 48 hours, regardless of staff availability.

With its deemed refusal rate on a solid downward track, the RCMP is clearly doing something right. The OIC encourages the RCMP to work to bring that rate down to zero.

Recommendations

1. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police strive to reduce its deemed refusal rate to zero.

Response

The RCMP agrees with this recommendation. The performance exemplified by the access to information program in recent years attests to the RCMP’s commitment to this important function of the government. The RCMP has invested significant resources and efforts into the program and will continue to do so. As a result, the RCMP is confident that its compliance will continue to improve.

2. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police comply with the Act and notify the Office of the Information Commissioner of all the extensions it takes for more than 30 days.

Response

The RCMP agrees with this recommendation. In 2009, the Access to Information and Privacy Branch developed a new systematic process that automatically alerts the analyst to the notification requirement for all the extensions he or she takes for more than 30 days. The RCMP is confident that this will considerably boost our compliance in that regard.

3. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police continue with its improvement plan to achieve optimal compliance with the Act.

Response

The RCMP agrees with this recommendation. As stated above, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has invested significant resources and efforts into the access to information program. Despite the marked increase in volume of requests in recent years, the RCMP’s compliance has steadily been improving. New initiatives aimed at improving processes and overall compliance are being put in motion, and the RCMP is confident that its ability to fulfill its legislative obligations will continue to peak.

Deemed refusal rate, 2005 to 2008–2009

This graph shows the deemed refusal rate for the RCMP for the last four reporting periods. This is the percentage of carried over and new requests the RCMP delayed each year beyond the deadlines (30 days and extended) set out in the Access to Information Act.

Deemed refusal rate, 2006 to 2008–2009

How long requests completed late were overdue, 2008–2009

The RCMP reported that it completed 236 of the requests it received in 2008–2009 after their due date. This graph shows how long these requests stayed open beyond that deadline. It is of concern that 51 percent of these requests were late by more than 30 days.

Number and outcome of delay-related complaints to the OIC, 2006–2007 to 2008–2009

Number and length of time extensions reported in 2008–2009

This graph shows the number and length of the time extensions the RCMP reported to have taken in 2008–2009. The RCMP supplied this information in the notices it sent to the OIC under subsection 9(2) of the Access to Information Act. The RCMP submitted the notices 49 percent of the time in 2008–2009; the OIC expects this figure to be 100 percent in 2009–2010.

Number and outcome of delay-related complaints to the OIC, 2006–2007 to 2008–2009

Number and outcome of delay-related complaints to the OIC, 2006–2007 to 2008–2009

These graphs show the number and outcome of two types of complaint registered against the RCMP in the last three reporting periods: complaints about deemed refusals (access to information requests that the RCMP delayed beyond the deadlines—30 days and extended—set out in the Access to Information Act) and complaints about the RCMP’s use of the time extensions allowed under the Act. Resolved complaints are those that the OIC finds to have merit and that the institution resolves to the Commissioner’s satisfaction.

Deemed refusal complaints

Deemed refusal complaints

The number of deemed refusal complaints decreased significantly each year (40; 15; 7). The proportion of resolved complaints to the total was high each year (100 percent; 67 percent; 86 percent)

Time extension complaints

Time extension complaints

The number of time extension complaints increased each year (1; 8; 21); however, the proportion of resolved time extension complaints to the total number of such complaints decreased significantly over the same period (100 percent; 75 percent; 5 percent).


Number and outcome of complaints to the OIC, 2006–2007 to 2008–2009

This table sets out the number and outcome of the complaints the OIC registered against the RCMP in each of the last three reporting periods. Resolved complaints are those that the OIC finds to have merit and that the institution resolves to the Commissioner’s satisfaction.

  Resolved Not
substantiated
Discontinued Pending Total
2006–2007
Administrative 43 5 2 0 50
Refusals 17 20 5 2 44
Cabinet confidences 0 0 1 0 1
Total 60 25 8 2 95
2007–2008
Administrative 20 5 7 0 32
Refusals 19 42 7 29 97
Cabinet confidences 0 0 0 0 0
Total 39 47 14 29 129
2008–2009
Administrative 14 21 3 1 39
Refusals 1 13 5 47 66
Cabinet confidences 0 0 0 0 0
Total 15 34 8 48 105

The overall number of resolved complaints decreased each year (60; 39; 15). There was a significant increase in the number of administrative complaints the OIC found to be not substantiated from 2007–2008 to 2008–2009 (from 5 to 21). There were many refusal complaints pending at the end of both 2007–2008 and 2008–2009 (29; 48).

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