Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act 2013-2014

Table of content

  1. General information – Part I
    1. Canadian Space Agency (Part I)
    2. Organization for the implementation of Access to Information activities
  2. Report – Access to Information Act - Part II
    1. Highlights
    2. Statistics report (Part II)
    3. Interpretation /explanation of the statistics
      1. Requests received
      2. Sources of requests received
    4. Disposition of requests
      1. Transfers
      2. Abandoned
      3. Unable to proceed
      4. Completion time
      5. Extensions
      6. Release and method of access
    5. Fee waivers
    6. Informal requests
    7. Consultations from other federal institutions
    8. Exceptions and exclusions
    9. Costs
    10. Complaints / investigations
    11. Awareness sessions
    12. Policies and procedures

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 Vice President 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 Vice President.

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 Vice President.

When a record is identified as exclusion under the Access to Information Act, the Coordinator consults with the Legal Services Directorate 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.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/transparency/default.asp

B. Report – Access to Information Act - Part II

1. Highlights

  • During this report year, the Canadian Space Agency has received thirty-eight requests under the Access to Information Act. There were six outstanding requests from the previous period. Six requests were carried forward to be processed in the next reporting period. There were thirty-eight requests processed during the reporting period.
  • Out of the forty-four requests received, twenty-seven originated from the media, ten were from the public, four originated from academia and three were from businesses.
  • Records were all disclosed for nine of the requests received and completed during this period.
  • Records were disclosed in part in eighteen of the requests received and completed during this period, no request was all exempted and one was all excluded.
  • There was one request that we were unable to process because no identifiable record existed.
  • Two requests were abandoned by the requesters.
  • Seven requests were treated informally.
  • Extensions were claimed in nine cases for consultation with other departments, in two cases for interference with operations and in six cases to consult third parties.
  • Consultations from other Government Institutions amounted to thirty-two and one was received from another organizations.
  • No complaint was lodged during the 2013-2014 reporting year and there is no outstanding complaint.
  • During this period, the ATIP Coordinator has organized and delivered twenty 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, 2013 to March 31, 2014 is included at the end of this chapter.

3. Interpretation /explanation of the statistics

a. Requests received

Thirty-eight new requests have been received during 2013-2014 and there were six requests that were outstanding from the previous period. Thirty-eight 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 25 66 %
Business 3 8 %
Academia 4 10 %
Public 6 16 %
38 100 %

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 one request because no identifiable record existed.

d. Completion time

The completion time can be summarized as follows:

  Number Percentage
30 days or under 21 55 %
31 to 60 days 11 29 %
61 to 120 days 4 11 %
121 to 365 days 1 2.5 %
More than 365 days 1 2.5 %
38 100 %

Monitoring of the time required to process access to information requests is done by the ATIP Coordinator on a case by case basis and advises the Manager, Information Management when required.

e. Extensions

Extensions were requested in nine cases for consultation with other departments, in six cases for third parties notices and in two cases for interference with operations.

f. Release and method of access

Access was given by providing paper copies to requesters in seventeen cases and in ten cases in electronic format. For the requests that were all disclosed (9), disclosed in part (18), all excluded (1) and abandoned (2), 11,808 pages were processed and 11,276 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 was no occasion for the ATIP Office to recommend that the Vice President waive the requirement to pay the application fees.

6. Informal requests

During the reporting period, seven 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 from other federal institutions and one request from another organization were received under the Access to Information Act during this reporting period. These requests are always given priority within the time constraints that apply to each of them. Thirty-one of these requests were treated in less than 15 days.

8. Exceptions and exclusions

During the period covered by this report, two records prepared in response to a request were subject to Section 69 of the Act.

9. Costs

The cost of administering the Access to Information Act is estimated at $98,147 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 complaint was received or outstanding for the period covered by this report.

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. Twenty formal sessions took place and twenty-two 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.