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Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Privacy Act 2008–2009

Table of Contents

Introduction

This Annual Report to Parliament is for the 2008–2009 fiscal year, as required under subsections 72(1) and 72(2) of the Privacy Act.

Purpose of the Privacy Act

The Privacy Act provides Canadian citizens and individuals present in Canada the right to seek access to their personal information that is held by the federal government. It also governs the collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal of personal information.

Departmental Mandate

On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is Canada’s face and voice to the world, working to advance Canada’s political and economic interests in the international community as well as to apply Canadian experience to help address global issues.

The Department's legal mandate, as set out in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act, RSC 1985, c. E–22, is to:

  • conduct all diplomatic and consular relations on behalf of Canada;
  • conduct all official communication between the Government of Canada and the government of any other country and between the Government of Canada and any international organization;
  • conduct and manage international negotiations as they relate to Canada;
  • coordinate Canada's economic relations;
  • foster the expansion of Canada's international trade;
  • coordinate the direction given by the Government of Canada to the heads of Canada's diplomatic and consular missions and to manage these missions;
  • administer the foreign service of Canada;
  • foster the development of international law and its application in Canada's external relations.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is also responsible for the Export and Import Permits Act, RSC 1985, c. E–19, which authorizes the government to control and monitor the transborder flow of specified goods, and for the Special Economic Measures Act, 40–41 Elizabeth II, c. 17, which authorizes the government to apply economic sanctions in response to a serious threat to international peace and security.

The Department also provides administrative support to other government departments with personnel abroad.

The Department’s focus in 2008–2009 was on four key priorities:

  • Afghanistan: Worked closely with other departments and agencies as well as with NATO partners to consolidate security, development and governance in Afghanistan, particularly in Kandahar.
  • North America and the Hemisphere: Led Canada's renewed engagement in the Americas, with a greater focus on Canadian interests. The Canadian model of democratic freedom and economic openness, combined with effective regional and social support, can serve as an example for countries seeking democratic institutions, free markets and social equality.
  • Growing/emerging markets, with a focus on China and India: As part of the government's Global Commerce Strategy, continued to implement government–wide, multi–year market plans for China, India and 11 other priority markets, and identify priority sectors and opportunities based on Canadian business capabilities and interests.
  • Transforming the department: Strengthened Canada's international platform and mission network undertaking initiatives such as shifting more resources and staff the field, aligning resources more closely with government priorities and modernizing the department's financial and human resources management.

In 2008–2009, the Department had 12,975 Full–time Equivalents and its workforce is made up of three groups. First, Canada–based rotational staff, mainly Foreign Service officers, administrative support employees and information technology specialists, relocate regularly between headquarters and Canada’s missions abroad. Second, non–rotational staff work primarily at headquarters. Third, locally engaged staff work at missions abroad.

Delegated Authorities

Under Section 73 of the Act, the Minister’s authority is delegated to enable the Department to meet its legislated requirements as well as exercise its powers. During the reporting period, responsibility for all sections of the Act was delegated to the Deputy Ministers, the Corporate Secretary (previously the Director General of Executive Services), to the Director of the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division as well as to Heads of Mission but only as it relates to disclosure under section 8(2)(m) of the Privacy Act (public interest or will benefit the subject individual). (See Annex A)

Near the end of the reporting period, DFAIT also initiated the process to update its delegation instrument in order to reflect the current administration and to further delegate the authority to sign off on access and privacy requests at the Deputy Director level as well. This will be attached as part of the next Annual Report to Parliament.

In addition, Passport Canada as a special operating agency was at the time of drafting this report finalizing the preparation to have its own full ATIP delegation authority in fiscal year 2009–2010 in order to administer all Access to Information Act and Privacy Act matters as they relate to the management and delivery of passport services.

Organizational Structure

The Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division (”ATIP Office”) is responsible for the administration of the Privacy Act including the processing of requests and consultations. The Director of the ATIP Office reports to the Corporate Secretary, who in turn reports to both the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Minister of International Trade.

The division includes five teams of processing Analysts reporting to two Deputy Directors. The Deputy Directors and the Manager of Business Practices and Systems report to the Director.

