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Natural Resources Canada

Part A:       Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year (2009-2010)
1. Number of requests carried over: 41
2. Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year— in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal year 24
Part B:       New requests received in fiscal year 2010-2011 (Exclude requests included in Part A)
3. Number of requests received during the fiscal period 354
4.A How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 within the statutory 30-day time limit? 229
4.B How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 beyond the statutory 30-day time limit where no extension was claimed? 20
4.C How long after the expiry of the statutory 30-day time
limit did it take to complete the request where no extension was claimed?
  1-30 days: 19
  31-60 days: 0
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 1
5. How many were extended pursuant to section 9? 105
6.A How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 within the extended time limit? 65
6.B How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 after exceeding the extended time limit? 8
6.C How long after the expiry of the extended deadline did it take to respond?  
  1-30 days: 3
  31-60 days: 2
  61-90 days: 1
  Over 91 days: 2
7. Number of requests received in 2010-2011 that were carried over to 2011-2012? 32
8. As of April 1st, 2011, how many requests which were received in the 2010-2011 reporting period are in a deemed-refusal situation? 0
Part C:       Workload
9. What is the number of pages reviewed for requests completed in:  
  2008-2009? 64462*
  2009-2010? 81773
  2010-2011? 73774
10. What is the number of consultations requests received  in:  
  2008-2009? 170
  2009-2010? 111
  2010-2011? 147
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 (OPI turnaround time)
  • Staff shortages / resources
  • Requests filed in bulk
  • Consultations with other institutions
  • Others

Launched in September 2010 NRCan’s ‘Re-engineering ATIP’ initiative has significantly improved NRCan’s on-time processing of Access requests (see response to Q.12 below for further information concnering this initiative). For example, as of March 31 no new requests received since the launch had become late, 24 long-standing late requests had been completed, no cases were in ‘deemed refusal’ and the Office of the Information Commissioner had been advised of 100% of extensions greater than 30days taken during 2010/2011.  Although the average processing time per case for the year remains high at 59 days, for new cases received and completed after October, 2010 average completion time was 38 days.

In the coming year, NRCan will focus on reducing its year over year average processing time per case. This may present challenges due to a number of requests for multi-year records and/or large volumes of records.

Software tools available to support ATIP processing and performance monitoring continue to present significant challenges for officers and managers. This results in significant time loss to rework, duplicating and reconciling performance tracking and erodes confidence in the accuracy of software generated reports used throughout the ATIP community.

In addition, although a general improvement in consultation time has been noted, the time required by some institutions to complete consultation requests continues to impact upon NRCan’s processing times and requires careful management of extensions.

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

In September 2010, following a review of ATIP processes and governance, NRCan’s Deputy Minister-led Departmental Management Committee endorsed a department-wide ‘Re-engineering ATIP at NRCan’ initiative to improve NRCan’s ATIP performance.  As a result, of this on-going initiative:
  • A revised delegation order was approved by the Minister of Natural Resources; under this instrument only the ATIP Coordinator is designated to act for the Minister with regard to exemptions and other ATIP related matters

  • An operational reporting relationship has been established between the Associate Deputy Minister and the Corporate Secretariat, which includes NRCan’s ATIP Coordinator. This reflects Treasury Board’s recommendation that the ATIP Coordinator should, at most, be no more than two levels removed from the deputy head

  • The Deputy Minister and Sector Assistant Deputy Ministers receive a weekly update on Access requests and processing at the Deputy Minister’s weekly ‘Look Ahead’ meeting

  • A department-wide, Director General level ATIP Committee has been created and mandated to provide executive oversight of ATIP processing at NRCan. Chaired by the Corporate Secretary, this committee has been established with the specific objective of improving NRCan’s average completion time for requests and tracks the processing of each Access request on a weekly basis. The committee also considers issues related to departmental ATIP policy and processing procedures, ATIP training and sharing of best practices within NRCan

  • The Deputy Minister identified improving ATIP performance as a corporate priority for 2010/2011, as a result, ATIP performance measures were added to NRCan’s Executive Performance Agreements

  • Access request processing at NRCan was re-engineered to include Sector policy, program, Communications and any necessary Legal Services reviews early in the process rather than at the end of processing requests

  • New processes and tracking tools were created to expedite and improve the processing of Access requests

  • Regular liaison has been established with the Office of the Information Commissioner and senior NRCan officials to advise of the changes being implemented and results achieved

  • When required, the Associate Deputy Minister engaged on specific files to look for opportunities to address lengthy consultations

  • The Corporate Secretary met with the Assistant Deputy Minister and  Management Team of each Sector to update them on the changes being implemented with respect to ATIP and the leadership role that executives will play in improving ATIP processing at NRCan

  • In addition, new equipment has/is being purchased for the ATIP Secretariat and the ATIP office is scheduled for renovation in the coming year to improve work flow, enhance security and improve individual officers work area.

  • With respect to staffing, a Director of ATIP position was created at the executive level and has been filled. In addition a number of staffing actions are underway to reorganize and complete staffing of the unit. In the interim, additional temporary resources will continue to be employed to bolster the Secretariat’s processing and management capacity.

Additional measures are under consideration, for example, the DG ATIP committee has recently approved the posting of summaries of completed ATIP requests of general public interest on the NRCan website. In the coming year the Committee will be asked to consider whether additional categories of information should be posted online regularly.

Per section 11 above, these measures have and continue to improve NRCan’s ATIP performance.

Part E:       Completion Time
13. What is the average completion time for all requests completed in 2010-2011?
59 days
Part F:        Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act
14. Please attach your institution’s completed Report on the Access to Information (Form TBS/SCT 350-62) for 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. For institutions on a fiscal year other than April 1st-March 31st, include any supplemental reports where available.