Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act 2008-2009

Introduction

The Access to Information Act became law on July 1, 1983.

The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents and any person present in Canada, the right of access to information contained in government records, subject to certain specific and limited exceptions.

Section 72 of the Access to Information Act require that the head of every government institution prepare for submission to Parliament, an annual report on the administration of the Act within the institution during each financial year.

This report is intended to describe how the Canadian Space Agency administered its responsibilities during the period covered by the report in relation to the Act.

A. General information – Part I

1. Canadian Space Agency

To better understand the context in which the Access to Information Act is implemented, the following presents background information about the Canadian Space Agency.

The Canadian Space Agency reports to the Minister of Industry.

The mission of the Canadian Space Agency is as follows:

"The Canadian Space Agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity".

To achieve this, the Canadian Space Agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

  • Pursue excellence collectively;
  • Advocate a client-oriented attitude;
  • Support employee-oriented practices and open communications;
  • Commit to both empowerment and accountability;
  • Pledge to cooperate and to work with partners to our mutual benefit.

The Agency brings together most of the existing space programs of the federal government. It coordinates all elements of Canada's Space Program and manages major space-related activities in Canada. The Canadian Space Agency has the expertise to lead knowledge in Canadian specialty fields, and to sponsor, support and encourage the best Canadian companies to make the next steps in space development. More information on the Agency's activities can be found at www.asc-csa.gc.ca

2. Organization chart

This organization chart shows the major organizational components of the Agency for the reporting year. The Access to Information and Privacy Office is located at the Canadian Space Agency's Headquarters situated in Longueuil, Quebec.

3. Organization for the implementation of ATIP activities

The head of our institution pursuant to the Access to Information Act is the Minister of Industry. The Minister has delegated certain powers, duties and functions pursuant to the Act to the Director General, Operations and to some officers and employees of the Canadian Space Agency.

Operational responsibility for the implementation of the Act at the Canadian Space Agency has been delegated to the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator who reports to the Chief Information Officer.

The Coordinator manages the ATIP Office. The Coordinator has a close working relationship with Executive Committee members concerning the application of, and compliance with, the Act.

When an Access to Information request is received, the Coordinator consults the appropriate managers, the Legal Services Directorate, the Privacy Council Office, the Treasury Board Information Practices Group or other institutions, as required. When the Coordinator identifies a record as one that should be exempted under the Act, a recommendation to that effect is made to the Director General, Operations.

When a record is identified as exclusion under the Access to Information Act, the Coordinator recommends that the Legal Service directorate consult with the Privy Council Office to confirm that it is an excluded record.

Formal requests made under the Act are carefully documented for reporting purposes and future reference.

The Library at Headquarters in Longueuil makes available to the public the current version of Info Source, as well as departmental publications and manuals as requested under Section 71 of the Access to Information Act. The current version of Info Source can also be found at: www.infosource.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

B. Report – Access to Information Act - Part II

1. Highlights

  • During this report year, the Canadian Space Agency has received 20 requests from across Canada under the Access to Information Act. There was one outstanding request from the previous period. Four requests were carried forward to be processed in the next reporting period.
  • Out of 20 requests received, 60% originated from the media, 25% from academia, 10% from the public and 5% were from businesses.
  • Records were "all disclosed" in 47% of the responses to requests received and completed during this period.
  • Records were disclosed in part in 29% of the cases, and in 6% of the cases nothing was disclosed.
  • There were three requests that we were unable to process because no identifiable records existed.
  • Extensions were claimed in one case for consultation with other departments and in two cases to consult third parties.
  • Consultations from other Government Institutions amounted to 27.
  • No complaint was lodged during the 2008-2009 reporting year.
  • During this period, the ATIP Coordinator, together with the Information Security Committee, organized awareness sessions on handling sensitive documents at the CSA. Information sessions on ATI are also given on a regular basis.
  • A copy of the Delegation Order is attached at the end of this document.

2. Statistics report

The statistics report from the period April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 is included at the end of this chapter.

3. Interpretation /explanation of the statistics

a. Requests received

Twenty requests have been received during 2008-2009. Seventeen have been processed as one was outstanding from the previous year and four have been carried forward to be processed in the next reporting period.

b. Sources of requests received

These are broken down as per their source as follows:

Number Percentage
Media 12 60 %
Business 1 5 %
Public 2 10 %
Academia 5 25 %
20 100 %

These are broken down by province as follows :

Number Percentage
Ontario 17 85 %
Québec 3 15 %
20 100 %

4. Disposition of requests

a. Transfers

Since no other federal institutions were considered to be affected by any requests during this period, none were transferred.

b. Abandoned

There was no request abandoned by the applicant.

c. Unable to proceed

We were unable to process three requests because no identifiable records existed.

d. Completion time

The completion time can be summarized as follows:

Number Percentage
30 days or under 14 82.5 %
31 to 60 days 3 17.5 %
61 to 120 days 0 0 %
121 days or over 0 0 %
17 100 %

e. Extensions

Extensions were requested in one case for consultation with other departments and in two cases for consultation with third parties.

f. Release and method of access

Access was given by providing copies to requesters in 13 cases.

5. Fee waivers

The ATIP Coordinator determines, on a case-by-case basis the fee to be charged for an extensive or complex request.

During the period covered by this report, the ATIP Office recommended twice that the Director General, Operations waive the requirement to pay fees other than the application fees.

6. Formal / informal requests

During the reporting period, no request was treated informally.

The ATIP Office considers informal any requests that are for material already released in response to previous access to information requests, as well as documents that are already available to the public.

7. Consultations from other federal institutions

Twenty-seven consultation requests were received under the Access to Information Act from other federal institutions during this reporting period. These requests are always given priority within the time constraints that apply to each of them.

8. Exceptions and exclusions

During the period covered by this report, none of the records prepared in response to requests were subject to Section 69 of the Act.

9. Costs

The cost of administering the Access to Information Act is estimated at $62,806 for the reporting period. This cost represents a portion of the salary of the ATIP Coordinator and management overhead. It also includes a small amount to cover office supplies. This estimate covers the direct processing of requests and related correspondence with different levels of government and industry.

It does not include the time of the Executive Committee members, directors and managers or legal counsel consulted about requests. Some requests require consultation with various officers to decide how the requested information can be extracted, and with the applicant to determine exactly what information is requested. It does not include the cost of time spent in searching for records.

10. Complaints / investigations

No complaints were filed with the Office of the Information Commissioner during the year 2008-2009.

11. Awareness sessions

In addition to the management of Access requests, the ATIP Coordinator provides advice and guidance to CSA employees on compliance with the legislation. This is done by means of weekly information sessions on ATI request processing and on the handling of sensitive documents at CSA. The employees attend these sessions as needed.

12. Policies and procedures

The CSA policies and procedures for the Access to Information Act, including Section 67.1, are accessible on the Agency's Intranet.

Appendix B

Supplemental reporting requirements

Access to Information Act

In addition to the reporting requirements addressed in form TBS/SCT 350-62 "Report on the Access to Information Act", institutions are required to report on the following using this form:

Part III – Exemptions invoked

Section 13

Subsection 13(e): 0

Section 14

Subsections 14(a) and 14(b): 0

Part IV – Exclusions cited:

Subsection 69.1 (1): 0