Organisational chart as described above

Ongoing Challenges

Steps have been taken since 2004–2005 to strengthen the departmental capacity and compliance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act as well as related TBS policies. Given its mandate and various responsibilities at the international level, DFAIT plays a key consultation role under both Acts on behalf of other government departments (OGDs).

DFAIT faces an ever increasing number of requests under both Acts including consultations from other government departments. Specifically, in a four–year span from 2004–2005 to 2008–2009 DFAIT experienced a 15.5% average annual increase in such requests for a total increase of 78%. The expected number of requests for 2009–2010 is based on the average annual increase.

The assessment of the ATIP Office’s workload at the end of fiscal 2008–2009 as well as its projected volume of new ATIP requests for 2009–2010 clearly demonstrates that its existing complement of 42 full–time equivalents (FTEs) will not be enough to address the current and projected workload. Thus, the Department will continue to struggle in its attempts to meet legislative and TBS policy obligations.

Other challenges include:

  • There is an ever increasing level of complexity and sensitivity of ATIP requests facing DFAIT as well as parallel litigation.
  • DFAIT has unique responsibilities under both Acts on behalf of other government departments (OGDs) and related TBS policies. DFAIT consults with foreign organizations abroad for OGDs that are processing requests for records originating from abroad. In fact, last year DFAIT processed even more requests for ATI consultations from OGDs (1039) than ATI requests for access to records under its control (665). This important role continues to put another heavy burden on the ATIP Division’s limited resources.
  • There is a limited pool of experienced ATIP analysts across the federal ATIP community and there are substantial time and cost implications for the Department to “grow its own” ATIP analysts.
  • There are significant IM/IT challenges within DFAIT, those of which are currently being studied.

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Key Considerations

Improving compliance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act is a departmental priority, especially in light of growing requests to the Department for information related to the Government’s key international priorities such as Afghanistan. As well, improved compliance and commitment to these legislative responsibilities has been identified as a Government of Canada priority, reflected in the following instruments:

  • Federal Accountability Act – commitment to openness, transparency and accountability of its program activities as it relates to the obligations under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
  • Management Accountability Framework (MAF). Effectiveness of Information Management Indicator (number 12) is: “Governance and management of information and records in a manner that supports the outcome of programs and services, operational needs and accountabilities, and the administration of the Privacy and Access to Information Acts.”
  • TBS policies on Access to Information and Privacy speak of the “quasi–constitutional” role played by ATIP and the importance of compliance to government accountability and the democratic process.
  • TBS Privacy Impact Assessment Policy was introduced in May 2002 and DFAIT must establish the required resources to ensure its compliance. In addition, as a result of TBS’ 2005 Management of Information Technology Security (MITS) requirements, DFAIT must ensure the security of information and information technology (IT) assets which includes the requirement to prepare Privacy Impact Assessments for most of its systems.

Services for Canadians comprise one of three strategic outcomes under the Department’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA). ATIP is one of the key services provided to the general public by the Department in Canada, and better service requires improved compliance with the relevant Acts. Furthermore, given the additional function of the departmental ATIP office of consulting foreign governments on the release of information originating with them, there is a major component of ATIP implementation that includes managing our international relationships and ensuring partners that their information is managed appropriately.

Administration of Requests

The following section explains in more detail the TBS statistical report as provided in Annex B.

Privacy Requests

Between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, the Department received three hundred and forty–five (345) requests for personal information under the Privacy Act. In addition, seventy (70) requests were carried over from the previous fiscal year. During the reporting period, three hundred and sixty–eight (368) requests were completed and forty–seven (47) remained active as of March 31, 2009.

Disposition of Completed Requests

The distribution of completed requests is as follows:

All disclosed106
Disclosed in part163
Nothing disclosed (excluded)0
Nothing disclosed (exempt)2
Transferred1
Unable to process47
Abandoned by applicant48
Total367

Exemptions and Exclusions

The exemption most commonly used by the Department during the period was section 26 [Information about another individual]. It was invoked in two hundred and ninety–three (293) requests. The Department has also applied exclusions under sub–section 70(1) [confidences of cabinet] for 3 requests.

