Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act 2012-2013

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 requires that the head of every government institution prepares 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 (CSA) 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 mandate of the Canadian Space Agency is to promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians.

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 Agency promotes an environment where all levels of the organization:

  • pursue excellence collectively;
  • advocate a client-oriented attitude;
  • support employee-oriented practices and open communications;
  • commit itself 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 for the implementation of Access to Information 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, Corporate Services 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 (ATIP) Coordinator who reports to the Director General, Corporate Services.

The Coordinator manages the Access to Information and Privacy 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 and, as required, the Legal Services Directorate, the Treasury Board Information Practices Group or other institutions. 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, Corporate Services.

When a record is identified as exclusion under the Access to Information Act, the Coordinator recommends that the Legal Services 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 twenty-three requests under the Access to Information Act. There was one outstanding request from the previous period. Six requests were carried forward to be processed in the next reporting period. There were eighteen requests processed during the reporting period.
  • Out of the twenty-three requests received, six originated from the media, twelve were from the public, two originated from academia and three were from businesses.
  • Records were all disclosed in 11% of the requests received and completed during this period.
  • Records were disclosed in part in 22% of the cases and all exempted in 22% of the cases.
  • There were six requests that we were unable to process because no identifiable record existed.
  • Four requests were abandoned by the requesters.
  • Extensions were claimed in five cases for consultation with other departments, in one case for interference with operations and in five cases to consult third parties.
  • Consultations from other Government Institutions amounted to thirty-two, two of which were pending at the end of the reporting period.
  • One complaint lodged during the 2011-2012 reporting year was resolved and found to be "well founded - without recommendations" during this reporting period.
  • During this period, the ATIP Coordinator has organized and delivered nineteen sessions on handling sensitive documents at the CSA and on the processing of access requests.
  • 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, 2012 to March 31, 2013 is included at the end of this chapter.

3. Interpretation /explanation of the statistics

a. Requests received

Twenty-three new requests have been received during 2012-2013 and there was one request that was outstanding from the previous period. Eighteen were processed and six 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 6 26 %
Business 3 13 %
Academia 2 9 %
Public 12 52 %
23 100 %

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 were four requests abandoned by the applicants.

c. Unable to proceed

We were unable to process six requests because no identifiable record existed.

d. Completion time

The completion time can be summarized as follows:

  Number Percentage
30 days or under 13 72 %
31 to 60 days 1 5.5 %
61 to 120 days 1 5.5 %
181 to 365 days 3 17 %
18 100 %

e. Extensions

Extensions were requested in five cases for consultation with other departments, in five cases for third parties notices and in one case for interference with operations.

f. Release and method of access

Access was given by providing copies to requesters in four cases and two in electronic format. For the twelve requests that were all disclosed (2), disclosed in part (4), all exempted (2) and abandoned (4), 30,404 pages were processed and 7,340 were entirely or partially disclosed.

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, there were four occasions for the ATIP Office to recommend that the Director General, Corporate Services waive the requirement to pay the application fees.

6. Informal requests

During the reporting period, no requests were 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

Thirty-two consultation requests were received under the Access to Information Act from other federal institutions during this reporting period. Two of these requests have reported to be completed in the next reporting period. These requests are always given priority within the time constraints that apply to each of them. Each of these thirty consultation requests were treated in less than 30 days.

8. Exceptions and exclusions

During the period covered by this report, no record prepared in response to a request was subject to Section 69 of the Act.

9. Costs

The cost of administering the Access to Information Act is estimated at $78,748 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

One complaint lodged during the 2011-2012 reporting year was resolved and found to be "well founded - without recommendations" during this reporting period.

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 access to information request processing and on the handling of sensitive documents at CSA. The employees attend these sessions as needed. Nineteen formal sessions took place and thirty employees attended. ATIP policies and procedures are also included as part of a compulsory Information Management training to all CSA employees.

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. There was no update to these documents this year.