Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Privacy Act 2014-2015

Table of contents

Introduction

The Privacy Act became law on July 1, 1983.

The Act extends the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by government institutions and provides individuals with a right of access to that information.

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 2014–2015 period.

General information – Part I

1. Canadian Space Agency

To better understand the context in which the Privacy 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 Industry. 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."

Mission

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 privacy activities

The head of our institution pursuant to the Privacy Act is the Minister of Industry. The Minister has delegated certain powers, duties and functions pursuant to the Act to the Vice President of the Canadian Space Agency position incumbent and to some CSA officers and employees position incumbents.

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 a privacy 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 an exclusion under the Privacy 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.

Report – Privacy Act – Part II

1. Interpretation of the statistics report on privacy requests

Highlights

  • The number of privacy requests and the number of pages processed and disclosed decreased significantly in 2014–2015.
  • All of the requests received were processed within the 30-day time frame prescribed by the Act.

The statistical report from the period of April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 is included at the end of this chapter.

Requests received and processed

The number of privacy requests received and processed throughout the current fiscal year dropped compared with the previous three fiscal years. In fact, it was 2010–2011 when a comparable number of requests was last received.

In 2014–2015, the CSA received a total of three new requests compared with nine in 2013–2014. In addition to the requests received in 2014–2015, one request was carried forward from the previous year. Therefore, in total, the CSA processed four privacy requests in 2014–2015.

The following table displays the trend among requests carried forward and received in the last five fiscal years:

Processed Requests

Graphique. Le tableau de données suit.
2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015
Carried forward from the previous fiscal year 0 0 2 0 1
Received throughout the year 2 10 7 9 3

Dispositions and processing times

The Act stipulates that privacy requests must normally be answered within 30 calendar days. All of the privacy requests processed in 2014–2015 were answered in less than 30 days, and of these, two requests were answered in less than 15 days.

Exceptions and exclusions invoked

Given the number of requests answered in 2014–2015, the CSA made partial disclosure in three of the four requests processed. No records were found to answer the other request.

Of the three requests for which records were disclosed, only one exemption was invoked in order to protect information about another individual (section 26).

Format of information disclosed

Exceptionally in 2014–2015, records were partially disclosed in electronic format for one of the three requests for which records were disclosed.

Following the trend of previous years, all responses were disclosed on paper and 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 2014–2015, fewer pages were reviewed (535) than in the previous year (3,292). The number of pages disclosed also dropped by 2,757 for a total of 535 pages disclosed in 2014–2015.

This gap is the direct result of a decrease in the number of requests received throughout the year. The table below displays the variations.

Number of Pages Disclosed

2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015
Number of pages 3130 1516 3292 535

Consultations and extensions

Unlike in the previous fiscal year, no deadline extensions were required to process the four privacy requests received.

Consultations from other federal institutions or organizations

The Canadian Space Agency rarely receives consultation requests from other federal institutions or organizations, and no requests of this type were received in 2014–2015.

Costs

The cost of administering the Privacy Act is estimated at $5,009 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 the related correspondence with applicants.

It does not include the time of Executive Committee members, directors and managers or legal counsel consulted about requests.

2. Disclosure under subsections 8(2) and 8(5)

The policy of the Canadian Space Agency concerning the use of personal information is that such information is used for the purpose for which it was obtained or for a use consistent with that purpose.

No personal information was disclosed under paragraph 8(2)(e) (disclosure to investigative bodies), or paragraph 8(2)(m) and subsection 8(5) (disclosure in the public interest or in the interest of the individual).

3. Requests for correction of personal information

No requests for correction of personal information were received during the period covered by this report.

If any such requests had been received, the ATIP Coordinator would have informed the manager of the Information Management Sector and the director responsible for this information.

4. Complaints

The Canadian Space Agency did not receive any complaints during the fiscal year. Furthermore, there were no unresolved complaints during the period covered by this report.

5. Exempt banks

The Canadian Space Agency has no exempt bank under the Privacy Act.

6. Privacy impact assessment

No new activities or programs were implemented and no major privacy-related changes were made that would have required a privacy impact assessment.

However, if such a situation had occurred, the ATIP Coordinator would have worked with the appropriate CSA sectors to identify potential privacy risks and eliminate or reduce these risks to an acceptable level.

7. 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 12 employees, and another 10 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.

8. Policies and procedures

The CSA's policies and procedures for administering the Privacy Act are accessible on the Agency's intranet. No changes were made to the policies and procedures in 2014–2015.

9. Planned activities

Through its Access to Information and Privacy Office, the CSA will continue its mandate to respond to all privacy requests in accordance with the spirit and letter of the Act.

In 2015–2016, it will focus on developing effective, efficient tools by implementing an electronic system for managing access to information requests.