Consultations Received From Other Institutions

When a request contains records that are of a greater interest to another institution, the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator of that institution is consulted. Between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, the Department received sixty–five (65) consultations under the Privacy Act from other federal government institutions.

During the reporting period, 69 consultations were completed under the Privacy Act representing 1,627 pages.

Consultations With Other Institutions

In return, the Department consulted other government institutions the following number of times during the reporting period.

Other Federal Governments28
Privy Council Office (Cabinet Confidences)2
Provincial Institutions or Municipalities3
Foreign Governments or Institutions of States7
Total40

Disclosure of Personal Information

Subsection 8(1) of the Privacy Act states that “personal information under the control of a government institution shall not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be disclosed by the institution except in accordance with this section.”

Subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act states that “personal information under the control of a government institution may be disclosed” under certain specific circumstances.

Paragraph 8(2)(b)

Personal information may be disclosed “for any purpose in accordance with any Act of Parliament or any regulation made there under that authorizes its disclosure.”

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, eight (8) requests were received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(d)

Personal information may be disclosed “to the Attorney General of Canada for use in legal proceedings involving the Crown in right of Canada or the Government of Canada.”

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, one (1) request was received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(e)

Personal information may be disclosed “to an investigative body […] for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada or a province or carrying out a lawful investigation…”

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, three hundred and thirty–eight (305) requests were received and treated. Most of the requests under section 8(2)(e) are received from the RCMP and CSIS who require access to passport application files. As such, the ATIP team at Passport Canada processes the bulk of these requests on behalf of DFAIT’s ATIP Office.

Paragraph 8(2)(f)

Personal information may be disclosed “under an agreement or arrangement between the Government of Canada [...] and the government of a province [or territory] [...] for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation.”

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, two hundred and twenty–one (225) requests were received and treated. Most of requests under section 8(2)(f) are received from the Sûreté du Québec who requires access to passport application files. As in the case of 8(2)(e) requests, the ATIP team at Passport Canada processes the bulk of these requests on behalf of DFAIT’s ATIP Office.

Paragraph 8(2)(g)

Personal information may be disclosed “to a member of Parliament for the purpose of assisting the individual to whom the information relates in resolving a problem.”

The department did not disclose any personal information pursuant to this paragraph during this reporting period.

Paragraph 8(2)(l)

Personal information may be disclosed “to any government institution for the purpose of locating an individual in order to collect a debt owing to Her Majesty in right of Canada”.

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, one (1) request was received and treated.

Paragraph 8(2)(m)

Personal information may be disclosed “for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution,
(i) the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or
(ii) disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates.”

Under this paragraph of the Privacy Act, thirty–four (34) requests were received and treated during the reporting period. Most of these requests are received under section 8(2)(m)(ii) of the Act from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) who require contact information about individuals who were identified as sitting in close proximity to a person with infectious tuberculosis for longer than eight hours on a commercial aircraft. The release is deemed necessary to notify the appropriate provincial/territorial public health authorities who will inform the individuals of the risk of having been infected with latent tuberculosis infection. DFAIT has no objection to the release of the personal information without the consent of the subject individuals since the disclosure will clearly benefit the individuals to whom the information relates. In all cases, the Privacy Commissioner’s Office was notified of the release at the same time as the disclosure to the PHAC took place due to the urgency in such matters.

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Complaints and Investigations

Complaints Received and Completed

During the reporting period, thirteen (13) complaints against the Department were filed with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Reason for Complaint
Delay6
Extension0
Refusal – Exemptions1
Refusal – General0
Miscellaneous1
Use and Disclosure5

Eighteen (18) investigations were completed during the reporting period.

FindingResult
Discontinued3No Action Required14
Not substantiated4Remedial Action Taken4
Resolved2  
Well Founded13  

One complaint case that required the ATIP Office’s undivided attention during the reporting period was the inadvertent improper disclosure of personal information pertaining to a high profile consular case. As a result of the well–founded complaint, the ATIP Office and the Consular Branch worked very closely with the Privacy Commissioner’s Office to put in place the required corrective measures in an attempt to reduce and hopefully eliminate such a recurrence. Such measures included:

  • Standard Operating Procedures for Consular Cases and Emergencies for the Ministers’ offices and senior officials;
  • Consular Policy on Use and Disclosure of Personal Information for consular officers;
  • Consular Services Privacy Notice Statements and a revised Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information;
  • Review of access privileges and safeguards for COSMOS which is the consular case management database; and the
  • Delivery of additional ATIP awareness training.

