Annual Report Access to Information Act April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
Chapter I - Report on the Access to Information Act
The Access to Information Act (ATIA) provides the Canadian public with a broad right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution. This is in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public and that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific.
Section 72 of the ATIA requires that the Head of every federal government institution submit an annual report to Parliament on the administration of this Act over the fiscal year. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has delegated the administration of the ATIA,including the reporting of the Annual Report, to the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).
This report describes how the CSC fulfilled its access to information responsibilities during the reporting period covering 2016-2017.
2.1 About the Correctional Service Canada
CSC was formed in 1979 through the amalgamation of the Canadian Penitentiary Service and the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). CSC has the fundamental obligation to contribute to public safety by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control.
It does this by operating under the rule of law, in particular the Correctional and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), which provides its legislative framework. The Commissioner of CSC has the authority, extending from the CCRA, to issue directives, procedures and guidelines to carry out the agency's operations.
CSC contributes to public safety by administering court-imposed sentences for offenders sentenced to two years or more. This involves managing institutions (penitentiaries) of various security levels and supervising offenders on different forms of conditional release, while assisting them in become law-abiding citizens. CSC also administers post-sentence supervision of offenders with Long Term Supervision Orders for up to 10 years.
CSC works closely with its Public Safety Portfolio partners, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the PBC, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and three review bodies, including the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI).
2.2 The Access to Information and Privacy Division
The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Division is part of the Policy Sector and reports to the Director General of Rights, Redress and Resolution. The Division is responsible for the overall administration of the ATIA and the Privacy Act. In addition, each sector, region, institution, district, parole office and community correctional centre has an access to information and privacy liaison who assists the national ATIP Division in administering its overall responsibilities.
During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the ATIP Division continued to improve and streamline its processes with the overall goal of increasing the efficiency of the office.
The ATIP Division is comprised of one Director, three Deputy Directors, five Team Leaders, one Senior Policy Advisor, a Policy and Training Unit and 27 Analysts who process requests for information under the ATIA and Privacy Act. There is also an Information Processing and Reporting Unit comprised of one Office Manager and a team of clerical support staff. The IPRU is responsible for processing incoming requests, generating routine correspondence, tasking the institutions in order to retrieve records for privacy requests, ensuring quality control, preparing final release packages for the mail, and providing general support to the ATIP office. There is one team dedicated to processing requests made under the ATIA. This team is led by a Team Leader and is comprised of five employees at the PM-03 and PM-04 level. The Access team is responsible for reviewing and analyzing documents, providing guidance, conducting consultations, processing complaints received about their files from the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC), and providing guidance and support to program areas on the application of the ATIA. The Policy and Training Unit develops reports, policies, guidelines, tools and procedures to support ATIP requirements within CSC, oversees the Privacy Impact Assessment process, manages privacy breaches, processes complaints on the use and disclosure of personal information from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) and acts as a complaints liaison for the ATIP Division, and provides training to CSC employees.
During the fiscal year 2016-2017, there were six full-time equivalents (FTE), and one casual employee whose time was devoted to ATIA activities. In addition, there were two FTEs on extended leave.
2.3 Operational Challenges
The ATIP Division continues to process a large number of complex access requests, while trying to balance the processing of a large volume of Privacy Act requests, relating to
- investigations, mortality, and fact-finding reports;
- cell phone surveillance technology;
- employee matters, such as disciplinary reports;
- health services, such as prescription medications provided to offenders;
- contraband seized in institutions;
- food services;
- mental health;
- administrative segregation; and
- Commissioner's briefing notes and communications on various CSC initiatives.
In addition to the increased number of complex requests, the ATIP Division resources were used to support the Department of Justice (DOJ) on a number of ongoing litigation cases.
Retention of qualified ATIP professionals continues to be a challenge as more staff retire and leave for other opportunities.
