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International Trade Canada Annual Reports on the Administration of the Access to Information Act And the Privacy Act

2003-2004

Copies of this document may be obtained from:

Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division
International Trade Canada
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2

This publication can be made available on computer diskette, compact disk, in large print, on audio cassette or in braille upon request

Enquiries about this document may be directed to:

Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division
International Trade Canada
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
Tel: (613) 992-1425
FAX: (613) 995-0116

PART I – INTRODUCTION

THE ROLE AND MANDATE OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE CANADA

International Trade Canada was created on December 12, 2003 as part of a wide ranging reorganization of government undertaken at that time. The new trade department brings together non-sector-specific trade and investment functions as well as the international business development components of the former Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and Industry Canada.

The new Department’s role is to ensure that trade and investment support the following three government priorities: 1) to strengthen Canada’s social foundations; 2) to build a 21st Century economy; and 3) to ensure Canada’s place in the world.

More specifically, the Department is responsible for positioning Canada as a world business leader for the 21st Century. This is accomplished by helping both large and small Canadian companies expand and succeed internationally, by promoting Canada as a dynamic place to do business, and by negotiating and administering trade agreements.

The services of the Department are offered through three broad business lines:

  • Services for Canadian Businesses
  • Services for non-Canadian Businesses
  • Information about Canada’s Trade and Economic Policy
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT

A significant change in government machinery was made in December 2003, separating the former Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) into two organizations: Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC) and International Trade Canada (ITCan). This announcement has had implications for the administration of Access and Privacy responsibilities for both institutions.

The now separate departments operated as a combined organization until December 12, 2003. This report pertains only to International Trade Canada. and covers the period from its creation on December 12, 2003 to March 31, 2004.

International Trade Canada is composed of the following main sectors: Trade Policy, Investment Partnerships, International Business Development, Corporate Planning and Strategic Policy.

The responsibilities of the Minister of International Trade include investment policy and promotion, the Export and Import Permits Act and the regionally based International Trade Centres. The Minister is assisted by a Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Emerging Markets.

The following outside organizations report to the Minister of International Trade: Export Development Canada, a financial institution that provides trade-related financial and insurance services to Canadian exporters and investors; the Canadian Commercial Corporation, an export sales agency that works to expand Canada’s international trade; and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Secretariat (Canadian Section), which helps administer the dispute settlement provisions of NAFTA.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACCESS AND PRIVACY FUNCTION

As an interim measure during this transitional period, the ATIP Office of Foreign Affairs Canada will continue to process ATIP requests for both FAC and ITCan until such time as ITCan can fully accommodate and integrate this function within its operations, expected within the fiscal year 2004-2005.

However the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade, Economic and Environmental Policy who is an employee of International Trade Canada (ITCan), has been given the authority by the Minister of International Trade to make decisions on behalf of that department on the release of information requested under the Access to Information and Privacy Acts.

During 2003-2004, the ATIP Office continued to provide training sessions for employees. These sessions provided 265 employees with an overview of the Acts and a better understanding of their obligations and the process within FAC and ITCan. Customized sessions were also provided to divisional teams upon request.

PART II - ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT

OVERVIEW

This report describes the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act for International Trade from its creation on December 12, 2003 up to March 31, 2004.

WORKLOAD

The Department received 37 Access to Information Act requests in 2003-2004. This low number is due to the fact that the department was only created part way through the fiscal year.

Twenty-three requests were completed by March 31, 2004, and the remaining 14 requests were carried forward into the next fiscal year.

STATISTICS

The most frequent type of requester was various types of organizations (17). Members of the public (11), media (5) and business (4) accounted for the rest of the requests.

Of the 23 requests that were completed, full disclosure was provided for one request, partial disclosure was provided for 7 requests, and all records were denied for one request. Besides this, the department was unable to process 10 requests for various reasons and 4 requests were abandoned by applicants.

Where access was denied, these reasons were cited:

 

Number of cases

government information obtained in confidence

1

international relations

3

personal information

3

third party commercial information

8

operations of government

1

solicitor-client privilege

1

cabinet confidences

1

Of the 23 requests completed in 2003-2004, the Department found it necessary to extend the time frame on 4 occasions - three times in order to conduct large searches and once in order to complete third party notifications. In all 4 cases, the extensions were for 31 days or longer.

RESOURCES

The processing of Access to Information Act requests for International Trade Canada is administered from the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division, which is a shared corporate service office with Foreign Affairs Canada. In total, just under $800,000 was spent on the administration of the Act, and staffing amounted to 11 full-time equivalents.

SUMMARY

Given the complexities and sensitivities of the subject matter, the processing of Access to Information Act requests in the area of international trade can often be a challenging matter. Nevertheless, International Trade Canada will continue to strive to meet its various responsibilities under the Act.

PART III - PRIVACY ACT

International Trade Canada did not receive any requests under the Privacy Act in 2003-2004.

PART IV - ANNEXES

Annex A - Statistical Report on the Administration of the Access to Information Act in 2003-2004

Annex B - Statistical Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act in 2003-2004

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Date Modified:
2009-06-26