Privacy Breaches

It should also be noted that during the reporting period Passport Canada recorded eighteen (18) separate incidents of privacy breaches, the majority of which involved the loss of passport applications by the Canada Post Corporation. The Privacy Commissioner’s Office reviewed the actions taken with respect to the incidents, along with the corrective measures implemented to ensure that this type of situation does not recur. The Privacy Commissioner’s Office was satisfied that Passport Canada took appropriate actions in these matters.

DFAIT’s ATIP Office did not report any other type of privacy breach incidents that did not already form part of a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner’s Office.

Federal Court

During this reporting period, no Federal Court activity for a specific request involving DFAIT was noted under the Privacy Act.

However, it is important to mention that there has been an increase over the last couple of years in the number of parallel ATIP requests and litigation cases. This generates a significant additional burden on the ATIP Office as a result of the requirement to assess exemptions invoked under ATIP provisions in conjunction with redactions made under section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act.

Issues Raised by Agents of Parliament

During the reporting period, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) finalized an Audit of the Personal Information Management Practices of Canadian Passport Operations. This audit, which had been initiated in the Fall 2006, included on–site examination of passport operations abroad. The OPC’s Annual Report for fiscal year 2007–2008, which was tabled in Parliament in early December 2008, included a summary of the audit findings and recommendations.

In brief, the OPC made 15 recommendations and concluded that the privacy management framework for passport operations needs strengthening in a number of important ways. Passport Canada and DFAIT agreed with all the recommendations and committed to implement measures necessary to meet their obligations to safeguard personal information contained on passport applications.

Also, in February 2009, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) tabled in Parliament its report on Managing Identity Information in Selected Federal Institutions. This report was tabled jointly with the OPC’s report on Privacy Management Framework in Selected Federal Institutions. The observations made in this OPC report as they pertain to Passport Canada were the same as those already presented in its previous audit and annual reports.

Administration of Personal Information

The Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Policy, which was introduced by TBS in May 2002, is a step–by–step evaluation of the flow of personal information held within a given program or service. This process enables the Department to determine whether new technologies, information systems, initiatives, and proposed programs or policies meet federal government privacy requirements.

In addition, as a result of TBS’ 2005 Management of Information Technology Security (MITS) requirements, DFAIT must ensure the security of information and information technology (IT) assets which includes the requirement to prepare Privacy Impact Assessments for most of its systems.

A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is conducted when it is clear that the program or system will collect, use or disclose personal information, and/or if it will be performed by a contractor, and/or if there is data matching, and/or if the personal information will be shared with other government institutions, other jurisdictions, third parties, cross border, etc. A PIA outlines salient points about new or existing personal information handling activities, including hard copy format or through technology systems, by answering questions about the information that will be collected, who will be able to access the information, how the information and data will be maintained, what administrative controls will be in place, and how the decision to use the information was made.

A Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessment (PPIA) is normally conducted at the early stage of a project when it is unclear if the program or system will collect, use or disclose personal information, whether or not it is collected directly or indirectly, if the personal information will be shared or not with third parties, etc. Conducting a PPIA will often clarify if a full PIA is required.

From the initiation of a PPIA/PIA to the final product, the ATIP Office provides privacy policy direction to program areas within the Department.

During the reporting period, DFAIT initiated one (1) new PPIA and seventeen (17) new PIAs as well as submitted five (5) PIAs to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) for review. In addition, four (4) PPIAs and ten (10) PIAs were completed and published during the reporting period as a result of the ATIP Office having revamped its departmental Internet website in November 2008.

The following information pertains to PPIA and PIA activities in 2008–2009 and for ease of reference have been listed in alphabetical order:

Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessments (PPIA)

Online Form for Mission Client Service and Innovation Bureau Website

The Mission Client Service and Innovation Bureau has launched a new mission–oriented website. This site contains two forms which are both collecting personal opinion of individuals about the services that they obtained and also their personal views about the website.

