PDF Version

Report on Plans and Priorities 2014–15

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

Original signed by
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, PC, QC, MP
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada

ISSN 2292-5899

2014–15
ESTIMATES

PART III – Departmental Expenditure Plans: Reports on Plans and Priorities

Purpose

Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP) are individual expenditure plans for each department and agency. These reports provide increased levels of detail over a three-year period on an organization’s main priorities by strategic outcome, program and planned/expected results, including links to related resource requirements presented in the Main Estimates. In conjunction with the Main Estimates, Reports on Plans and Priorities serve to inform members of Parliament on planned expenditures of departments and agencies, and support Parliament’s consideration of supply bills. The RPPs are typically tabled soon after the Main Estimates by the President of the Treasury Board.

Estimates Documents

The Estimates are comprised of three parts:

Part I - Government Expenditure Plan - provides an overview of the Government’s requirements and changes in estimated expenditures from previous fiscal years.

Part II - Main Estimates - supports the appropriation acts with detailed information on the estimated spending and authorities being sought by each federal organization requesting appropriations.

In accordance with Standing Orders of the House of Commons, Parts I and II must be tabled on or before March 1.

Part III - Departmental Expenditure Plans - consists of two components:

  • Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP)
  • Departmental Performance Report (DPR)

DPRs are individual department and agency accounts of results achieved against planned performance expectations as set out in respective RPPs.

The DPRs for the most recently completed fiscal year are tabled in the fall by the President of the Treasury Board.

Supplementary Estimates support Appropriation Acts presented later in the fiscal year. Supplementary Estimates present information on spending requirements that were either not sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the Main Estimates or have subsequently been refined to account for developments in particular programs and services. Supplementary Estimates also provide information on changes to expenditure forecasts of major statutory items as well as on such items as: transfers of funds between votes; debt deletion; loan guarantees; and new or increased grants.

For more information on the Estimates, please consult the Treasury Board Secretariat website.

Links to the Estimates

As shown above, RPPs make up part of the Part III of the Estimates documents. Whereas Part II emphasizes the financial aspect of the Estimates, Part III focuses on financial and non-financial performance information, both from a planning and priorities standpoint (RPP), and an achievements and results perspective (DPR).

The Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS) establishes a structure for display of financial information in the Estimates and reporting to Parliament via RPPs and DPRs. When displaying planned spending, RPPs rely on the Estimates as a basic source of financial information.

Main Estimates expenditure figures are based on the Annual Reference Level Update which is prepared in the fall. In comparison, planned spending found in RPPs includes the Estimates as well as any other amounts that have been approved through a Treasury Board submission up to February 1st (See Definitions section). This readjusting of the financial figures allows for a more up-to-date portrait of planned spending by program.

Changes to the presentation of the Report on Plans and Priorities

Several changes have been made to the presentation of the RPP partially to respond to a number of requests – from the House of Commons Standing Committees on Public Accounts (PAC - Report 15), in 2010; and on Government and Operations Estimates (OGGO - Report 7), in 2012 – to provide more detailed financial and non-financial performance information about programs within RPPs and DPRs, thus improving the ease of their study to support appropriations approval.

  • In Section II, financial, human resources and performance information is now presented at the Program and Sub-program levels for more granularity.
  • The report’s general format and terminology have been reviewed for clarity and consistency purposes.
  • Other efforts aimed at making the report more intuitive and focused on Estimates information were made to strengthen alignment with the Main Estimates.

How to read this document

RPPs are divided into four sections:

Section I: Organizational Expenditure Overview

This Organizational Expenditure Overview allows the reader to get a general glance at the organization. It provides a description of the organization’s purpose, as well as basic financial and human resources information. This section opens with the new Organizational Profile, which displays general information about the department, including the names of the minister and the deputy head, the ministerial portfolio, the year the department was established, and the main legislative authorities. This subsection is followed by a new subsection entitled Organizational Context, which includes the Raison d’être, the Responsibilities, the Strategic Outcomes and Program Alignment Architecture, the Organizational Priorities and the Risk Analysis. This section ends with the Planned Expenditures, the Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes, the Estimates by Votes and the Contribution to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. It should be noted that this section does not display any non-financial performance information related to programs (please see Section II).

