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Questionnaires


VIA Rail Canada Inc.

Part A: Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year (2008-2009)

1. Number of requests carried over: 0
2. Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year— in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal year 0

Part B: New Requests received in fiscal year 2009-2010— Exclude requests included in Part A

3. Number of requests received during the fiscal period 28
4.A How many were completed during fiscal year 2009-2010withinthe statutory 30-day time limit? 24
4.B How many were completed during fiscal year 2009-2010 beyond the statutory 30-day time limitwhere no extension was claimed ? 3
4.C How long after the expiry of the statutory 30-day timelimit did it take to complete the requestwhere no extension was claimed ?  
  1-30 days: 3
  31-60 days: 0
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 0
5. How many were extended pursuant to section 9? 1
6.A How many were completed during fiscal year 2009-2010withinthe extended time limit? 0
6.B How many were completed during fiscal year 2009-2010 after exceeding the extended time limit? 1
6.C How long after the expiry of the extended deadline did it take to respond?  
  1-30 days: 1
  31-60 days: 0
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 0
7. Number of requests received in 2009-2010 that were carried over to 2010-2011? 0
8. As of April 1 st , 2010, how many requests which were received in 2009-2010 are in a deemed-refusal situation? 0

Part C: Workload

9. What is the number of pages reviewed for requests completed in 2009-2010? 1815
10. What is the number of consultations requests received in 2009-2010? 8

Part D: Contributing Factors

11.

Please describe the most significant issues that affected your institution’s ability to respond to access to information requests in a timely manner (within 30 days and/or statutory timelines) since becoming subject to the Act. These may include:

  • Requests for large volume of records
  • Approval process of access requests
  • Difficulties to retrieve records (OPIs turnaround time)
  • Staff shortages
  • Requests filed in bulk
  • Consultations with other institutions
  • Others
As Canada’s national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada Inc. operates in a competitive environment and serves a large clientele of travelers with various needs and expectations. The company purchases goods and services from a wide range of suppliers, and it operates in partnership with several members of the railway and travel industries. Since the terrorist events of 2001 (911), VIA has extended its cooperative efforts with the other members of the Canadian justice system. These factors frequently require that external consultations be conducted before information under VIA’s control is disclosed under the Access to Information Act, thus the need to extend the time frame for responding to the access requests.
12.

Please describe any practices or policies developed/undertaken by your institution to improve the timely delivery of your access to information program since becoming subject to the Act and where possible, indicate how successful these practices/policies have been. These may include:

  • Informal treatment of requests
  • Streamlined approval process
  • Partial release of records
  • Fast track process for common requests
  • Others
Since the spring of 2007, the following policies and instruments have been developed and implemented to adequately support the administration of the Access to Information Act and ensure compliance with the timeframes set by the Act for responding to access requests:
  • development of an ATIP Policy and Procedures manual that:
  • provides, in accessible language, general explanations about the Access to Information and the Privacy Act:
  • clarifies roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the processing of access requests;
  • highlights the fact that, based on the wording of section 4 of the Access to Information Act, “The precedence of the Access to Information Act over other acts also means that everyone at VIA is required to give the highest priority to the processing of access to information requests, even where this may delay the performance of other duties and functions”;
  • describes the step by step porcedure for the processing of access requests under both Acts and underlines the importance of meeting the time limits set by the Acts for responding to access requests;
  • development of the ATIP infrastructure and establishment of the ATIP Coordinator’s function and office. The infrastructure includes:
  • the development and the signing of a Delegation Order;
  • an Access Call Package comprised of instruction sheets that specify:
  • how to interpret access requests;
  • search for the requested records;
  • estimate of fees;
  • the time frames for providing the requested records to the ATIP coordinator;
  • the development of a Code of Conduct to be signed by all employees which includes questions on the Access to Information Act to reflect individual and corporate responsibilities;
  • the drafting of communications documents;
  • the drafting of a Proactive Disclosure Policy;
  • numerous briefings have been provided to the Senior Managers on the requirements of the Access to Information Act;
  • regular briefings were provided to the Management Committee to apprise them of on-going activities in relation to the Act- and stressing the importance of meeting the time frames set by the Act for responding to access requests;
  • a detailed briefing was provided to all the participants at VIA’s National Directors meeting in the spring of 2007. The briefing provided an opportunity to highlight the requirements of the Act and to describe the roles and responsibilities of all the heads of administrative and operational units as they relate to the administration of the Act, including the importance to comply with the time frames set by the Act to respond to access requests;
  • the drafting of communications documents on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act for employees, clients and suppliers. Details about these activities will be provided in our future annual reports to Parliament.

Part E: Building Capacity

13.
As a newly-subject institution to the Act, please describe the implementation process and measures to build your institution’s capacity to respond to access to information requests. This may include resource allocation, infrastructure, internal support, and/or foundational work such as policy or planning documents.

During the summer and the fall of 2007 VIA developed the instruments referred to in section 12 (above) to support the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, and the company has since been developing its knowledge and understanding of the requirements of the Act.  

The processing of access requests has served as an educational tool to make employees aware of the requirements of the Act, and VIA is considering developing educational tools to expand the knowledge base of all staff. Details about these activities will be provided in our future annual reports to Parliament.

Part F: Completion Time

14.
What is the average completion time for all requests completed in 2009-2010?
26 days

Part G: Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

15. Please attach your institution’s completed Report on theAccess to Information(Form TBS/SCT 350-62) for 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. For institutions on a fiscal year other than April 1 st -March 31 st , include any supplemental reports where available.
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