A PPIA was initiated in February 2009 and, at the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft of the PPIA.

Online Registration for Canada Trade Missions

The International Trade Missions Division (WST) is primarily responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of trade missions abroad led by the Prime Minister, the Minister of International Trade and/or senior departmental officials on behalf of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The PPIA was submitted to the OPC on Aug. 14, 2007. The OPC provided some recommendations. During the reporting period, the response to the OPC’s recommendations was finalized and the ATIP Office was awaiting comments from the OPC. The ATIP Office also posted a copy of the Executive summary on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Online Registration for Canada Trade Missions.

Passport Canada – Mission Passport Print Solution

The Mission Passport Printing Solution is a project that further enhances the security of the passport production line by centralizing passport printing in Canada.

The PPIA was submitted to the OPC in August 2005. On April 12, 2007, the OPC advised that they had reviewed the PPIA and agreed that a full PIA was not required as the project would not involve additional collection, use, disclosure or retention of personal or substantially alter mission processes to provide passports to Canadian citizens in foreign countries. The file was closed by the OPC and the ATIP Office.

During the reporting period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Mission Passport Print Solution Project.

Passport Canada – National Routing System Pilot Initiative

The PPIA was developed on the National Routing System’s (NRS) Pilot Initiative query functionality that will be used by Passport Canada (PPTC) to validate vital statistics information in relation to determining passport entitlement. The rationale for completing a PPIA is that the NRS was at an early stage of development. The design concept is being validated through the NRS Pilot Initiative. The PPIA addresses the NRS Pilot Initiative only.
The PPIA was submitted to the OPC on Sept. 19, 2005 and the OPC provided comments in April 2006 which requested that the OPC be kept updated on the development of this project. In July 2008, the ATIP Office was advised by PPTC that the project was on hold for an undetermined amount of time. In December 2008, the ATIP Office was informed by PPTC that for the NRS Global project activities, nothing had been done as this project is led by TBS and PPTC has not heard anything in about a year. During the reporting period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at National Routing System (NRS) Pilot Initiative — Passport Canada Query Functionality.

Scholarship – Public Diplomacy Funding

The Government of Canada’s Academic Relations Program’s international scholarships are managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The program’s objective is to promote Canadian values and identity around the world, in order to strengthen Canada’s international relations. Through its international scholarships activities, which include scholarships for Canadians by foreign governments (Canada–China Scholars Exchange Program, Commonwealth Scholarship Plan, Foreign Government Awards, Organization of American States (OAS) Fellowships Programs) and scholarships for non–Canadians by the Government of Canada (Canada China Scholars’ Exchange Program, Commonwealth Scholarship Plan, Government of Canada Awards), DFAIT creates friends of Canada who could hold positions of authority in their respective countries, reinforcing Canada’s international ties and influence. In developing countries, these scholarships are designed to contribute to the development of human capital. The Commonwealth Scholarships, which were among the first international scholarships to be established, were initiated in 1959, when Commonwealth countries, led by Canada, set up a scholarship plan to strengthen the links between them and to encourage higher education. Canada is the largest contributor of Commonwealth scholarships after the United Kingdom.

The PPIA was submitted to the OPC in November 2006. The OPC recommended that a full PIA be conducted. At the end of the reporting period, the PIA had not yet been initiated and the ATIP Office was still awaiting the first draft. However, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PPIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Canada International Scholarship Programs – Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessment.

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Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA)

Air Ambulance – New Contract

DFAIT has the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of Canada’s interests abroad and the conduct of Canada’s relations with other countries. DFAIT has outsourced Emergency Evacuation services, including medical and non–medical evacuations.

A PIA was initiated and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft of the PIA at the end of the reporting period.

Blackberry, Cell Phone and Email Services

The Blackberry service is a valuable tool at DFAIT, enabling employees to be more responsive and remain connected to their office environment. Blackberries provide telephone service, Internet browsing, corporate mailbox access, SMS (text messaging), and some other device–specific features (eg. camera).
A PIA was conducted and then forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the OPC’s recommendations. During that same period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Blackberry Cellular Phone and Email services – SIGNET Electronic Messaging.

