Access to Information Act
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April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011
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 — 2010-2011 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 2010-2011.
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 (PSC) is dedicated to building a public service that strives for excellence. We protect merit, non-partisanship and the use of both official languages while ensuring respect for the values of access, fairness, transparency and representativeness.
We recruit talented Canadians from across the country to the public service. We continually renew our recruitment services to meet the 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 is mandated to:
- Administer the provisions of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) that are related to the political activities of employees and deputy heads;
- 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; and
- Appoint, or provide for the appointment of, persons to or from within the public service. This has been delegated to departments and agencies. The PSC provides staffing and assessment functions and services to support staffing in the public service.
1.4 Public Service Commission's strategic outcome and Program Activity Architecture
PSC strategic outcome
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 The PSC Program Activity Architecture consists of one strategic outcome and four program activities.
Program Activity 1.1.0 — Appointment Integrity and Political Impartiality
The Appointment Integrity and Political Impartiality activity is focused on independently safeguarding merit and non-partisanship in the federal public service. This activity includes developing and advancing strategic policy positions and directions; conducting policy research; establishing PSC policies and standards; providing advice, interpretation and guidance; and administering delegated and non-delegated authorities.
Program Activity 1.2.0 — Oversight of Integrity in Staffing
The Oversight of Integrity in Staffing activity provides an accountability regime for the implementation of the appointment policy and regulatory framework for safeguarding the integrity of public service staffing and ensuring that staffing is free from political influence. This activity includes monitoring departments' and agencies' staffing performance and compliance with legislative requirements; conducting audits and studies; carrying out investigations; and reporting to Parliament on the integrity of public service staffing.
Program Activity 1.3.0 — Staffing Services and Assessment
The Staffing Services and Assessment 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 counselling 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, to Canadians and to public servants, 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 (HR) management, information technology, communications and other administrative and support services; provides central services, legal 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 process of the Commission.
|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 Impartiality||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
|1.2.0 Oversight of Integrity in Staffing||1.2.1 Monitoring
1.2.2 Audit, Evaluation and Studies
|1.3.0 Staffing Services and Assessment||1.3.1 Staffing Services
|2.1.0 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
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 policies, systems and procedures emanating from the Act.
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 Privacy 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 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 Vice President, Legal Affairs Branch of the PSC. The ATIP Office operates with one analyst to manage the requests received within the PSC. During the course of this reporting period, the ATIP Office hired a junior officer on a casual basis for scanning and data entry. The analyst is responsible for processing Privacy Act requests and consultations and responding to complaints. The analyst is also responsible for the re-alignment of the PSC's Info Source chapter, and helps with the statistics reports in preparation for Executive Management Committees and the end of Year Annual Report to Parliament.
During more than half of the fiscal year, the ATIP Manager was replaced by counsel from PSC's Legal Services. In addition to providing legal advice and guidance to the ATIP Office on the application of the Act, the ATIP Manager/Counsel assisted 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 developed 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 both the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.
The ATIP Office also enhanced its office procedures to ensure that ATIP analysts are informed of their obligations and responsibilities in the administration of requests under the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act. This included the adoption of the ATIP Office Process and Compliance Manual and various documents and procedures that will assist analysts.
2.2 Management Accountability Framework
The PSC is committed to the continuous improvement of its management fundamentals and continues to use 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 ever greened to reflect the PSC'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 reported period, the PSC had submitted for final approval eight Personal Information Banks. 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 in the context of these committees' activities.
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 7 orientation sessions where information was provided to approximately 100 new PSC employees regarding obligations under the Act.
2.4 Tracking system and imaging software
During the reporting period, the ATIP office updated its AccessPro Case Management System software to the newest version available from the supplier. This software application and data resides on a more stable server.
