Access to Information Act
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April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010
Table of contents
- Part I - General Information on the Public Service Commission
- Part II - Report on the Access to Information Act
- 1. Organization of Delegation and Activities
- 2. Summary of Access to Information and Privacy Office Activitities
- 3. Statistical Report: Interpretation
- 3.1 Requests under the Access To Information Act
- 3.2 Nature of Requests
- 3.3 Inter-Organizational Consultations
- 3.4 Informal Review of Information
- 3.5 Disposition of Requests Completed
- 3.6 Exemptions Invoked
- 3.7 Exclusions Invoked
- 3.8 Extension of Time Limits
- 3.9 Completion Time
- 3.10 Translations
- 3.11 Method of Access
- 3.12 Fees
- 3.13 Costs
- 4. Complaints
- Appendix A - Delegation Instrument
- Appendix B - Historical Comparisons - Requests
- Appendix C - 2009-2010 Annual Access to Information Act Statistical Report
- Appendix D - Additional Reporting Requirements
The Access to Information Act (Revised Statues of Canada, Chapter A-1, 1985) (the “Act”) was proclaimed on July 1, 1983. It has been amended as a result of the royal assessment of the Federal Accountability Act on December 12, 2006. Certain provisions came into force on December 12, 2006 and others took effect on April 1, 2007 and September 1, 2007.
The Access to Information Act (ATIA) gives Canadian citizens and individuals present in Canada a broad right of access to information contained in government records, subject to certain specific and limited exceptions.
Section 72 of the Act requires that the head of every federal government institution prepare an Annual Report, for submission to Parliament, on the administration of the Act within the institution during each fiscal year.
This Annual Report provides a summary of the management and administration of the Act within the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) for the fiscal year 2009-2010.
Additional copies of this report can be obtained by writing to:
Access to Information and Privacy Office
Public Service Commission of Canada
300 Laurier Avenue West
Or by communicating with us via e-mail:
Or by calling:
The PSC's Access to Information Act Annual Report is also available on the PSC Web site.
Part I - General information on the Public Service Commission
1.1 Mission, vision and values - striving for excellence
The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) is dedicated to building a public service that strives for excellence. The PSC protects merit, non-partisanship, representativeness and the use of both official languages.
The PSC safeguards the integrity of staffing in the public service and the political impartiality of public servants. It develops policies and guidance for public service managers and holds them accountable for their staffing decisions. The PSC conducts audits and investigations to confirm the effectiveness of the staffing system and to make improvements. As an independent agency, the PSC reports its results to Parliament.
The PSC recruits talented Canadians to the public service. It continually renews its recruitment services to meet the evolving needs of a modern and innovative public service.
1.2 Values guiding the Public Service Commission's actions
In serving Parliament and Canadians, the PSC is guided by and proudly adheres to the following organizational values:
- Integrity in our actions;
- Fairness in our decisions;
- Respect in our relationships; and
- Transparency in our communications.
On behalf of Parliament, the PSC safeguards the integrity of staffing and the non-partisan nature of the public service. In this respect, the PSC works closely with government but is independent from ministerial direction and is accountable to Parliament. The PSC's mandate is threefold.
First, the PSC is mandated to appoint, or provide for the appointment of, persons to or from within the public service. The PSC provides staffing and assessment functions and services to support staffing in the public service.
Second, the PSC is mandated to oversee the integrity of the staffing system and ensure non-partisanship. This oversight role includes maintaining and interpreting data on the public service, carrying out audits that provide assurance and make recommendations for improvements and conducting investigations that can lead to corrective action in the case of errors or problems.
Third, the PSC is mandated to administer provisions of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) related to the political activities of employees and deputy heads.
1.4 Public Service Commission's Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture
In order to effectively pursue its mandate, the PSC aims to achieve the following strategic outcome. The chart below illustrates the PSC's complete framework of program and activities and program sub-activities that contribute to the achievement of the PSC's strategic outcome.
|Strategic Outcome||Program Activities||Program
|To provide Canadians with a highly competent, non-partisan and representative public service, able to provide service in both official languages, in which appointments are based on the values of access, fairness, transparency and representativeness.||1.1.0 Appointment
Integrity and Political Neutrality
|1.1.1 Policy, Regulation and Exclusion Approval Orders
1.1.2 Delegated Appointment Authorities
1.1.3 Non-delegated Authorities
1.1.4 Political Activities
Integrity of Staffing and Political Neutrality
1.2.2 Audit, Evalutaion and Studies
|1.3.0 Staffing Services and Assessment||1.3.1 Staffing Services
|2.0 Internal Services
(These services contribute to all program activities)
|2.1.1 Governance and Management Support
2.1.2 Resource Management Services
2.1.3 Asset Management Services
Program Activity 1.1.0 - Appointment Integrity and Political Neutrality
The Appointment Integrity and Political Neutrality activity develops and maintains a policy and regulatory framework for safeguarding the integrity of public service staffing and ensuring political neutrality. This activity includes establishing policies and standards, providing advice, interpretation and guidance, administering delegated and non-delegated authorities and allowing exceptions, as appropriate.