Section II: Analysis of Program(s) by Strategic Outcome(s)

This Section provides detailed financial and non-financial performance information for strategic outcomes, Programs and sub-programs. This section allows the reader to learn more about programs by reading their respective description and narrative entitled “Planning Highlights”. This narrative speaks to key services or initiatives which support the plans and priorities presented in Section I; it also describes how performance information supports the department’s strategic outcome or parent program.

Section III: Supplementary Information

This section provides supporting information related to departmental plans and priorities. In  this section, the reader will find future-oriented statement of operations and a link to supplementary information tables regarding transfer payments, as well as information related to the greening government operations, internal audits and evaluations, horizontal initiatives, user fees, major crown and transformational projects, and up-front multi-year funding, where applicable to individual organizations. The reader will also find a link to the Tax Expenditures and Evaluations Report, produced annually by the Minister of Finance, which provides estimates and projections of the revenue impacts of federal tax measures designed to support the economic and social priorities of the Government of Canada.

Section IV: Organizational Contact Information

In this last section, the reader will have access to organizational contact information.

Definitions

Appropriation: Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Budgetary Vs. Non-budgetary Expenditures: Budgetary expenditures – operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to crown corporations.

Non-budgetary expenditures – net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

Expected Result: An outcome that a program is designed to achieve.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE): A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person-year charge against a departmental budget. FTEs are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work.  Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.

Government of Canada Outcomes: A set of high-level objectives defined for the government as a whole.

Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS): A common approach and structure to the collection, management and reporting of financial and non-financial performance information.

An MRRS provides detailed information on all departmental programs (e.g.: program costs, program expected results and their associated targets, how they align to the government’s priorities and intended outcomes, etc.) and establishes the same structure for both internal decision making and external accountability.

Planned Spending: For the purpose of the RPP, planned spending refers to those amounts for which a Treasury Board (TB) submission approval has been received by no later than February 1, 2014. This cut-off date differs from the Main Estimates process. Therefore, planned spending may include  amounts incremental to planned expenditure levels presented in the 2014-15 Main Estimates.

Program: A group of related resource inputs and activities that are managed to meet specific needs and to achieve intended results, and that are treated as a budgetary unit.

Program Alignment Architecture: A structured inventory of a department’s programs, where programs are arranged in a hierarchical manner to depict the logical relationship between each program and the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute.

Spending Areas: Government of Canada categories of expenditures. There are four spending areas (social affairs, economic affairs, international affairs and government affairs) each comprised of three to five Government of Canada outcomes.

Strategic Outcome: A long-term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the department’s mandate, vision, and core functions.

Sunset Program: A time-limited program that does not have on-going funding or policy authority. When the program is set to expire, a decision must be made as to whether to continue the program. (In the case of a renewal, the decision specifies the scope, funding level and duration).

Whole-of-Government Framework: A map of the financial and non-financial contributions of federal organizations receiving appropriations that aligns their Programs to a set of high level outcome areas defined for the government as a whole.

Message from the Commissioner

Suzanne Legault

I am pleased to present the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada’s (OIC) Report on Plans and Priorities for 2014–2015.

This year will see my office fulfill the remaining commitments under its current strategic plan. This document has guided the work of my team since 2011 to meet three key goals: offering exemplary service to Canadians, building a leading access regime and ensuring the OIC is an exceptional workplace.

First, I will develop and implement a more structured process for investigations, setting out clear steps and expectations for how investigations will proceed, along with firm deadlines. My goal with these enhancements to the current approach is to strengthen the process and build over the longer term on the significant productivity gains I have achieved during my time as Commissioner.

Any success I have in improving how quickly investigations are completed, while still maintaining quality, will be welcome. However, I am currently contending with substantial and ongoing government-mandated budget restrictions while receiving significantly more complaints than last year. These opposing forces threaten my ability to properly carry out, as is required by the Access to Information Act, my role as the first level of independent review of decisions about the disclosure of information.

To bring Canada’s freedom of information law into line with more recent legislation across the country and around the world, I will issue in the first half of 2014 a comprehensive report on modernizing the Act.

