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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.

Assessment: C

(Received a C in 2008–2009)

  • The RCMP showed some improvement in 2010–2011 compared to 2008–2009. Its deemed refusal rate decreased from 18.3 percent to 12.6 percent. The number of complaints registered with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) also decreased. The average time to complete a request, excluding long-standing requests, was a commendable 20 days. However, none of these improvements was enough to move the RCMP up the grade scale.
  • In March 2010, the RCMP carried out an internal review that resulted in streamlined processes, new software and a stable, experienced workforce.
  • The RCMP satisfactorily implemented all three of the OIC's 2008–2009 recommendations. Since there is room for further improvement, however, the OIC has made new recommendations to that end (2010-2011 Recommendations), including to maintain adequate resources for the access function.
QUICK FACTS
2008–2009 2010–2011
Number of requests carried over from previous fiscal year 256 196
Number of new requests 2,008 1,657
Number of requests completed 1,976 1,709
Number of pages reviewed for requests completed 317,278 245,148
Deemed refusal rate 18.3%* 12.6%*
Average number of days to complete a request 38 64
Average number of days to complete a request received in 2010–2011 n/a 20
Number of consultation requests received 531 625
Percentage of required extension notices submitted to the OIC <85% >85%
Number of complaints registered with the OIC 105 69
Number of complaints the OIC resolved 26** 17**
Number of full-time equivalents in access to information operations, as of the end of the fiscal year 19.05 15.69
Follow-up on 2008–2009 recommendations

Deemed refusal rate........................................ Met expectations

Extension notices............................................ Met expectations

Improvement plan........................................... Met expectations

See report card text for details. For the full text of the recommendations and the institution's initial response, go here .

*   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 OIC used to calculate this rate.)

** A complaint is resolved when the OIC finds it has merit and the institution resolves it to the Commissioner's satisfaction. The number of complaints reported here is current as of November 2011. As a result, the figure for 2008–2009 may be different from what appeared in the 2008–2009 report card.

Report card

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) showed some improvement in its access to information performance in 2010–2011, compared to 2008–2009. The RCMP reduced its deemed refusal rate from 18.3 percent to 12.6 percent. The number of complaints registered with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) also decreased, from 105 in 2008–2009 to 69 in 2010–2011. The average time to complete a request increased, however, from 38 days to 64 days. This was largely due to the RCMP's focus on completing many of the long-standing requests in its backlog. Excluding those, the RCMP's average completion time was a commendable 20 days for requests received and completed in 2010–2011. However, none of these improvements was enough to move the RCMP up the grade scale.

In March 2010, the RCMP conducted an efficiency review of its access to information operations. This involved the coordinator's meeting with all units to collect input regarding issues and challenges, and then developing plans to respond to them. This resulted in a more streamlined process that enabled analysts to better cope with the workload. The RCMP also upgraded its access software.

The RCMP provides acting opportunities for those employees who demonstrate leadership potential and often promotes from within, all with an eye to succession planning. An office move in 2009–2010 meant losing some staff, while attracting others who preferred the new location. Generally, the RCMP's access office has seen high retention levels for various reasons, including having a large number of regular members on staff who are required to "lock in" for a specific length of time. RCMP officials reported that stability is also the result of good working conditions. 

In the past, training has been a major focus for access officials, with 2,000 employees having been trained in previous years. This is one area in which the RCMP has already had to cut back as a result of budgetary restraint: in 2010–2011, only seven presentations were given to 481 participants. Access employees, however, are still encouraged to enroll in various courses to build their knowledge and skills.

An excellent initiative, unique to the RCMP, is placing an access resource in the field when the RCMP is involved in major events such as G8/G20 summits or the Olympics. Having someone on site who is well versed in access to information and can easily retrieve and process records has proven effective, RCMP access officials stated. The OIC is encouraged by the RCMP's innovative response to a challenging situation.

Follow-up on the 2008–2009 recommendations

The OIC issued three recommendations to the RCMP with the 2008–2009 report card. The following summarizes the subsequent developments at the institution in response. (For the full text of the recommendations and the institution's response, go here.)

  1. The RCMP has, as per the OIC's recommendation, improved its deemed refusal rate.
  2. The RCMP submitted more than 85 percent of the required notices of extensions taken for more than 30 days, which meets the OIC's standard for acceptable performance in this area.
  3. Since the 2008–2009 report card, the RCMP has developed and implemented a clear plan to improve the delivery of access to information services, as per the OIC's recommendation.

Access to information workload, 2008–2009 to 2010–2011

This graph shows the sources of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's workload for the three fiscal years starting in 2008–2009. Comparing 2008–2009 to 2010–2011, the institution saw an 11-percent decrease in its workload. Both the number of new requests and the carry-over from the previous fiscal year decreased (by 17 percent and 23 percent, respectively), while the number of consultation requests increased by 18 percent. The number of pages reviewed for requests completed decreased by 23 percent.