3.0 Highlights & accomplishments
3.1 Improved Efficiencies
During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, CSC's ATIP Division identified and implemented practices in an effort to make things more efficient. These included:
- Building the ATIP Division's Human Resources component. During this past fiscal year, a number of staffing actions, deployments and appointments were launched in an effort to build ATIP's staff complement. The resulting actions included the appointments of a new Deputy Director, ATIP analysts and clerical support (CR-04 to PM-04 levels). An external competition for a PM-05 Team Leader is currently underway and is expected to be staffed in 2017-2018.
- The implementation of a new process as a result of the Correctional Investigator's "In the Dark" Report, to provide as much information as possible to family members of deceased offenders and to ensure follow up with a designated point of contact that can meet to discuss the specifics in a compassionate manner.
- Regional sites, including institutions, continue to scan documents to the ATIP Division through a secure drive which has resulted in records being provided t for processing in a more timely fashion while at the same time contributing to a paperless environment.
- The use of encryption of emails allowing for the more timely exchange of Protected B information with government partners, in particular the OPC and the OIC.
- The refinement of the complaint management process so that the ATIP Division can work closely with the OIC to respond to formal complaints and queries using a single point of contact. New written procedures have been developed and a complaints coordinator has been named to monitor the standard complaints email account.
- The Information Processing and Reporting Unit (formerly the Intake Unit) continuing to be the central hub for the ATIP divisional intake process and providing ongoing support to the ATIP Division. One of the key activities is to clear and inventory the ATIP Division's file room and ensure that the Division is only keeping information required for retention.
3.2 Litigation Project
During this fiscal year, CSC's ATIP Division worked with the DOJ on a number of Litigation projects that resulted in the review and retrieval of documents to assist with the collection and indexing of documents in relation to ongoing court cases. A number of the ATIP Division's resources were diverted from operational duties to respond quickly to these particular requests.
3.3 Consensus Rationale Team
As a result of staff feedback, the ATIP Division is currently developing a set of rationales that will assist in the application and consistency of exemptions applied concerning various subjects. This document will be used by staff as a central resource for ATIP information, specifically in complaint responses.
3.4 Policies, Guidelines, and Procedures
During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the ATIP Division implemented new access to information policies, practices and procedures, including:
The improved reporting of access to informationrequests through weekly reports to senior management
- The refinement of the AccessPro Case Management system to include early resolution complaints.
- The development of service standards which were provided to the ATIP community for consultation requests sent to CSC.
- The updated Delegation Orders which were prepared and signed off by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to better align with the Privacy Act Delegation Order.
- A notice was sent to ATIP liaisons concerning the elimination of search and preparation fees.
- The implementation of new procedures for the approval of statistical information in response to access to informationrequests to ensure accuracy and improved coordination.
3.5 Training & Awareness
The Policy and Training Unit plays a fundamental role in developing and delivering training to employees at National Headquarters (NHQ), Regional Headquarters and in the Institutions across Canada, as well as the ATIP staff, on ATIP related matters.
During this reporting period, the ATIP Division continued delivering ATIP Awareness Training to the sectors and the regions in order to ensure CSC employees have an understanding of ATIP and the importance of their role in the process. Regional ATIP Liaisons also delivered training sessions within their regions. Employees were trained from various areas of CSC, including:
- Health Services
- Technical Services and Facilities
- ATIP Liaisons
- Strategic Policy
- Assistant Wardens and Deputy Wardens
- Security Intelligence Officers
A total of 13 training sessions were delivered this reporting period - 185 employees received ATIP training at NHQ and in the regions.
The Policy and Training Unit continues to offer training to Regional ATIP Liaisons and to provide advice and answer questions and concerns regarding training, policy and guidelines, interpretations of the acts through its GEN-NHQ Policy and Training email account.
3.6 ATIP Website - Internal and External
CSC's ATIP Division continued to work with the e-Communications colleagues on the Intranet Renewal Project. The new site will continue to educate the wider CSC community on privacy related issues, including ATIP legislation, policies and procedures, directives, privacy breach prevention and reporting, Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) procedures, and a list of ATIP Tips and Bulletins.
In accordance with Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) guidelines, CSC posts summaries of completed access to information requests on a monthly basis on the Government of Canada's Open Government portal.