The Act has never been significantly amended since it was passed more than 30 years ago. In the intervening decades, public policy development has largely been centralized, there has been a revolution in the news and information cycle, and Canadians have become increasingly active in their desire to hold their elected governments to account. The focus of my report will be on suggestions for reforms that would not only respond to these developments but also give me the tools I need to effectively carry out my mandate.

Finally, to ensure that the OIC remains a desirable location for talented and dedicated staff to pursue their careers in the service of the public, I will fully implement my new integrated human resources plan. The cornerstone of the plan is excellence, to be achieved through vigorous performance management and active talent management, and by making career development opportunities regularly available. My staff and I will also develop a new strategic plan to see the OIC through to the end of my term.

In all, I have an ambitious agenda for the year ahead. I, with the support of my team, will make every effort to safeguard the quasi-constitutional right to access. Citizens in a modern democracy should expect no less.

Section I: Organizational Expenditure Overview

Organizational Profile

Commissioner: Suzanne Legault

Year established: 1983

Main legislative authority: Access to Information Act

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada is part of the Justice portfolio. As such, the Minister of Justice is responsible for the organization (as per Schedule I.1 of the Financial Administration Act) and submits our Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report to the President of the Treasury Board for tabling in Parliament.

Organizational Context

Raison d’être

The Information Commissioner of Canada reports directly to the House of Commons and the Senate. The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada ensures that the rights conferred on information requesters by the Access to Information Act are respected, which ultimately enhances transparency and accountability across the federal government.

Responsibilities

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) is an independent public body set up in 1983 under the Access to Information Act. Our primary responsibility is to conduct efficient, fair and confidential investigations into complaints about federal institutions’ handling of access to information requests. We strive to maximize compliance with the Act while fostering disclosure of public sector information using the full range of tools, activities and powers at the Commissioner’s disposal.

We primarily use mediation and persuasion to resolve complaints. In doing so, we give complainants, heads of institutions and all third parties affected by complaints a reasonable opportunity to make representations. We encourage institutions to disclose information as a matter of course and to respect Canadians’ rights to request and receive information, in the name of transparency and accountability. We bring cases to the Federal Court to ensure that the Act is properly applied and interpreted, with a view to maximizing disclosure of information.

We also support the Information Commissioner in her advisory role to Parliament and parliamentary committees on all matters pertaining to access to information. We actively make the case for greater freedom of information in Canada through targeted initiatives such as Right to Know Week, and ongoing dialogue with Canadians, Parliament and federal institutions.

The following diagram shows the OIC’s organizational structure.

The OIC’s organizational structure
Text version

Long description: This organizational chart shows the titles of the three senior officials at the Office of the Information Commissioner who report to the Information Commissioner: General Counsel and Director, Legal Services; Assistant Commissioner, Complaints Resolution and Compliance; and Director General, Corporate Services. Each title is enclosed in a box and these are displayed in a row below the box for the Information Commissioner above. The boxes are connected by single lines.

Legal Services represents the Commissioner in court and provides legal advice on investigations, legislative issues and administrative matters. It closely monitors the range of cases having a potential impact on our mandate and on access to information in general. Legal Services also assists investigators by providing them with up-to-date and customized reference tools on the evolving case law.

The Complaints Resolution and Compliance Branch investigates individual complaints about the processing of access requests, conducts dispute resolution activities and makes formal recommendations to institutions, as required. It also assesses federal institutions’ compliance with their obligations and carries out systemic investigations and analysis.

Corporate Services provides strategic and corporate leadership for planning and reporting, communications, human resources and financial management, security and administrative services, internal audit, as well as information management and technology. It conducts external relations with a wide range of stakeholders, notably Parliament, governments and representatives of the media. It is also responsible for managing our access to information and privacy function.

Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture

Strategic Outcome: Requestors’ rights under the Access to Information Act are safeguarded.

Program: Compliance with access to information obligations

Internal services

Organizational Priorities

Below are our organizational priorities for 2014–2015, as set out in our 2011–2014 strategic plan. See Section II for details of our plans for meeting these priorities.

Priority Type Program
Exemplary service delivery to Canadians Ongoing Compliance with access to information obligations
Description

Why is this a priority?

As the first level of independent review of institutions’ handling of access to information requests, the OIC must, as a legislative obligation, carry out efficient, fair and confidential investigations.