3. Statistical report: interpretation
3.1 Requests under the Access to Information Act
From April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011, the PSC received 38 new requests; this was consistent with the previous reporting period (2009-2010). Even though the number of formal requests received under the Act remained the same, there was an increase of over 1 900 in pages/volume (a 28% increase) that required processing (from 6 723 pages to 8 657 pages).
In an attempt to increase and facilitate access, the PSC treats informally as many requests for information as possible.
The PSC completed 40 requests during the reporting period and carried forward two requests for the following reporting period (2011-2012).
For a historical comparison of requests received and completed see Appendix B.
3.2 Nature of requests
This year, 40 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:
- Fourteen requests (35 percent) were from individuals seeking miscellaneous information. Five of which pertained to requests related to position classification in another government department. No records were considered relevant within the PSC in relation to these 5 requests;
- Eight requests (20 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;
- Seven requests (18 percent) pertained to PPC testing material related to specific staffing selection processes.
- Three requests (7 percent) pertained to various tests, evaluations and assessments done by the Personal Psychology Centre (PPC) of the PSC;
- Four requests (10 percent) related to contracts, call-ups for temporary help, lists of new term and casual employees and telecommunications costs; and
- Four requests (10 percent) pertained to investigations and audits conducted under the Public Service Employment Act, and one of the four pertained to documents related to political candidate's request, in accordance with section 7 of the PSEA.
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 25 requests for access consultations from other government departments and agencies, compared to 18 from the previous year. These requests amounted to a review of over 1 000 pages of information. There were a total of three requests carried over from the previous reporting period, while no access consultation requests were carried into the 2011-2012 reporting period. Of the 28 consultations closed, the PSC recommended full disclosure in 17 of the 28 files, recommended 9 to be disclosed in part, while the remaining two consultations, the PSC recommended to exempt in full.
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 5 of its Access to Information Act requests.
3.4 Informal review of information
The ATIP Office responded to 4 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 40 cases where the PSC completed the request, information was released either in whole or in part in 13 requests (33 percent).
3.5.1 All disclosed
In 5 of the 40 completed cases (12.5 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 8 of the 40 completed cases (20 percent).
3.5.3 Nothing disclosed (exempted or excluded)
There were four 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 14 requests (35 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 40 completed requests, 5 (12.5 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 40 requests, 2 (5 percent) were transferred to another government institution.
3.5.7 Treated informally
There was an additional 2 requests which 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 16 (law enforcement and investigations) 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 three different exemptions were used in one request, one exemption under each relevant section would be reported for a total of three 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 40 requests completed during the reporting period, 3 requests (8 percent) needed to be extended for 30 days or under, in accordance with section 9 of the Act.
Of the 40 requests completed (and in accordance with section 9 of the Act), 2 (5 percent) needed to be extended for 30 days or over. In both cases, requests for extensions were related to a need to consult with other government organizations.
3.9 Completion time
Of the 40 requests completed, 39 of them were completed within the prescribed legislative time frame.
35 requests (88 percent) were completed within the first thirty days following the receipt date; while 4 requests (10 percent) were completed within 31 to 60 days; and 1 request (2 percent) was completed in over 121 days. This request was over 10 000 pages in volume and was complex in nature.
There was 1 request for the translation of information from French to English.
3.11 Method of access
Of the 13 requests in which information was released, all requesters received copies of the information.
It should be noted that this data only reflect requests for which information was all disclosed or disclosed in part and therefore requests that were abandoned, or for which we did not have any records were not tabulated in section 3.11.
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 $85.00, while the fees waived in accordance with subsection 11(6) of the Act were $1,115.00. 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 $68,161.00. Total operations and maintenance costs amounted to $7,239.00 and included the costs of consultants and maintenance of the Secret Local Area Network and case management system for a total of $75,400.00. The associated full-time equivalent resources utilized were estimated at 0.65 for reporting period 2010-2011.
4.1 Number of complaints
The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) did not received any complaints regarding Access to Information Act requests processed at the PSC during the 2010-2011 reporting period. However, two complaints were carried over from the 2009-2010 reporting period.