To view CSC's Completed Access to Information Requests page, please visit:
ATIP's external internet continues to be user-friendly and includes dedicated pages for instructions on submitting access and privacy requests, the duty to assist, an up-to-date list of the completed Privacy Impact Assessments, and frequently asked questions. To view the ATIP Division's Internet site, please visit:
3.7 Info Source
CSC is responsible for providing comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date descriptions of its functions, programs, activities. CSC's program records continue to be properly described and reflect its 2016-2017 Program Activity Architecture.
During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, CSC ATIP worked closely with CSC's Information Management Services on the Information Records of Business Value project to assist in identifying official records.
CSC's Info Source chapter can be found on its external website and will be updated as revisions arise:
3.8 Ongoing Activities
Throughout the 2016-2017 fiscal year, officials of the ATIP Division supported the administration of the ATIA through many of its other activities, including:
- Reviewing CSC's forms to ensure they contain the required accessstatements.
- Participating as a member of GCconnex - the Forum serves as a direct link to the ATIP community where members discuss issues including PIAs, policy developments and training initiatives.
- Attending networking functions with other ATIP colleagues such as the ATIP Community meetings presided by the TBS, as well as their workshops.
- Strengthening communication and relationship with the OIC by participating in ongoing meetings and discussions.
- Providing advice to CSC employees on access matters and responding to general ATIP questions from our colleagues in the sectors and regions.
- Participating in CSC led projects, such as information management document collection initiatives.
- Generating compliance reports which are reviewed by Senior Management on a weekly basis, including briefings by the ATIP Director, to ensure that access to information requests are being processed by legislative due dates.
- An access to information component remains in the Performance Agreements for Senior Management which requires their sign off on all transmittal notices and checklists in an effort to ensure accuracy and thoroughness of all access to information retrievals.
- The restructuration of the ATIP Division's workflow to better organize and decrease the processing time for requests.
- Actively monitoring the intake and processing of files on a weekly basis as well as regularly reassessing priorities and redistributing workloads.
4.0 Delegation of authority
A new Delegation Order for the ATIA was signed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The Delegation Order extends the delegation of authorities to the Team Leaders for certain types of routine requests in keeping with the Privacy Act Delegation Order.
The responsibilities associated with the administration of the ATIA, such as notifying applicants of extensions and transferring requests to other institutions, are delegated to the departmental ATIP Coordinator through a delegation instrument signed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The approval of exemptions remains with the Director, the Deputy Directors as well as the Team Leaders. Delegation for public interest releases, as well as research and statistics, rests with the Commissioner, the Senior Deputy Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner of the Policy Sector.
A detailed delegation instrument can be viewed in Appendix A.
Chapter II – Access to Information Act Statistical Report and Supplementary Reporting Requirements for 2015-2016
5.0 Statistical report
See Appendix B for CSC's Statistical Report on the ATIA.
6.0 Interpretation of the 2015-2016 statistical report
6.1 Requests received under the Access to Information Act
In 2016-2017, CSC received 582 ATIA requests - 252 requests were carried over from the previous reporting period for a total of 834 requests. Please refer to Appendix B for the statistical report.
This graph shows that in the 2014-2015 reporting period there were 737 formal requests requiring processing. In 2015-2016, there were 865 and in 2016-2017 there were 834 requests.
6.2 Source of Requests
Of the 582 received, the majority of CSC's requests originated from the public (offenders are included in this category), totaling 377. Media accounted for 128 requests received; 44 requests were received from Businesses; 15 requests were received from Academia; 14 requests were received from Organizations and four declined to identify.
The following graph details the breakdown of requests received by each group:
This graph shows that in the 2016-2017 reporting period, CSC received 377 requests from the Public; 128 requests from Media; 44 from Business; 15 from Academia; 14 from Organizations; four from sources who declined to identify; and no requests were received from Political parties.