Priority Type Program
A leading access to information regime Ongoing Compliance with access to information obligations
Description

Why is this a priority?

An efficient and modern access to information system benefits democracy by fostering transparency and citizen engagement. Vigorous oversight ensures everyone involved in the process is living up to their obligations, while a modern legislative framework provides a solid foundation for the system, based on current realities.

Priority Type Program
An exceptional workplace Ongoing

Compliance with access to information obligations

Internal services

Description

Why is this a priority?

Our work requires specialized expertise and skills that employees develop over time, through experience and training. It also benefits from collaboration among staff and their having access to up-to-date tools and knowledge. As a small organization, attracting the high-quality employees we need and, crucially, retaining them is essential to our being able to fulfill our mandate.

Risk Analysis

Key Risks

Risk Risk Response Strategies Program
Resources: that ongoing fiscal restraint measures have placed us at the limit of our financial and organizational flexibility, such that our ability to deliver our program will be jeopardized

Ensure a high-performing investigative function, such that we conduct our investigations as efficiently as possible

Minimize litigation costs by using internal counsel whenever possible

Ensure a high-performing corporate services function so we can dedicate most of our budget to the program.

Seek shared services opportunities across government and with our co-tenants in the new building to which we moved in January 2014

Monitor budgets and spending

Seek additional funding for our investigative function

Compliance with access to information obligations

Internal services

Growing complaints inventory: that the combination of our receiving more complaints than previously along with our investigative capacity being stretched by the volume and complexity of complaints will result in a growing inventory of complaints and slower completion times; this, in turn, could lead to increased litigation and ultimately will have a negative impact on our ability to safeguard requesters’ rights

Develop and implement improvements to our investigative procedure, including adding clear steps and firm deadlines

Continue to make concerted efforts with regard to key groups of complaints, including those against the 24 institutions about which we receive the most complaints, and those involving matters of national security, international affairs and defence

Carry out close monitoring of files to keep them on track

Foster collaboration with institutions and complainants to ensure smoother and faster progress of files

Compliance with access to information obligations
Human resources and knowledge management: that we will not have sufficient human resources to deliver our program, that our investigative team will be further challenged by retirements and other demographic factors, that overall productivity will be affected by our move to new offices in early 2014, and that our internal services function will be challenged to fully comply with various policy and other requirements

Fully implement new integrated human resources plan, including recruiting investigators with the skills and knowledge identified in our investigative competency profile

Finalize and fully implement our talent management framework, including our career development program for investigators, ensuring, in particular, that the latter is of the highest quality and lives up to public service staffing values

Continue to provide training to investigators

Monitor achievement of productivity targets and address gaps

Develop succession plans and processes to ensure a smooth transition and knowledge transfer in the event of staff turnover

Continue to improve information management and information technology systems, and other business tools to facilitate investigations, taking innovative approaches in order to meet both requirements in the most effective way

Ensure maximum size of investigative team within overall staff complement

Engage outside experts for short periods to supplement in-house legal and Corporate Services capacity

Continue to develop internal controls to ensure sound processes and stewardship in all areas of Corporate Services responsibility

Establish collaborative services/work procedures with other tenants, including other Agents of Parliament, in our new offices

Compliance with access to information obligations

Internal services

A well-functioning access to information system requires up-to-date legislation, sound administration and robust oversight, with everyone involved—including the Information Commissioner as the first level of independent review of decisions on disclosure—having sufficient resources to fulfill their respective mandates. In the absence of this foundation, Canadians’ right to access government information is jeopardized.

Over the past four fiscal years, our year-end lapse of funds has been 3 percent, on average. This has left us with nearly no financial flexibility, a situation exacerbated by our budget having been impacted by nearly 9 percent since 2009, due to various cuts and other measures. In addition, we project that the relocation of our offices in early 2014 will require us to divert 2.5 percent of our budget from our program to cover ongoing costs, including repaying the loan we secured to finance the move, starting in 2014–2015. Under the operational spending freeze announced in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, we will also have to absorb salary increases. All in all, this could amount to a further impact on our budget.