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence has been providing reporting services at DFAIT since 2000. The number of requests has been incremental for new reports since its inception. Business Intelligence consolidates business data from existing data sources to produce consolidated business views. It extracts or gets data from various electronic delivery methods. The data may include personal information.

A PIA has been initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

Dialogue Application

Dialogue is a web based application that will allow Centre of Learning for International Affairs and Management (CFSD) to produce customized online 360 and 180 degree feedback questionnaires and reports.

This PIA was sent to the OPC on August 14, 2007. The OPC provided recommendations. During the reporting period, many meetings were held with CFSD to prepare a response to the OPC’s recommendations. Additional meetings were also held after the reporting period. The response to the OPC was finalized and will be captured in the next Annual Report to Parliament. During the reporting period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Dialogue Application.

Diplomatic Incident Tracking and Reporting Application (DITR)

The DITR application is used to keep track and report on how DFAIT deals with the more complex issues such as impaired driving, speeding, domestic violence, criminal activities, etc. which are related to diplomats.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

e–Collaboration

e–Collaboration is a suite of web 2.0 solutions that will offer new tools to users belonging to the GoC International Platform such as wiki, blogs, profiles, communities, activities, social tagging, news reading and integrated search. It will allow federal employees to collaborate, share and communicate together faster and in a timely manner.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

EXCOL

Most of Canada’s export controls exist because Canada is a partner to International agreements to limit the movement of strategic goods. These regulations are designed to prevent the movements of certain goods that may not be in the strategic interest of Canada or its allies or that may be contrary to Canada’s bilateral or multilateral commitments.

DFAIT’s Canada’s Export Controls Division of the Export Import Controls Bureau is responsible for evaluating and approving applications for permits to export controlled and strategic goods and technology. It is also responsible for issuing export permits for controlled goods, tracking goods exported against authorized permits and supporting other import/export processes such as delivery verification. Export permit issuance and management process is designed to ensure that Canadian exports do not contribute to the production or use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

In early 2006, the Bureau introduced the Export Controls Online System (EXCOL) to replace the legacy paper–based permit system that has been in operation since 1988. EXCOL is an interactive and computerized application that allows clients to submit export applications and certificates online using Secure Channel.

The PIA was forwarded to the OPC in August 2007. During the reporting period, recommendations from the OPC were received by the ATIP Office who in turn responded to the OPC. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was awaiting comments from the OPC on the ATIP Office’s response. During that same period, the ATIP Office also posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Export Control On–Line System (EXCOL).

Export Import Controls System

DFAIT has the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of Canada's interests abroad and the conduct of Canada's relations with other countries. The Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) empowers the Department to issue permits and assist Canadian exporters and importers.
The Export Import Control System (EICS) is a mission critical system that enables licensed Canadian Customs Brokers to apply on–line for the necessary permits for the importation and exportation of certain goods to and from Canada. During the course of issuing permits and conducting Export Import Control through the usage of the EICS system, the Department collects, accumulates, and manages personal information. The EICS offers a secure WEB interface and an Electronic Data Interchange interface to support the application, approval, and processing of import/export permits. The system also features import/export quota management functionality.
The PIA was conducted and forwarded to the OPC. During the reporting period, the ATIP Office received recommendations from the OPC. At the end of the reporting period a response to the OPC was being drafted and will be captured in the next Annual Report to Parliament. During the reporting period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Export and Import Controls System (EICS).

Global Commerce Support Program (GCSP)

On December 11, 2008, the Treasury Board approved the Department’s Treasury Board submission to establish a class contribution program, the Global Commerce Support Program (GCSP) which amalgamates three existing programs recast as three components:

  1. Invest Canada–Community Initiatives (ICCI), (formerly Community Investment Support Program (CISP));

  2. Going Global–Innovation (GGI), (formerly Going Global and Science & Technology (GG)); and

  3. Global Opportunities for Associations (GOA), (formerly Program for Export Market Development – Association (PEMD–A)).

The purpose of the GCSP is to build stronger and more competitive Canadian capacity to effectively compete in the global economy as set in the government’s Global Commerce Strategy (GCS), launched in 2007.