6.3 Disposition of Requests
Of the 508 requests completed during this reporting period, full disclosure was provided in response to 104 requests and partial disclosure was provided in 181 cases. Information was withheld in its entirety pursuant to exemptions in 17 cases and in two cases the information was excluded. CSC was unable to process 67 requests as a result of no records existing; 127 were abandoned; eight were transferred to other federal government institutions; and two were neither confirmed nor denied. A total of 55,577 pages were processed.
This graph shows that in the 2016-2017 reporting period 104 requests were fully disclosed; 181 requests were partially disclosed; 17 requests were withheld in their entirety; information was excluded in two requests; 67 requests were unable to be processed; 127 requests were abandoned; eight requests were transferred to other government institutions; and two requests were neither confirmed nor denied.
A breakdown of the exemptions/exclusions applied during this reporting period is as follows:
|Exemption Description||Number of Times Applied|
|Obtained in Confidence||25|
|International Affairs and Defence||3|
|Law Enforcement & Investigation||105|
|Investigations, examinations and audits||71|
|Safety of Individuals||0|
|Third Party Information||37|
|Operations of Government (Advice)||69|
|Information to be published||2|
A total of 165 extensions were required during this reporting period. As requests get more voluminous, complex and require an increased amount of programming time when asking for statistics, the need for dedicated search time is subsequently increased.
6.6 Completion Time
During the reporting period, CSC completed 228 requests in less than 30 days; 144 between 31 and 60 days; 74 requests between 61 to 120 days; 24 requests between 121 to 180 days and 38 were closed over 180 days. The majority of the requests which required extensive processing time resulted from consultations with other federal government departments.
6.7 Informal Requests
During the reporting period, 189 informal requests were received, and 98 were completed, 88 of the completed releases were previously released access to information packages. The remaining requests were for requests for information that were not processed under the ATIA.
6.8 Method of Access
Where information was available for release, copies were provided in 285 cases which included paper copies, electronic and CDs.
6.9 Consultations from Other Institutions
The ATIP Division's workload involves responding to consultations in response to formal requests received by other institutions. CSC works closely with its partners under the Public Safety portfolio such as CBSA, RCMP, CSIS, PBC and the OCI, in order to respond to consultations in a timely fashion.
During the 2016-2017 reporting period, the ATIP Division received a total of 90 consultations from other government institutions and organizations processing requests under the ATIA.
The following chart provides the type and number of consultations received over the 2016-2017 reporting year:
|Type of Consultation||Number of Consultations Received in 2016-2017|
|Other government institutions||87|
7.0 Supplementary Reporting Requirements
7.1 Complaints and Investigations
Applicants have the right of complaint to the OIC pursuant to the ATIA and may exercise this right at any time during the processing of their request. At the end of this reporting period, CSC received a total of 54 complaints and 68 findings were issued.
The majority of the access complaints received during this reporting period concern application of exemptions and refusal of access. CSC processed 508 requests and received 54 complaints, representing a little over ten percent of the requests processed by CSC.
The following chart provides a breakdown of the type of complaint made to the OIC:
|Type of Complaint||Received||Finding||Active|
|Refusal Access - General (i.e. incomplete response, no records, etc.)||16||24||14|
* Please note that some findings and active complaints have been carried over from previous years.
The following procedures are still in place:
- The OIC continues to be informed of extensions by receiving copies of extension letters.
- As part of its Duty to Assist, the ATIP Division continues to communicate with requesters discussing the scope of requests, offering alternative suggestions as appropriate, and providing previously released information that is posted as summaries on CSC's external website.
- A greater emphasis is placed on working with family members of deceased offenders to provide them with as much information as possible in a compassionate manner.
- CSC's ATIP Division continues to take steps to ensure that the timeliness of responses is maintained, by having one point of contact within the ATIP Division to address complaints.
A total of $ 2,159.00 was collected as per ATIA Regulations which included:
|Fee Type||Total Fees Collected|
7.3 Federal Court
There were no federal court cases filed against CSC in this reporting period.
The ATIP Division expended a total of $564,163 - $561,153 was in salary costs and $3,010 in operating costs. There were no overtime costs.
Appendix A - Delegation of Authority
Appendix B – Statistical Report
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