We are also facing a large increase in new complaints—33 percent in the first nine months of 2013–2014 alone. This is stretching our investigative capacity at a time when we have no funding available to augment it. An immediate consequence of this is that we are unable to assign all of our files as soon as we receive them. Looking ahead, this will likely result in slower completion times for investigations and in our inventory of complaints’ growing again, after four years of decreases. We will then have to focus on aging files, diverting investigators from current cases and thus having a negative impact on complainants’ right to access through the timely review of their complaints.

In combination, these factors have serious repercussions for our ability to safeguard individuals’ rights under the Access to Information Act. To mitigate this risk, we will seek additional funding to allow us to hire more investigators, although whether we will receive these resources is uncertain. Consequently, we will also continue to pursue strategies—well-established and new—to handle our caseload as efficiently and effectively as possible.

In our 2014–2018 Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan, we identified change management, physical and information technology security, and performance measurement as other risks currently facing the organization.

Planned Expenditures

Budgetary Financial Resources (Planned Spending—dollars)
2014-15 Main Estimates 2014-15 Planned Spending 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending
$11,200,960 $11,200,960 $11,200,960 $11,200,960
Human Resources (Full-time equivalents—FTEs)
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
93 93 93
Budgetary Planning Summary for Strategic Outcome and Program (dollars)
Strategic Outcome, Program and Internal Services 2011-12 Expenditures 2012-13 Expenditures 2013-14 Forecast Spending 2014-15 Main Estimates 2014-15 Planned Spending 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending
Strategic Outcome: Requestors’ rights under the Access to Information Act are safeguarded
Compliance with access to information obligations $8,756,961 $9,179,989 $9,562,385 $8,624,739 $8,624,739 $8,624,739 $8,624,739
Internal services $3,890,869 $3,112,691 $5,495,365 $2,576,221 $2,576,221 $2,576,221 $2,576,221
Total $12,647,830 $12,292,680 $15,057,750 $11,200,960 $11,200,960 $11,200,960 $11,200,960

Our single program, and related spending, fall under the spending area of Government Affairs in the Whole-of-Government Framework, and align to the following Government of Canada outcome: A transparent, accountable and responsive federal government.

Departmental Spending Trend

For the 2014–2015 fiscal year, we plan to spend $11.2 million to carry out our program and meet our strategic outcome. We are committed to using our financial resources in the most strategic and responsible manner possible.

Approximately 80 percent of our budget (excluding contributions to employee benefits plans) will be allocated to salaries and 20 percent to Operating and Maintenance (O&M) costs. Of the O&M budget, approximately 30 percent relates to fixed costs.

Spending Trend

View text

This chart shows the Office of the Information Commissioner’s (OIC) actual spending for 2011–2012 and 2012–2013, and forecast and planned spending for 2013–2014 through 2016–2017.

In 2011–2012, the OIC’s actual spending was $12,648,000. In 2012–2013, the OIC’s actual spending was $11,293,000.

In 2013–2014, the OIC plans to spend $15,058,000. In each year from 2014–2015 to 2016–2017, the OIC plans to spend $11,201,000.

The above figure illustrates our spending trend from 2011–2012 to 2016–2017. Spending has decreased year-over-year since 2011–2012, with the exception of 2013–2014, when we received a $2.6-million loan to cover the costs of our office relocation. Spending will level off in 2014–2015. We will need to review our planned expenditures in light of the two-year operational spending freeze announced in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, which will take effect beginning in 2014–2015.

Estimates by Vote

For information on the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada’s organizational appropriations, please see the 2014-2015 Main Estimates publication (under Department of Justice Canada).

Section II: Analysis of Program by Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome

Requestors’ rights under the Access to Information Act are safeguarded

Program

Compliance with access to information obligations

Description: The Access to Information Act is the statutory authority for the oversight activities of the Information Commissioner, which are: to investigate complaints from requestors; to review the performance of government institutions; to report results of investigations/reviews and recommendations to complainants, government institutions and Parliament; to pursue judicial enforcement; and to provide advice to Parliament on access to information matters. The Office of the Information Commissioner supports the Commissioner in carrying out these activities.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2014–15 Main Estimates 2014-15 Planned Spending 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending
$8,624,739 $8,624,739 $8,624,739 $8,624,739

