Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Access to Information Act 2015-2016
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- Report – Access to Information Act - Part II
The Access to Information Act became law on July 1, 1983.
The 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.
Pursuant to section 72, the head of every federal institution shall prepare an annual report on the administration of this Act within its institution. This report is submitted to Parliament at the end of each fiscal year.
This report is intended to describe how the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) administered its responsibilities in relation to the Act during the 2015-2016 period.
General information – Part I
1. Canadian Space Agency
To better understand the context in which the Access to Information Act is implemented within the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the following provides a general overview of the Agency's objectives and activities.
The Canadian Space Agency reports to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Its mandate, as defined in the Canadian Space Agency Act, 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 Canadian Space Agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.
To achieve its mission, the CSA:
- pursues excellence collectively;
- advocates a client-oriented attitude;
- supports employee-oriented practices and open communication;
- commits itself to both empowerment and accountability;
- pledges to cooperate and to work with partners to our mutual benefit.
The Canadian Space Agency has been a source of inspiration for Canadians for 25 years now. In addition to consolidating major federal space programs, it coordinates all the components of the Canadian Space Program and manages Canada's major space-related activities. The CSA has the expertise to lead knowledge in Canadian speciality 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 of the implementation of Access to Information activities
The head of our institution pursuant to the Access to Information Act is the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Certain powers, duties and functions have been delegated pursuant to the Act to the Vice President of the Canadian Space Agency position incumbent and to some CSA officers and employees position incumbents.
The responsibility for implementing the Act at the CSA has been delegated to the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinator position incumbent, who reports to the Vice President.
The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office is managed by the Coordinator, who has a close working relationship with the Executive Committee members concerning the application of, and compliance with, the Act.
Processing of requests
When an access to information request is received, the Coordinator consults the appropriate managers and, as required, Justice Canada, the Treasury Board Information Practices Group or other institutions.
When the Coordinator identifies a record as one that should be protected under the Act, an exemption is recommended to the Vice President. When a record is identified as exclusion under the Act, the Coordinator consults with Justice Canada, which consults with the Privy Council Office, as needed, to confirm that it is an excluded record.
Formal requests made under the Act are carefully documented for reporting purposes and future reference.
Report – Access to Information Act – Part II
1. Interpretation of the statistical report on Access to Information requests
The statistical report from the period of April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 is included at the end of this chapter.
Requests received and processed
The number of access requests received and processed dropped from the previous fiscal year, from 18 to 12. It can be noted that the number recorded in 2015-2016 falls below the average number of requests received and processed annually (approximately 20) over the last five years.
In addition to the requests received in 2015-2016, 4 requests were carried forward from the previous year. Therefore, the Agency processed a total of 12 requests in 2015-2016 because 4 of the new requests have been carried forward to the next exercise.
The following table displays the trend among requests carried forward and received in the last four fiscal years:
|Carried forward from the previous fiscal year||4||5||6||1|
|Received throughout the year||12||17||38||23|
Informal requests are those for which the requested information has already been disclosed pursuant to the Act. No fees can be charged and the request is not subject to a processing time frame. Moreover, the Act does not give the applicant the right to file a complaint with the Information Commissioner.
The CSA processed 12 informal requests in 2015-2016. This represents an increase of 100% over the last fiscal year. These requests began to be recorded as part of the CSA's annual statistical reports only five years ago. The following chart displays the variances in informal requests:
|Number of informal requests||12||4||7||0|
Sources of requests
Again this year, the media accounted for the lion's share of requests (50%), while each of the commercial sector and members of the public accounted for 17%.
The following table shows the sources of requests.
|Media: 50%||University: 8%||Commercial: 17%||Organization: 8%||Public: 17%|
Dispositions and processing times
The Act stipulates that access requests must normally be answered within 30 calendar days. Of those processed in 2015-2016, 4 requests (33%) were answered in less than 30 days.
It is also important to note that the Act provides for extended deadlines for certain requests where consultations are needed with third parties or other organizations. Given the nature of the documents sought from the CSA in 2015-2016, some requests required such consultations. The CSA therefore had to extend the deadlines to be able to discharge its obligations under the Act.
Thus, a total of 4 requests were extended throughout the fiscal year. Of these, 4 extended requests, answers were delivered within the time frames specified in the Act for two requests while the other 2 could not be answered on time.
|1 to 15||16 to 30||31 to 60||61 to 120||121 to 180||181 to 365||365 +|
|No record exists2||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
Exceptions and exclusions invoked
Given the number of requests answered in 2015-2016, the CSA invoked exemptions and exclusions for 9 cases (75%).
In addition to certain Cabinet confidences, the CSA has many documents containing commercial, technical and financial information from third parties, all because of its activities. In most cases, these documents require the application of exemptions and exclusions.
The following table shows the frequency of exemptions and exclusions invoked in 2015-2016. Note that more than one section may be invoked for a given request.
|Exemption and Exclusion Sections Invoked||Frequency|
Format of information disclosed
In 2015-2016, a total of 8 requests resulted in partial disclosure. Of this number, 5 responses (62%) were disclosed on paper, while 3 others (38%) in electronic format.
Again this year, as has been the case for many years, no records were consulted in the Agency's reading room.
Pages reviewed and disclosed
With the introduction in 2011-2012 by the Treasury Board Secretariat of a new detailed statistical report, it is now possible to report the number of pages reviewed and compare it with the number of pages disclosed.