Invest Canada – Community Initiatives (ICCI), formerly Community Investment Support Program (CISP), was originally approved in 1998 as Program for Export Market Development – Investment (PEMD–I). It is designed to support Canadian community efforts to achieve the ultimate outcome of creating jobs through attracting, retaining and expanding Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Through ICCI, communities are provided with assistance to aid in the development and delivery of localized investment attraction strategies, a critical element of a community’s ability to be innovative.

Going Global Innovation (GGI) is designed to promote and enhance Canada’s international collaborative efforts by supporting Canadian researchers in pursuing international research and development (R&D) opportunities through the development of partnerships with key players in other countries/economies. It supports projects that aim to build on targeted relationships between Canadian companies and/or researchers and key players in other countries with the expectation that these relationships will progress to formal discussions leading to future international R&D initiatives eventually leading to downstream commercialization results. GCSP fills a unique niche by being the only federal contribution program that provides early–stage financing to Canadian researchers for the specific purpose of assisting them in establishing partnerships with key players in other countries. In an effort to increase the likelihood of downstream commercialization, going forward, more emphasis will be placed on private sector participation and on projects that are more likely to lead to initiatives with strong market potential.

Global Opportunities for Association (GOA) will increase Canadian prosperity and competitiveness in the international marketplace by financially supporting national sectoral trade or industry associations (or a regional sectoral association with a national perspective) or national horizontal/multi–sectoral organizations to undertake new or expanded international business development promotion activities for the benefit of its entire industry (member and non–member firms).

As a way of aligning with and focussing on the Department’s international priorities as outlined in the GCS, the GOA pillar integrates departmental strategic market and sector priorities in its programming policies. In addition, while the focus of PEMD–A was on export market development and export sales, the focus of the GOA pillar shifts to a broader definition of international business development which allows for integrative trade activities, including global value chain activities, making the pillar more relevant to today’s global economy and competitiveness.

The objective of the GOA pillar is to establish business relationships and market potential for Canadian industry in strategic markets and sectors, by sharing the risks and costs of activities that associations normally could not or would not undertake alone, thereby reducing risks involved in international business development.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the final draft of the PIA.

Global Peace and Security Funds / Anti–Terrorism Due Diligence Protocol

DFAIT’s Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) is responsible for managing the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF), a $170–million financial resource (fiscal year 2008–2009), used to develop and deliver peace and security initiatives in such areas as conflict prevention, global peace support. START secretariat is developing a database/registry that will include personal information related to the GPSF. A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

HR Portal

The HR Portal is a management system used to track and control all human resources matters such as appointments, acting, classification, etc. The HR Portal will be moved to another server.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

Human Resources Management System (HRMS)

As many other government departments, DFAIT uses the Human Resources Management System for human resources related matters such as appointments, leaves, etc.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the final draft of the PIA.

International Youth Program

The International Youth Program (IYP) section is responsible for identifying, negotiating and implementing international youth mobility bilateral arrangements (Treaties and Memorandums of Understanding) with other countries to allow Canadian and foreign youth to learn about the other culture through a travel, work and life experience abroad. IYP services include:

  • Negotiation of international bilateral arrangements;
  • Consultation and advice pertaining to the implementation of these youth mobility bilateral arrangements;
  • Support to missions for receipt of applications;
  • Domestic marketing and outreach to promote the program among young Canadians; and
  • Liaison with implementing agencies.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

Intrusion Detection Access Control System (IDACS)

DFAIT represents Canada worldwide through a network of embassies, High Commissions, consulates and diplomatic offices. These sites are supported by DFAIT Headquarters located in Ottawa. DFAIT has a total of 11 satellite offices within the NCR. All of these NCR offices are serviced by the IDAC system at Headquarters, on one way or another, making it the largest operational IDAC system in the department. DFAIT also has 11 Regional offices, in every province and territory across Canada, but non are currently connected to this IDAC system at this time.