Human Resources (full-time equivalents; FTEs)

2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
70 70 70

Performance Measurement

Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to be Achieved
Canadians receive timely resolution of complaints about how federal institutions process access to information requests Percentage of administrative cases completed within 90 days 85 percent March 31, 2015
Percentage of priority/early resolution cases completed within 6 months 75 percent March 31, 2015
Institutions meet their obligations under the Access to Information Act and adopt measures to address institutional and systemic issues affecting access to information Percentage of recommendations from investigations that are adopted 95 percent March 31, 2015*
Percentage of recommendations from report cards and systemic investigations that are adopted 80 percent March 31, 2015*

*We have met these targets for a number of years already.

Planning Highlights

The 2014–2015 fiscal year will see us develop and roll out our 2015–2018 strategic plan. The new plan will guide our work during the second half of the current Commissioner’s mandate. It will focus on how we will achieve the highest level of performance in investigating access to information complaints and become an effective catalyst for advancing access to information, and fostering openness and transparency. Input from employees and stakeholders will ensure the new plan is grounded in our current and anticipated challenges and opportunities.

Exemplary service to Canadians: We will continue to strive to meet demanding performance targets: to complete 85 percent of our administrative cases within 90 days and 75 percent of priority or early resolution cases within six months.Footnote1 This will require us to continue to improve our processes, ensure our investigators receive the training and support they need, and closely follow the progress of our investigations in order to keep them on track.

We will continue to target the files in our inventory that deal with national security, international affairs and defence, as well as complaints against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canada Revenue Agency. Together, these accounted for 39.1 percent of our inventory, as of December 31, 2013. Focusing on these groups of complaints will be among our priorities for 2014–2015, as we continue to seek ways to efficiently close the most files and help improve the overall health of the access system.

We will continue to strive to decrease our inventory of complaints and to absorb the growing complaint volume as best we can, despite the decrease in our resources, in pursuit of our goal of reaching a sustainable caseload of 500 to 700 files by 2017.

To that end, we will improve our existing investigative procedure, particularly for complex refusal cases. This more streamlined procedure will allow us to clearly communicate our expectations about how investigations will unfold by providing turnaround times and deadlines for various steps.

A leading access to information regime: In the first half of 2014, we will publish a special report to Parliament on modernizing the Access to Information Act. This report will be based on our experience with the Act over 30 years, and our analysis of modern access laws across Canada and around the world. We also received input from a variety of interested individuals and groups as part of our consultations in 2012–2013 on how to bring the Act up to date and help correct the democratic and accountability deficits at the federal level in Canada.

During the year, we will also complete all of our existing systemic investigations.

We will host a conference for federal-provincial-territorial access to information and privacy commissioners in Ottawa in the fall of 2014. Working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and carrying on our established relationship with the Canadian Bar Association, we will seek to capitalize on the strengths of all three organizations to present a cost-effective but valuable event for advancing the causes of access to information and privacy in Canada.

An exceptional workplace: Since our successful recruitment efforts have brought many new employees to the organization in recent years, talent management is a key priority for us. In light of this, we will fully implement our talent management program in 2014–2015, with the goals of achieving excellence and meeting our key result area of fostering an exceptional workplace. We will also ensure the program is compliant with the new Directive on Performance Management. In addition, we will focus on innovation during the year to help achieve further productivity gains even while responding to the growing volume of new complaints.

Internal Services

Description: Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services, Material Services; Acquisition Services; and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not those provided specifically to a program.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)

2014–15 Main Estimates 2014-15 Planned Spending 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending
$2,576,221 $2,576,221 $2,576,221 $2,576,221

Human Resources (full-time equivalents; FTEs)

2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
23 23 23

Planning Highlights

Internal services accounts for just 23 percent of our budget, compared to 30 percent four years ago. In minimizing the footprint of these functions, we have been able to divert significant resources to investigations, while not compromising our efficiency and effectiveness. In 2014–2015, we will build on this strong foundation and work to do even more to support the program and meet the full range of government policy requirements through innovation and shared approaches with other organizations.

In the wake of our staffing audit in 2012, the Public Service Commissioner commended us for how quickly we developed and implemented measures to improve our human resources processes. We similarly received another clean audit from the Office of the Auditor General, for the year ending March 31, 2013. In 2014–2015, we will continue to put processes and controls in place to ensure integrity and efficiency in both the human resources and financial realms.

