2012-2013 Canada Border Services Agency

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is part of the Public Safety Canada portfolio. The agency is responsible for providing border services in order to facilitate the free flow of persons and goods.

In 2012-13, CBSA received 3,147 requests during the reporting period, an increase of 69% compared to 2011-12, where 1,866 requests were received.Footnote 1 CBSA was also the second-ranked institution in terms of the number of requests received under the Access to Information Act, representing 5.7% of all requests received government-wide in 2012-13.

Overall, CBSA showed signs of improvement compared to the previous reporting period, despite an increased workload. It performed above government-wide levels on a number of indicators.

CBSA completed 83.05% of all requests in its inventory in 2012-13. The average time to complete a request was 43.5 days.Footnote 2

CBSA noted in its annual report that 37.6% of all requests received came from individuals seeking their Traveller History Report (THR).Footnote 3 Requests for THRs are usually less complex to process and yield a small volume of pages.

The vast majority (84%) of requests received by CBSA were from members of the public.

The average number of pages processed per request went down from 199 pages in 2011-12 to 112 in 2012-13. Additionally, only 2.3% of requests closed required processing 1,000 pages or more.

Table 1: Workload

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Number of requests received 1,866 3,147 68.65%
Number of consultations received (from other government institutions) 400 366 -8.50%
Average number of pages processed per request closed 199 112 -87
% of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed 4.29% 2.27% -2.02%
Note: The average number of pages processed per request closed and the percentage of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed are calculated from the total of requests completed for which the information was disclosed (in part or totally), exempted/excluded and for requests abandoned. It excludes requests completed for the following dispositions: no records exist, requests transferred and requests treated informally.


Approximately 71% of requests closed during the reporting period were completed within 30 days (similar to 2011-12).

However, there was an increase in the number of requests completed past the statutory deadline. The proportion of requests completed late almost doubled in this year, from 6.8% in 2011-12 to 11.9% in 2012-13. This represents a “C” grade.Footnote 4 Of the late requests, 60.6% were responded to within 30 days.

CBSA invoked workload (48.7% of the time) and the category “other”Footnote 5 (45.5% of the time) as the reasons for lateness.

Each year, the OIC receives notices regarding the use of extensions for more than 30 days and compiles this information in order to generate statistics. In 2012-13, the OIC received 228 notices of extension from CBSA, which represented a total of 344 separate extensions.


CBSA took a total of 408 extensions in 2012-13. About 58% of them were taken in order to consult pursuant to section 9(1)(b) of the Access to Information Act.

Most of the extensions taken in 2012-13 were for less than 30 days (53.7%). This proportion is similar to the one reported 2011-12.

The proportion of extensions taken under section 9(1)(a) (interference with operations) increased by 9.1% from 2011-12 to 2012-13.


Of the 2,891 requests completed in 2012-13, 45% were disclosed entirely, compared to 22.5% in 2011-12. This is a significant improvement and is partly explained by the large number of requests for THRs.

Table 2: Performance

Measures Reporting period 2011-12 Reporting period 2012-13 Difference
Completion of Requests
Completion rate 84.59% 83.05% -1.54%
Completion Time
% of requests closed within 30 days 72.62% 70.67% -1.95%
% of requests closed past statutory deadline 6.77% 11.93% 5.16%
% of consultations from government institution closed within 30 days 73.45% 68.47% -4.98%
% of extensions of 30 days or less 48.18% 53.68% 5.50%
Level of Disclosure
% of pages processed that were disclosed 68.73% 78.36% 9.63%
% of requests closed for which the information was disclosed entirely 22.54% 44.97% 22.43%
Note: The completion rate represents the number of requests completed divided by the total number of requests on hand, which includes the new requests received and the requests carried over from the previous reporting period.


The number of complaints received by the OIC against CBSA went up from 36 in 2011-12 to 63 in 2012-13.

Most were refusal complaints (41 complaints, 65.1%). Additionally, the proportion of administrative complaints increased slightly from 27.8% (10 complaints) in 2011-12 to 34.9% (22 complaints) in 2012-13.

Of the complaints received, 25 were discontinued and 23 are still pending (as of May 2014). Approximately 15% of complaints closed in 2012-13 (10 complaints) were well-founded.


Footnote 1

CBSA noted in its annual report that because of its high profile role in key Government of Canada initiatives (such as the Beyond the Border Action Plan), they are expecting to receive a higher volume of requests annually. To respond to this increase in requests, CBSA has launched a process to hire more ATIP consultants.

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Footnote 2

Based on response to parliamentary written question Q-485.

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Footnote 3

To respond to this increase in requests for THR, CBSA had 8 full time employees solely working on processing them.

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Footnote 4

The 2007-08 OIC report card grading system was used to estimate the grade: A=0 to 5%, B= 5 to 10%, C=10 to 15%, D=15% to 20%, F=more than 20%.

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Footnote 5

The “other” reasons why an institution completed requests past their statutory deadline, according to the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Guide for the Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act, could be because of the unavailability of key officials, difficulties in obtaining relevant records, labour disputes, and lengthy power outages. The category “other” is defined as reasons other than workload and consultations.

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