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Public Safety Canada

Part A:       Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year (2009-2010)
1. Number of requests carried over: 28
2. Requests carried over from the prior fiscal year— in a deemed-refusal situation on the first day of the new fiscal year 6
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 298
4.A How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 within the statutory 30-day time limit? 178
4.B How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 beyond the statutory 30-day time limit where no extension was claimed? 1
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: 0
  31-60 days: 0
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 1
5. How many were extended pursuant to section 9? 101
6.A How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 within the extended time limit? 55
6.B How many were completed during fiscal year 2010-2011 after exceeding the extended time limit? 10
6.C How long after the expiry of the extended deadline did it take to respond?  
  1-30 days: 5
  31-60 days: 3
  61-90 days: 0
  Over 91 days: 2
7. Number of requests received in 2010-2011 that were carried over to 2011-2012? 54
8. As of April 1st, 2011, how many requests which were received in the 2010-2011 reporting period are in a deemed-refusal situation? 2
Part C:       Workload
9. What is the number of pages reviewed for requests completed in:  
  2008-2009? 28695
  2009-2010? 24968
  2010-2011? 32616
10. What is the number of consultations requests received  in:  
  2008-2009? 198
  2009-2010? 136
  2010-2011? 223
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

1) Increased workload and complexity
  • ATI requests received by the Department have increased by 43% in the last year, from 208 requests received in FY 09/10 to 298 requests in FY 10/11. 

  • The number of pages has also increased over 09/10 by 31%, from 24968 pages in FY 09/10 to 32616 pages in FY10/11.

  • It has become increasingly complex to process the requests given the sensitivity of the information, the need to exercise due diligence in terms of applying exemptions/severances given the potential for harm should sensitive information be mistakenly released, while at the same time balancing the right of access.  Because of the portfolio model, records held by Public Safety Canada (PS) invariably contain information obtained or prepared by agencies within the Public Safety portfolio (RCMP, CBSA, CSIS, CSC, PBC and review agencies), as well as information obtained from other federal institutions and levels of government with shared responsibilities relating to public safety.  Consequently, 112 requests received in FY 10/11 required consultations, consisting of 288 consultations with other government departments, 39 consultations with PCO Counsel, 17 consultations with other governments and nine consultations with third parties.

  • The policy focus of the department’s work and the Deputy Minister’s role as policy advisor to the Minister on all portfolio matters for consideration by Cabinet tends to result in a significant number of records that contain Cabinet confidences.  As stated, 13% of the requests processed in ATI where records were located required consultations with PCO regarding Cabinet confidences. 

2) Consultations
  • 84% of extensions invoked at PS are to accommodate the consultation process.  Analysts identify the organizations that need to be consulted before invoking the extension, and review the length of time taken by each organization to respond to previous consultations when assessing extensions.

  • PS is one of the institutions where consultation regarding the application of s.15(1) is mandatory.  Since FY 09/10, consultations from other departments have increased by 71%, from 136 requests received in FY 09/10 to
    233 requests received in FY 10/11. 

3) OPI turnaround time

Information management challenges can slow down the process of finding and retrieving records.

4) Staffing challenges/Resourcing
Once a position is vacated, it can remain vacant for long periods of time due to the scarcity of experienced personnel in the ATIP community.  This is further complicated by delays in obtaining the high level security clearances required to review departmental records.

5) Consultations with PCO Counsel

In order to confirm exclusions under s.69, departments must consult with PCO Counsel.  The time it takes for PCO Counsel to respond to the department varies tremendously.  In FY 10-11, response times ranged from five to 800 days.  This makes it very difficult to estimate how long of an extension to take.

In addition, PCO Counsel often returns consultations after a lengthy delay to PS citing administrative issues that must be fixed before PCO Counsel will review the records.  This ranges from documents being numbered incorrectly to PCO Counsel not being able to review records on the diskette to descriptions of records lacking sufficient information. 

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

 

1) Senior Management engagement

The department’s procedures allow 10 days for OPIs to provide responsive records and recommendations to the ATI Unit.  In 2010-2011 all performance management agreements for all executives included a commitment to ATI timeliness.

In January 2011, a Statement of Completeness was implemented, which requires that a senior official (usually DG level) attest to the search being performed and that they concur with the recommendations for exemptions made by program officials.  This has led to a greater awareness by senior officials of the records being provided to ATIP and an improvement in the quality of the search being performed.

Quarterly performance is also now monitored and provided to Senior Management.

2)  Training and awareness

  • In 2010/2011, the ATIP Unit delivered nine ATI awareness sessions.  These sessions were coordinated by the Department’s learning centre, thereby ensuring the widest possible dissemination of the availability of this training within PS. 

  • In 2011/2012, the ATIP Unit intends to deliver training to the areas of the department who process the most requests in order to improve their understanding of the requirements of the legislation as well as the departmental process.  The intent is to improve awareness in order to improve timeliness of responses from the OPIs.  The ATIP Unit will still offer information sessions to the remainder of the department as well.

  • Training materials are available to all employees on our intranet.

  • Training of ATIP personnel remains a priority for the Department in spite of heavy workloads.  All employees participate in the TBS learning events, and some are seeking certification through the University of Alberta’s Information Access and Protection of Privacy program.

3)  Regular Reporting to Executive Committees

Weekly reports are provided to Executive Committee to foster senior management awareness and accountability in the process.

  • Identification of new requests improves compliance within 10-day retrieval;

  • Reporting on the due dates of upcoming releases improves compliance for final sign-off;

  • All new deemed refusals are brought to the attention of the departmental Executive Committee; and

  • DG responsible for ATIP engages ADMs directly and immediately if a file in their responsibility is approaching deemed refusal.

Part E:       Completion Time
13. What is the average completion time for all requests completed in 2010-2011?
69.71 days.  It should be noted that the average completion time for requests made under the Access to Information Acthas decreased since 2007-2008 when the average was 90 days.  In 2008-2009, the average completion time was 75 days and in 2009-2010, it was 68 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.
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