Program Activity 1.2.0 - Oversight of Integrity of Staffing and Political Neutrality
The oversight of Integrity of Staffing and Political Neutrality activity provides an accountability regime for implementing the appointment policy and regulatory framework for safeguarding the integrity of public service staffing and ensuring political neutrality. This activity includes monitoring departments' and agencies' compliance with legislative requirements, conducting audits, studies and evaluations, carrying out investigations and reporting to Parliament on the integrity of public service staffing.
Program Activity 1.3.0 - Staffing Assessment and Services
The Staffing Assessment and Services activity develops and maintains systems that link Canadians and public servants seeking employment opportunities in the federal public service with hiring departments and agencies. It provides assessment-related products and services in the form of research and development, consultation, assessment operations and counseling for use in recruitment, selection and development throughout the federal public service. This activity also includes delivering staffing services, programs and products to departments and agencies, and to all Canadians, through client service units located across Canada.
Program Activity 2.1.0 - Internal Services
The Internal Services program activity develops and monitors corporate management planning frameworks and policies related to the Management Accountability Framework, finance, human resources management, information technology, communications and other administrative and support services; provides central services and systems in support of all PSC programs, including the offices of the President and Commissioners and formulates and implements policies, plans, guidelines, standards, processes and procedures to support the decision-making processes of the Commission.
Part II - Report on the Access to Information Act
1. Organization of delegation and activities
1.1 Delegation order
Under section 3 of the Access to Information Act (the “Act”), the President of the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) is designated as the head of the government institution for purposes of the administration of the Act.
Pursuant to section 73 of the Act, deputy heads may delegate any of their powers, duties or functions under the Act by signing an order authorizing one or more officers or employees of the institution, who are at the appropriate level, to exercise or perform the powers, duties or functions of the head specified in the order.
Within the PSC this delegation instrument continues to be based on a centralized process with the Secretary General, Commission Secretariat, who is also the PSC's Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinator, having full delegated authority under the Act. An excerpt of the Delegation of Authority approved by the President is enclosed at Appendix A.
1.2 The Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
The PSC has a single ATIP Coordinator who is responsible and accountable for the development, coordination and implementation of effective policies, guidelines, systems and procedures to enable the efficient processing of requests under the Act.
The Coordinator is also responsible for related policy, systems and procedures emanating from the Act, such as the government's policy on information collection and public opinion research.
The activities of the Coordinator include:
- Processing requests made under the Act;
- Acting as spokesperson for the PSC in dealings with the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), the Office of the Information Commissioner and other government departments and agencies on matters related to the Act;
- Responding to consultation requests submitted by other federal institutions for PSC documents;
- Reviewing and approving information collection in accordance with the Government Policy on Information Collection and Public Opinion Research;
- Preparing the Annual Report to Parliament and other statutory reports, as well as other material that may be required by central agencies;
- Developing policies, procedures and guidelines for the orderly implementation of the Act by the PSC;
- Promoting awareness to ensure the PSC's responsiveness to the obligations of the Act;
- monitoring the PSC's compliance with the Act, regulations and relevant procedures and policies; and
- Providing advice and awareness sessions to PSC employees on the provisions of the Act and TBS policies and their impact on various program initiatives.
1.3 The Access to Information and Privacy Office
The ATIP Office administers the provisions of the Act for the PSC. The Manager of the ATIP Office reports to the ATIP Coordinator, who, in turn, reports to the President of the PSC. The ATIP Office operates with two analysts to manage the requests received within the PSC.
The analysts are responsible for processing Access to Information Act requests and consultations and responding to complaints. One analyst was also dedicated to continue the re-alignment of the PSC's Info Source chapter.
Overseeing this team, and reporting to the ATIP Coordinator and to the PSC's Vice-President, Legal Affairs Branch is the ATIP Manager who is also counsel at the PSC's Legal Services. In addition to providing legal advice and guidance to the ATIP Office on all issues related to the application of the Act, the ATIP Manager/Counsel and the PSC's Legal Services, in general, assist the Offices of primary interest within the PSC in the delivery of their program and activities having an Access to Information Act component.