4.2 Nature and status of complaints
Of the two complaints carried over from the 2009-2010 reporting period:
One complaint dealt with the refusal of access. The requester alleges the PSC wrongly withheld information under sections 19 (personal information) and withdrew his complaint after it was confirmed by the Office of the Information Commissioner's that resume's of other applicants in a staffing selection process were protected pursuant to section 19(1) of the Act.
The second complaint 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 completed his investigation and the complaint was deemed not-well founded and closed accordingly.
Appendix A — Delegation Instrument
Access to Information Act — Delegation Order
The President of the Public Service Commission of Canada, as the head of the government institution, hereby designates pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act, the persons holding the positions set out below, or the persons occupying on an acting basis those positions, 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.
|Position||Sections of the Access to Information Act|
|Secretary General/ATIP Coordinator, Commission Secretariat||Act: 7(a), 8(1), 9, 11(2) to (6), 12(2) and (3), 13 to 24, 25, 26, 27(1) and (4), 29(1), 33, 35(2), 37(1) and (4), 43(1), 22(2), 52(2) and (3), 71(2) 72(1); and
Regulations: 6(1) and 8.
Dated at the City of Ottawa, this 12th day of November, 2010.
Appendix B — Historical Comparisons - Requests
Appendix C — 2010-2011 Annual Access to Information Act Statistical Report
Report on Access to Information Act 2010-2011
Institution: Public Service Commission of Canada
Reporting Period: 2010-04-01 to 2011-03-31
1. Requests under the Access to Information Act
Received during reporting period: 38
Outstanding from previous period: 4
Completed during reporting period: 40
Carried Forward: 2
2. Disposition of requests completed
- All disclosed: 5
- Disclosed in part: 8
- Nothing disclosed (excluded): 0
- Nothing disclosed (exempt): 4
- Transferred: 2
- Unable to process: 14
- Abandoned by applicant: 5
- Treated informally: 2
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): 2
S. Art. 16(3): 0
S. Art. 17: 0
S. Art. 18(a): 0
S. Art. 19(1): 7
S. Art. 20(1)(a): 0
S.Art. 21(1)(a): 0
S. Art. 22: 4
S. Art. 23: 0
S. Art. 24: 1
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: 35
31 to 60 days: 4
61 to 120 days: 0
121 days or over: 1
30 days or under
Third party: 0
31 days or over
Third party: 0
Translations requested: 0
English to French: 0
French to English: 1
VIII. Method of Access
Copies given: 13
Copies and examination: 0
Net fees collected
Application fees: $85
Computer processing: $0
Fees waived: 25 and under:
No. Of times: 17
Fees waived: over $25:
No. of Times: 2
Financial (all reasons)
Administration (O and M): $7,239
Person year utilization (all reasons)
Person year (decimal format): 0.65
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
- Paragraph 13(1)(e) — 0
- Subsection 16.1(1)(a) — 0
- Subsection 16.1(1)(b) — 0
- Subsection 16.1(1)(c) — 2
- Subsection 16.1(1)(d) — 0
- Subsection 16.2(1) — 0
- Subsection 16.3 — 0
- Subsection 16.4(1)(a) — 0
- Subsection 16.4(1)(b) — 0
- Subsection 16.5 — 0
- Subsection 18.1(1)(a) — 0
- Subsection 18.1(1)(b) — 0
- Subsection 18.1(1)(c) — 0
- Subsection 18.1(1)(d) — 0
- Subsection 20(1)(b.1) — 0
- Subsection 20.1 — 0
- Subsection 20.2 — 0
- Subsection 20.4 — 0
- Subsection 22.1(1) — 1
Part III — Exclusions cited
- Subsection 68.1 — 0
- Subsection 68.2(a) — 0
- Subsection 68.2(b) — 0
- Subsection 69.1(1) — 0
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