Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Report Cards


Year


Previous Table of contents Next

Institutions assessed in 2008–2009

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) selects and processes foreign nationals as permanent and temporary residents, and offers Canada’s protection to refugees. CIC develops Canada’s admissibility policy, sets the conditions for entering and remaining in Canada, and screens potential permanent and temporary residents to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians.

2008–2009 report card at a glance

whole star whole star whole star whole star whole star
A

  • Deemed refusal rate was 4.7 percent.
  • Average completion time was 34 days. The fast-track process CIC instituted for 96 percent of the requests it receives (which are essentially privacy requests and straightforward to process) is a major contributing factor to this low completion time.
  • CIC received by far the most access requests of any federal institution.
  • CIC extended five percent of requests for more than 30 days.
  • The number of administrative complaints that the Office of the Information Commissioner resolved has decreased over the past three years.
  • Some record holders did not have sufficient resources to handle periodic instances of many requests arriving at the same time.
  • 82 percent of extension notices were submitted to the OIC under section 9(2) of the Act.

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

Number of requests carried over from 2007–2008
1,192
Number of new requests
14,034
Number of requests completed
13,616
Deemed refusal rate
4.7%*
Average time to complete a request (in days)
34
Number of consultation requests
161
Number of complaints registered with the Office of the Information Commissioner
51
Number of complaints the Office of the Information Commissioner resolved
5**
Number of full-time equivalents in access to information office, as of March 31, 2009
45.65
 

* 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.


2008–2009 report card

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) continued to receive the largest volume of access to information requests of any institution in 2008–2009. CIC received 14,034 requests, nearly all (96 percent) of which were requests for clients’ personal information—from consultants and lawyers representing non-citizens who have had dealings with CIC on matters of immigration or citizenship.

CIC designated such files as “fast track” requests, since processing them is straightforward. Given this and the volume of these requests, CIC’s average completion time for all requests was 34 days, the shortest time of the institutions surveyed for this year’s report card. CIC refers to the remaining four percent of access requests as “complex”; these are similar to requests other institutions receive, typically for policy documents. CIC has divided its access to information unit into two sections to process the two types of request.

CIC ’s deemed refusal rate for 2008–2009 was 4.7 percent, which is among the best of the institutions surveyed. It is also noteworthy that CIC extended only five percent of all requests for more than 30 days. The number of administrative complaints (involving delayed requests and problems with time extensions) against CIC that the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) resolved decreased over the past three years.

CIC felt the effects of periodic instances of certain missions, such as Chandigarh, Beijing and New Delhi, receiving a large number of requests all at once. Addition­ally, some records holders (such as the mission in Chandigarh) had limited resources and no specific funding for access to information and privacy duties. While recognizing the extent of CIC’s overseas operations, the OIC is concerned about retrieval of records at the institution, particularly since CIC reported having sent records using a variety of traditional means, including mail, courier and diplomatic bag, which, on occasion, could take weeks to reach Ottawa.

Access to information staffing levels were adequate at the beginning of the reporting period, but CIC reported that they were insufficient to effectively handle the 23 percent increase in requests over the course of the year. Furthermore, CIC inherited the multiculturalism portfolio from Canadian Heritage during the year, and some of these files were already delayed beyond the deadlines in the Access to Information Act when CIC received them.

The 2008–2009 report card marks the 10th that the OIC has done on CIC. The institution has made admirable progress over the years, moving from poor to excellent compliance with the Access to Information Act. The OIC looks to CIC to implement its recommendation to facilitate records retrieval from its remote missions and to maintain its high compliance rating.

Recommendations

1. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that Citizenship and Immigration Canada strive to reduce its deemed refusal rate to zero.

Response

CIC is the most accessed department, receiving 14,034 requests. CIC strives to attain a refusal rate of zero; however, this is not always attainable due to the high volume of requests.

CIC will continue to strive towards a refusal rate of zero.

2. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that Citizenship and Immigration Canada ensure that all records held in remote locations are sent to the access to information office using secure, more technologically advanced means than traditional mail or courier.

Response

CIC is in a unique position, whereby many of its records are located at missions abroad. As a result of the remote location, this is an obstacle that has resulted in our inability to attain ideal compliance. CIC currently uses scanners in some of its high-volume missions, in order to send information via email. However, this is not always feasible, depending on the size of the file being sent over the system, the bandwidth limitations and the classification level of the documents. In addition, CDs have been used to reduce the bulk of the records and make them easier to transmit via diplomatic bag. More technological means are not always possible in remote locations, due to costs and security of information that is, for the most part, personal information.

CIC will continue to look at new and innovative technological techniques to obtain information from remote locations while taking into account the provisions of the Privacy Act.

3. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that Citizenship and Immigration Canada comply with the Act and notify the Office of the Information Commissioner of all the extensions it takes for more than 30 days.

Response

CIC continues to notify the OIC of all extensions taken for more than 30 days.

CIC will ensure that a copy of the extension letter is provided to the OIC.

 

How long requests completed late were overdue, 2008–2009

CIC reported that it completed 636 of the requests it received in 2008–2009 after their due date. This graph shows how long these requests stayed open beyond that deadline.

How long requests completed late were overdue, 2008–2009

Number and length of time extensions reported in 2008–2009

This graph shows the number and length of the time extensions CIC reported to have taken in 2008–2009. CIC supplied this information in the notices it sent to the OIC under subsection 9(2) of the Access to Information Act. CIC submitted the notices 82 percent of the time in 2008–2009; the OIC expects this figure to be 100 percent in 2009–2010.

Number and length of time extensions reported in 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 CIC in the last three reporting periods in 2008–2009: complaints about deemed refusals (access to information requests that CIC delayed beyond the deadlines—30 days and extended—set out in the Access to Information Act) and complaints about CIC’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 delay-related complaints registered against CIC equalled a very small percentage of the total number of requests the institution received each year (0.1 percent in 2008–2009, for example).

Time extension complaints

Time extension complaints

The number of delay-related complaints registered against CIC equalled a very small percentage of the total number of requests the institution received each year (0.1 percent in 2008–2009, for example). The number of time extension requests that the OIC resolved decreased over the last three years (7; 3; 1).


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

This table sets out the number and outcome of complaints the OIC registered against CIC 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 14 4 0 0 18
Refusals 6 16 0 0 22
Cabinet confidences 0 0 0 0 0
Total 20 20 0 0 40
2007–2008
Administrative 4 0 7 0 11
Refusals 7 22 9 4 42
Cabinet confidences 1 1 0 0 2
Total 12 23 16 4 55
2008–2009
Administrative 3 1 12 0 16
Refusals 2 4 3 22 31
Cabinet confidences 0 0 0 4 4
Total 5 5 15 26 51

The number of resolved complaints as a proportion of overall complaints registered against CIC decreased each year (50 percent; 22 percent; 10 percent).

Previous Table of contents Next