2. Summary of Access to Information and Privacy Office activities
2.1 Development of a Privacy Management Framework
In recognition of the importance of privacy, the PSC is developing a Privacy Management Framework (PMF). In keeping with the fundamentals of privacy, the objective of the PMF is to outline the way in which the PSC structures itself through policies and procedures to distribute privacy responsibilities, coordinate privacy work, manage privacy risks and ensure compliance with the both the Access to Information and the Privacy Acts. The development and approval of the PMF is an ongoing initiative that will be carried on during the 2010-2011 fiscal year and reported upon at a later date.
One of the initiatives of the PMF was the adoption of the ATIP Process and Compliance Manual, to standardize the work procedures used by staff and to facilitate the training of new hires. The ATIP Office is also developing procedures to complement the functionality of the electronic ATIP tracking system.
2.2 Management Accountability Framework
The PSC is committed to the continuous improvement of its management fundamentals and has used the results of the most recent Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessment as a benchmark. As part of the MAF, the Info Source introduction has been updated to reflect the PCS's Program Activity Architecture (PAA).
The PSC has extensively reviewed its Info Source chapter and followed the TBS requirements and careful attention was paid to ensure the PSC complied with the instructions of the 2010 Implementation Report. Over the course of the next year the PSC will continue renewing its Info Source chapter to align the classes of records and personal information banks to reflect the PSC's updated PAA.
2.3 Internal Advice and training
In addition to processing Access to Information Act and Privacy Act requests, the ATIP Office provides general advice to PSC managers and employees regarding a variety of issues and questions related to both Acts.
The ATIP Office also responds to questions from PSC employees and managers regarding the application of various policies and practices related to access to information and privacy.
In addition the ATIP Office is involved in numerous PSC initiatives such as:
- Providing advice on project initiation forms such as Threat and Risk Assessments, Statement of Sensitivity, and Risk Analysis and Impact Documents;
- Answering questions related to the protection of personal information in MOUs, Information Sharing Agreements, and Contracts;
- Assisting program areas in drafting of Privacy Notice Statements;
- Reviewing audit reports and other documents prior to publication to ensure that personal information is released in accordance with the Privacy Act.
The ATIP Office Manager is also member of PSC Working Groups and Working Group Sub-Committees and offers advice related to privacy and protection of personal information.
The ATIP Office provided general training on the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and their impact on PSC programs and initiatives.
The ATIP Office also participated in eight orientation sessions where information was provided to approximately 146 new PSC employees regarding obligations under the both Acts. During the reporting period, five general information sessions on access to information and privacy legislative and policy requirements were given to approximately 100 employees of the PSC.
2.4 New tracking system and imaging software
During the reporting period, the ATIP office replaced the ATIPflow tracking system with the new AccessPro Case Management System software. This software application and data resides on a more stable server. Also, new imaging software solution, AccessPro Redaction, was implemented. This system rapidly copies and serves an increasingly large volume of records. These systems are now fully operational.
3. Statistical report: interpretation
3.1 Requests under the Access to Information Act
From April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010, the PSC received 38 new requests, while during the previous reporting period (2008-2009) it received 60. The number of formal requests received under the Act has decreased since the last reporting period. There were also 17 requests outstanding from 2008-2009.
In an attempt to increase and facilitate access, the PSC treats as many requests for information informally unless the requester otherwise chooses a formal approach.
The PSC completed 51 requests during the reporting period and carried forward four requests for the following reporting period (2010-2011).
For a historical comparison of requests received and completed see Appendix B.
3.2 Nature of requests
This year, 51 requests were completed. As in previous years, the requests completed covered the entire gamut of the PSC's activities. More specifically the requests pertained to the following:
- Twenty-three requests (45 percent) were from individuals seeking miscellaneous information. Three requests pertained to personal information contained within the PSC;
- Nine requests (17 percent) pertained to various tests, evaluations and assessments done by the PSC and, more specifically, for statistical information regarding language tests;
- Seven requests (14 percent) pertained to staffing-related activities such as staffing of executive level positions, priority administration files, staffing delegation statistics, establishment of tests and standards for selection, and Employment Equity initiatives;
- Three requests (5 percent) related to contracts, call-ups for temporary help, lists of new term and casual employees and telecommunications costs; and
- Three requests (5 percent) pertained to investigations into political candidates.
As was the case in the previous reporting period, the preferred method of access reported by the PSC, as well as by departments and agencies throughout the federal government, was to receive copies of government records as opposed to simply view them.