Having integrated our internal audit and evaluation functions, as per the Policy on Evaluation, we will begin our first evaluation in 2014–2015. To help enhance the efficiency of our investigative function—and consequently continue to improve our service to complainants—the evaluation will focus on our complaints resolution process. We will use any recommendations the evaluation generates to improve the process and inform the development of our enhanced investigative procedure.

The early months of 2014–2015 will see us continuing to settle into our new offices. This will require the ongoing attention of our Corporate Services staff, as we adjust to the new accommodations and ensure that the physical and information technology (IT) infrastructure is functioning properly and not hindering our business or presenting any significant risks.

To that end, we will carry out in 2014–2015 a threat and risk assessment of our new Workplace 2.0 office space, since we are early adopters of this new standard for workplace design. To ensure the maximum benefit of this review, we have established and will lead a working group of 12 other organizations that will jointly participate in this project and share the results.

We will also conduct an audit of our IT and physical infrastructure security to assess the effectiveness of our management practices and controls to ensure security in our new space. Considering the sensitivity of the information stored on our network, the fact that our data centre and other physical areas will be shared in our new offices, and recent changes to government policy requirements for IT and physical security, completing this audit and acting on any recommendations will be a priority for 2014–2015.

Building on the firm foundation we established through our five-year IM/IT strategy, we will work to ensure our systems continue to facilitate investigations and corporate functions, and will implement modifications and upgrades as needed. In particular, we will complete the roll out of the legal component of our case management system. We will also seek opportunities to take advantage of virtualization technologies such as data clouds, as well standardization and centralization of data, in an effort to reduce costs and achieve efficiencies. Our Information Management team, among other projects, will update our Electronic Document and Records Management System to ensure it is compliant with the Directive on Recordkeeping.

Section III: Supplementary Information

Future-Oriented Statement of Operations

The future-oriented condensed statement of operations presented in this subsection is intended to serve as a general overview of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada’s operations. The forecasted financial information on expenses and revenues is prepared on an accrual accounting basis to strengthen accountability and to improve transparency and financial management.

Because the future-oriented statement of operations is prepared on an accrual accounting basis and the forecast and planned spending amounts presented in other sections of this report are prepared on an expenditure basis, amounts will differ.

A more detailed future-oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net costs of operations to the requested authorities, can be found on the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada’s website.

Future-Oriented Condensed Statement of Operations  
For the Year Ended March 31 (dollars
)
Financial Information Estimated Results 2013−14 Planned Results
2014–15
Change
Total expenses $14,914,414 $13,126,688 ($1,787,726)
Total revenues 0 0 0
Net cost of operations  $14,914,414 $13,126,688 ($1,787,726)

The difference of approximately $1.8 million between the estimated results for 2013–2014 and the planned results for 2014–2015 noted in the above table is primarily due to the higher than anticipated cost of our office relocation, previously announced budgetary measures, a reduction in services provided without charge, and other accrual accounting adjustments, such as amortization and accrual liabilities. Planned spending in 2014–2015 will remain stable in future years but will require close monitoring in light of the two-year operational spending freeze announced in the 2013 Speech from the Throne.

Supplementary Information Tables

The supplementary information tables listed in the 2014–15 Report on Plans and Priorities can be found on the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada’s website.

  • Upcoming Internal Audits and Evaluationsover the next three fiscal years

Tax Expenditures and Evaluations Report

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures annually in the Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication. The tax measures presented in the Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication are the sole responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Section IV: Organizational Contact Information

Layla Michaud
Director General, Corporate Services
Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
7th Floor, 30 Victoria Street
Gatineau QC  K1A 1H3

Tel.: 819-994-0004
Fax: 819-994-1768
Email: layla.michaud@oic-ci.gc.ca
Website: www.oic-ci.gc.ca

Endnotes

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Traditionally, we have measured our performance against our targets in terms of closure rates from the date we register complaints. However, measuring from date of assignment gives a more accurate picture, in light of our current staff complement, of the service requesters can expect to receive once an investigator begins working on a file.

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