Access to information workload, 2008–2009 to 2010–2011

Text Version

How long it took to complete new requests, 2008–2009 and 2010–2011

Between 2008–2009 and 2010–2011, the proportion of new access requests the Royal Canadian Mounted Police completed within the timelines (30 days and extended) set out in the Access to Information Act rose from 88 percent to 93 percent. The remaining requests were completed late: 236 requests in 2008–2009 and 102 in 2010–2011.

How long it took to complete new requests, 2008–2009 and 2010–2011

Text Version

Number and length of time extensions taken, 2008–2009 and 2010–2011

This graph shows the number and length of the time extensions the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) reported to have taken in 2008–2009 and 2010–2011. The institution supplied this information in the notices it sent to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) under subsection 9(2) of the Access to Information Act. The RCMP submitted fewer than 85 percent of the required notices in 2008–2009, at which point the OIC issued a recommendation that the RCMP improve its performance in this area. In 2010–2011, the RCMP submitted more than 85 percent of the required notices.

Number and length of time extensions taken, 2008–2009 and 2010–2011

Text Version

Number and outcome of delay-related complaints, 2008–2009 to 2010–2011

These graphs show the number and outcome of two types of complaint registered against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the three fiscal years starting in 2008–2009: 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. Overall, the number of complaints against the RCMP dropped by 34 percent from 2008–2009 to 2010–2011. There was a slight increase in deemed refusal complaints over the same period, and a 76-percent decrease in time extension complaints.

Number and outcome of delay-related complaints, 2008–2009 to 2010–2011

Text Version

* Resolved complaints are those that the Office of the Information Commissioner finds to have merit and that the institution resolves to the Commissioner's satisfaction.

Number and outcome of complaints received by the Office of the Information Commissioner, 2008–2009 to 2010–2011

This table sets out the number and outcome of the complaints the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) registered against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the three fiscal years starting in 2008–2009. The number of complaints registered with the OIC declined significantly in 2009–2010 from the previous year, and held steady in 2010–2011.

 

Resolved*

Not substantiated

Discontinued

Pending

Total

2008–2009
Administrative 15 21 3 0 39
Refusals 11 36 9 10 66
Cabinet confidences 0 0 0 0 0
Total 26 57 12 10 105
2009–2010
Administrative 13 7 2** 0 22
Refusals 6 25 8 7 46
Cabinet confidences 0 0 0 0 0
Total 19 32 10 7 68
2010–2011
Administrative 11 4 8 6 29
Refusals 6 11 10** 12 39
Cabinet confidences 0 1 0 0 1
Total 17 16 18 18 69

* Resolved complaints are those that the OIC finds to have merit and that the institution resolves to the Commissioner's satisfaction. 

** The OIC began using new disposition categories in 2010–2011. There was one miscellaneous complaint registered in 2009–2010 and closed in 2010–2011 and one refusal complaint in 2010–2011 in the Settled category, which comprises complaints about minor errors, settled to the Commissioner's satisfaction without a finding. For reporting purposes, these complaints were placed in the Discontinued category.

2010–2011 recommendations

There is room for improvement in the RCMP's performance, building on the gains made in 2010–2011, so it can improve its rating beyond the "C" grade it is receiving this year and also received in 2008–2009.

1. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that the Minister of Public Safety, who is responsible for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, demonstrate the leadership required across the institution to promote a culture of compliance and improve the institution's access to information performance.

RESPONSE: As the Minister of Public Safety, I agree with this recommendation. The performance and steady progress by the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Program of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in recent years clearly exemplify my commitment to ensure that the RCMP continues to embrace and nurture the spirit of the Access to Information Act. In the coming months, I will write to each of the Deputy Heads in the Public Safety portfolio to remind them of the importance of the ATIP Program and the need to foster a culture of compliance. 

2. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police maintain the resources needed to comply with its obligations under the Access to Information Act, including providing training across the organization.

RESPONSE: The RCMP agrees with this recommendation. The RCMP, including the ATIP Branch, will be affected by Government-wide reductions, efficiencies and program cuts announced in Budget 2012. However, the RCMP remains committed to complying with its obligations under the Access to Information Act. In March 2010, the RCMP carried out an internal review resulting in streamlined processes, modern software and a stable, experienced workforce. This has resulted in achieving an average time to complete a request of 20 days. Further, the RCMP reduced its deemed refusal rate and the number of complaints registered with the Office of the Information Commissioner. The RCMP implemented all three of the OIC's 2008–2009 recommendations and continues to look for ways to improve its performance.

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

RESPONSE: The RCMP agrees with this recommendation. In 2010–2011, the RCMP's deemed refusal rate decreased from 18.3% to 12.6%. The RCMP has invested significant resources and efforts into the ATIP program in recent years; however, the RCMP, including the ATIP Branch, will be affected by Government-wide reductions, efficiencies and program cuts announced in Budget 2012. The RCMP will continue to work towards improving compliance rates.

4. The Office of the Information Commissioner recommends that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police report on its progress implementing these recommendations in its annual report to Parliament on access to information operations.

RESPONSE: The RCMP agrees with this recommendation. In an effort to maintain transparency and accountability of ATIP operational results, the RCMP remains committed to reporting annually to Parliament. The RCMP, as part of this annual report, will report on its progress implementing these recommendations.