These page numbers may vary considerably from year to year, depending on the subjects and the quantity of relevant records held by the Agency.
In 2015-2016, fewer pages were reviewed (2,461) than in the previous year (5,024). This gap is the direct result of a decrease in the number of requests received throughout the year.
The number of pages disclosed also decreased slightly from 2,613 pages to 2,215 pages in 2015-2016.
|Number of pages||2215||2613||11061||7318|
Consultations and extensions
Given the nature of the CSA's operations, particularly with respect to funding granted under the Canadian Space Agency Class Grant and Contribution Program to Support Research in Space Science and Technology, the CSA collects information from a number of third parties.
It is not unusual for requests processed to require consultations with third parties and hence extensions of the times stipulated in the Act. The CSA consults its third parties and sometimes other federal institutions to provide as much information as possible, as required by both the spirit and the letter of the Act.
In order to meet the demands of the Act, extensions were granted for 4 out of 12 requests processed (33%) by the CSA. In each case, applicants were advised of the extension in accordance with the Act.
Consultations from other federal institutions
In 2015-2016, the CSA processed a total of 45 consultation requests from other federal institutions. These requests accounted for a total of 489 pages for processing.
The number of consultation requests has been rising for the past four fiscal years, as shown by the chart below.
|Number of consultations||45||35||32||30|
Of these 45 consultations, 34 CSA recommendations resulted in full disclosure (76%) and 10 partial disclosure (23%). The CSA also requested that the advisory documents of a file be exempted in their entirety.
The majority of these requests were processed within 30 days (98%), while 1 other request was processed within a time frame of 31 to 60 days (2%).
Cabinet confidences consultations
In 2015-2016, consultations were already underway for 2 of the requests carried forward from the previous fiscal year to confirm with Justice Canada the applicability of section 69.
This department was consulted under the 2013 guidelines, according to which it could now confirm the applicability of section 69. This consultation request was processed in less than 30 days.
Consultations to determine the applicability of section 69 require that the CSA consult with Justice Canada or the Privy Council Office, which always causes an issue with respect to the delivery of the response to the applicant. However, the 2013 guidelines on initial consultations with Justice Canada are improving consultation time frames.
Fees and exemptions
The CSA complies with the Treasury Board Secretariat guidelines regarding the imposition of and the exemption from access fees. It determines, based on the perceived public interest, whether to collect reproduction, research and preparation fees in full or not.
In 2015-2016, a net amount of $60 was collected for the submission of requests. However, no research, production, programming, preparation, alternative format or reproduction fees were charged.
The cost of administering the Access to Information Act is estimated at $112,291 for the reporting period. This cost represents a portion of the salary of the ATIP Coordinator and management overhead. 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 Executive Committee members, directors and managers or legal counsel consulted about requests.
2. Complaints and investigations
No complaints were filed or pending in 2015-2016.
3. Follow-up on processing requests
The time required to process access to information requests is monitored through the electronic ATIP management system and a weekly report is prepared for the Vice-President as well as to other persons concerned by these requests
4. Awareness sessions
In addition to managing access to information and privacy requests, the ATIP Coordinator provides CSA employees with advice and guidance on compliance with the legislation. This is done by means of weekly information sessions on access to information and privacy request processing and on marking documents at the CSA. Employees attend these sessions as needed.
In total, one group information session was attended by 8 employees, and another 6 people received individual training.
Note that access to information and privacy policies and procedures are part of mandatory information management training given to all CSA employees.
5. Policies and procedures
The CSA's policies and procedures for administering the Access to Information Act, including subsection 67.1, are accessible on the Agency's intranet. No changes were made to the policies and procedures in 2015-2016.
6. Info Source
The Treasury Board Secretariat requires an updated account of all the CSA's information holdings so that they can be included in Info Source. This update is done annually by the ATIP Coordinator.
Info Source is hosted on the CSA's Web site and the most recent version is available at: www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/transparency/aipa/info-source.asp.
7. Reading room
In addition to using the Act to access various records, the public is encouraged to use existing mechanisms to obtain information held by federal institutions. To that end, the CSA has designated the library at the CSA Headquarters in Longueuil as the reading room.
Through its Access to Information and Privacy Office, the CSA will continue its mandate to respond to all requests for access to information in accordance with the spirit and letter of the Act.
In 2015-2016 the CSA posted all its summaries of completed access to information requests on open.canada.ca and implemented an electronic system for managing access to information requests. Also, the CSA has joined the government wide portal that offers the possibility for users to file an access to information request online.
Delegation of authorities
Access to Information Act
Canadian Space Agency
Access to Information Act and Privacy Act Delegation Order
The Minister of Industry Canada, pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, or the persons occupying on an acting basis those positions, to exercise the powers and functions of the Minister as the head of a government institution, under the section of the Acts set out in the schedule opposite each position. This Delegation Order supersedes all previous Delegation Orders
|Position||Access to information Act and Regulations||Privacy Act and Regulations|
|Vice President||Full authority||Full authority|
|Chief Information Officer||Full authority||Full authority|
|Coordinator ATIP Services||Section: 4(2.1), 7, 8(1), 9, 11(2), (3), (4), (5), (6),12, 25, 26, 27(1), (4), 43,44,71,72||Section : 8(4), 9(1), (4), 10, 15, 17, 31, 35(4), 72(1)|
Dated, at the City of Ottawa
this 10 day of June, 2016
The Honourable Navdeep Singh Bains
Minister of Industry (to be known as Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development)
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