3.3 Inter-organizational consultations
The PSC received 18 requests for access consultations from other government departments and agencies. These requests amounted to a review of over 350 pages of information. After a thorough review of the documents, the PSC determined that in 13 of the 18 access consultation requests completed over the course of the reporting period, information pertaining to the PSC could be released in full. No access consultation requests were carried from 2008-2009.
The requests for access consultations pertained to the PSEA, various staffing and priority administration files, information related to PSC operational documents, second language evaluation and investigations.
The PSC itself consulted other government departments and agencies for 17 of its Access to Information Act requests.
3.4 Informal review of information
The ATIP Office responded to 22 informal requests for records or for review of PSC records over the course of the reporting period. These requests are not reflected in the statistical report in Appendix C.
3.5 Disposition of requests completed
Of the 51 cases where the PSC completed the request, information was released either in whole or in part in 18 requests (35 percent).
3.5.1 All disclosed
In 9 of the 51 completed cases (17 percent), the applicants were provided with full access to the relevant records.
3.5.2 Disclosed in part
The PSC was compelled by the exemptive and exclusionary provisions of the Act to provide applicants partial access in 9 of the 51 completed cases (17 percent).
3.5.3 Nothing disclosed (exempted or excluded)
There were two instances (10 percent) in which the PSC was compelled by the exemptive provisions of the Act to not release information.
There were no instances in which the PSC was compelled by the exclusionary provisions of the Act to not release information.
3.5.4 Unable to process
After an initial review, the PSC was unable to process 13 requests (25 percent). In all of these instances, the PSC did not have any records relating to the request.
3.5.5 Abandoned by the applicant
Of the 51 completed requests, 10 (20 percent) were considered to be abandoned by the applicant. Such an action may occur at any point in the processing of a request.
Of the 51 requests, 5 (10 percent) were transferred to another government institution.
3.5.7 Treated informally
Three requests were treated informally during the reporting period.
3.6 Exemptions invoked
An individual's right of access to information under the Act is limited by a number of exemptions specified in sections 13 through 24 of the legislation. Sections 13 through 24 of the Act set out the exemptions intended to protect information pertaining to a particular public or private interest and section 26 of the Act is an administrative exception relating to the publication of information.
During the reporting period, the PSC most frequently invoked exemptions under subsection 19(1) (personal information); subsection 21(1) (advice); as well as section 24 (statutory prohibitions) of the Act.
For a historical comparison of exemptions invoked see Appendix B which shows the types of exemptions invoked to refuse access for the reporting period as compared to previous reporting periods.
For clarity purposes, if five different exemptions were used in one request, one exemption under each relevant section would be reported for a total of five exemptions. If the same exemption was used several times for the same request, it would be reported only once.
3.7 Exclusions invoked
Pursuant to section 68, the Act does not apply to material that is published or available for purchase, library or museum material preserved solely for public record, material deposited with Library and Archives Canada, as well as records considered to be confidences of the Queen's Privy Council of Canada pursuant to section 69 of the Act. No exclusions were invoked by the PSC during the processing of requests in the reporting period.
3.8 Extension of time limits
Of the 51 requests completed during the reporting period, 18 needed to be extended for 30 days or under in accordance with section 9 of the Act. In 17 cases, requests for extensions were to consult with other government organizations, whereas in one other case the request for extension was to consult with a third party.
Of the 51 requests completed during the reporting period, 4 needed to be extended for 30 days or over in accordance with section 9 of the Act. In two cases, requests for extensions were to consult with other government organizations, whereas in two other cases the request for extension was to consult with a third party.
3.9 Completion time
Of the 51 requests completed, 29 of them were completed within the prescribed legislative time frame.
Within the first thirty days, 29 requests (57 percent) were completed; while 18 requests (35 percent) were completed within 31 to 60 days; and 4 requests (8 percent) were completed between 61 to 120 days; no requests were completed in over 121 days.
There were no requests for the translation of information from one official language to another.
3.11 Method of access
Of the 18 requests in which information was released, the requesters received copies of the information in 15 cases. There were three cases where access was provided by a combination of copies and in-person examination.
It should be noted that the data in this section reflect only requests for which information was all disclosed or disclosed in part and therefore not those abandoned, etc.
Under the Act, fees for certain activities related to the processing of formal requests can be levied. In addition to the $5 application fee, other charges may also apply for search, preparation and reproduction of the various records, as specified in the Access to Information Regulations.
No fees are imposed for reviewing records or for overhead or shipping. Moreover, in accordance with section 11 of the Act, no fees are charged for the first five hours required to search for a record or to prepare any part of it for disclosure.
The fees collected during this reporting period totaled $405.60, while the fees waived in accordance with subsection 11(6) of the Act were $110.00. Fees collected for this reporting period are estimated to represent less than one percent of the PSC's total cost of administering the Access to Information program.
The total salary costs associated with the program were $60,068.67. Total operations and maintenance costs amounted to $4,356.97 and included the costs of consultants and maintenance of the Secret Local Area Network and case management system for a total of $64,425.64. The associated full-time equivalent resources utilized were estimated at 0.95 for reporting period 2009-2010.
4.1 Number of complaints
The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) received two complaints regarding Access to Information Act requests addressed to and received by the PSC during the 2009-2010 reporting period. These complaints were in addition to the three complaints carried forward from the 2008-2009 reporting period.
4.2 Nature and status of complaints
Of the three complaints carried over from the 2008-2009 reporting period:
- One complaint dealt with the refusal of access. The requester alleges the PSC wrongly withheld information under sections 19 (personal information) and 23 (solicitor-client privilege). The Information Commissioner is still investigating this complaint.
- A second complaint also dealt with the refusal of access. The requester believes records should exist regarding a request for briefing notes on the Questions and Answers Cards prepared for the Minister responsible for the PSC during for the period of August 1, 2008 to October 9, 2008. The Information Commissioner is still investigating this complaint.
- One complaint dealt with the searching, programming and computer fees associated with the retrieval of the requested information. This complaint was founded and has since been resolved; the PSC reduced the fees accordingly in order to charge only for fees that were associated with non machine-readable searches.
Of the two complaints received in the reporting period:
- One was for an alleged refusal of access to records which were exempted under sections 16(1)(c), 19(1), 21(1)(b) and 22 of the Act. This request was for information related to a staffing file. The Information Commissioner is still investigating this complaint.
- The second complaint was for an alleged refusal of access to records which were exempted under section 19(1) of the Act. This request was also related to a staffing process. The Information Commissioner is still investigating this complaint.
Appendix A - Delegation Instrument
Access to Information Act - Delegation Order
Pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act, President Maria Barrados hereby designates the Secretary General or, in his or her absence, the Secretary or the Senior ATIP Advisor, Corporate Management Branch, to exercise or perform any of the powers, duties or functions of the Head of the government institution vested in him by the Access to Information Act.
June 15, 2006
Appendix B - Historical Comparisons - Requests
Appendix C - 2009-2010 Annual Access to Information Act Statistical Report
Report on Access to Information Act 2009-2010
Institution: Public Service Commission of Canada
Reporting Period: 2009-04-01 - 2010-03-31
1. Requests under the Access to Information Act
Reveived during reporting period: 38
Outstanding from previous period: 17
Completed during reporting period: 51
Carried Forward: 4
2. Disposition of requests completed
- All disclosed: 9
- Disclosed in part: 9
- Nothing disclosed (excluded): 0
- Nothing disclosed (exempt): 2
- Transferred: 5
- Unable to process: 13
- Abandoned by applicant: 10
- Treated informally: 3
III. Exemptions invoked
S. Art. 13(1)(a): 0
S. Art. 14: 0
S. Art. 15(1) International rel.: 0
Subversive activities: 0
S. Art. 16(1) (a): 0
S. Art. 16(2): 0
S. Art. 16(3): 0
S. Art. 17: 0
S. Art. 18(a): 0
S. Art. 19(1): 8
S. Art. 20(1)(a): 0
S.Art. 21(1)(a): 1
S. Art. 22: 2
S. Art. 23: 1
S. Art. 24: 4
S. Art. 26: 0
IV. Exclusions cited
S. Art. 68(a): 0
S. Art. 69(1)(a): 0
V. Completion time
30 days or under: 29
31 to 60 days: 18
61 to 120 days: 4
121 days or over: 0
30 days or under
31 days or over
Third party: 2
Translations requested: 0
English to French: 0
French to English: 0
VIII. Method of Access
Copies given: 15
Copies and examination: 3
Net fees collected
Application fees: $205.00
Computer processing: 0
Fees waived:$25 or under
No. of Times: 14
Fees waived:over $25
No. of Times: 1
Financial (all reasons)
Salary: $ 60,068.67
Administration (O and M): $ 4,356.97
Total: $ 64,425.64
Person year utilization (all reasons)
Person year (decimal format): .95
Appendix D - Additional Reporting Requirements
Access to Information Act
In addition to the reporting requirements addressed in form TBS/SCT 350-62 "Report on the
Access to Information Act", institutions are required to report on the following using this form:
Part III - Exemptions invoked
Subsection 13(e): 0
Subsections 14(a): 0
Subsections 14(b): 0
Part IV - Exclusions cited:
Subsection 69.1 (1): 0
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