In the vast majority of NCR sites, the IDAC systems are used in concert with guard forces to control the physical access into DFAIT office spaces. Sites without a guard force presence are secured at all times and access is controlled via the IDAC systems. All sites are also protected against illegal intrusion by the monitoring afforded via their IDAC systems. These systems report all alarms to the security control center at DFAIT headquarters and guards respond in kind depending on each site’s requirements.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

Lotus Connections

The Lotus Connections system will provide a new way for DFAIT staff to work on projects and tasks by providing a means of collaborating electronically. The information system will allow colleagues working on the same project but in separate physical locations to dynamically share information so that everyone is working with the most up–to–date information. Users will be able to locate colleagues having the skills set for a specific project by searching on key words describing their expertise.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

Lyris Software

The Lyris Software is used by individuals to suscribe online for news information about Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan. The database contains personal information. DFAIT wishes to expand the parameters of the software/database and subscription interface to meet its requirements.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

MITNET / SIGNET D

DFAIT has a secure computer network known as SIGNET D. This network is used primarily for unsecured information processing, storage, and management as well as unsecured messaging. The network is nearly 15 years old and has gone through several revisions. SIGNET D is the network operating environment and related protocols that runs on top of the Multi–User Integrated Telecommunications Network (MITNET), which provides a single departmental network infrastructure to support data and voice applications. Where SIGNET D is a higher–level network environment and provides operating connectivity for users, the MITNET provides the low–level network connectivity protocols and the physical infrastructure. It connects the Local Area Networks at Canada’s 160 missions in 111 countries, and directly serves more than 10,000 people, of whom more than 6,000 work outside Canada.

A PIA was conducted reflecting the many revisions that the system has gone through. It was then forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the OPC’s recommendations. During that same period, the ATIP Office also posted on DFAIT’s Website a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA that was previously developed for the older system. It can be found at MITNET / SIGNET–D Infrastructure. The information for the revised PIA will be posted on DFAIT’s Website and captured in the next reporting period.

Passport Canada – Correctional Services Canada Project

The objective of the project was to establish a protected electronic sharing of personal information of offenders under the jurisdiction of CSC with PPTC. This provides PPTC with an awareness of individuals who are current offenders under federal responsibility and thus facilitate their discretionary capacity in the issuance, refusal, or revocation of a passport. Under the terms of a MOU, CSC provides PPTC with current information relating to individuals (both incarcerated and paroled) within its federal jurisdiction. Whereby such an individual applies for a passport or holds an existing passport, PPTC will inform CSC of the situation and communicated their decision relating to passport issuance, refusal, maintenance or revocation.

A PIA was conducted and was then forwarded to the OPC in 2006. In April 2007, the OPC provided some recommendations. During the reporting period, the ATIP Office responded to the OPC and was awaiting comments. During that same period, the ATIP Office also posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Passport Canada’s MOU with Correctional Services Canada.

Passport Canada – Cybase IQ Application

The Cybase IQ Application is a new tool to be launched by PPTC. This tool will be used to generate statistical reports. Personal information will be contained in the application.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

Passport Canada – e–Passport

Following certain United Nations resolutions on combating terrorism, the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted new passport specifications that included a global blueprint for the integration of biometric identification information into passports and other machine–readable travel documents. These new specifications require the inclusion of an embedded chip and the storage on that chip of the passport–holder’s photo. In 2004, the Canadian government instituted its National Security Policy and presented an implementation plan to pursue initiatives reinforcing border security.

This PIA was sent to the OPC on March 19, 2008. During the reporting period, the OPC provided some recommendations and a response was forwarded to them on December 29, 2008. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was awaiting the OPC’s comments on PPTC’s response and the Executive summary of the PIA was posted on DFAIT’s website which can be found at Data and Radio Frequency Chip (a.k.a. e–passport).

Passport Canada – Facial Recognition

Passport Canada has the responsibility to issue secure travel documents that are recognized internationally. Thus, the Passport Office provides its clients, travel documents holders, the very instrument that facilitates movement across international borders. Travel documents comprise passports (issued to citizens), certificates of identity (issued to landed immigrants) and refugee travel documents (issued to refugee claimants).

A PIA was finalized and forwarded to the OPC in 2004. In February 2009, the ATIP Office was informed by PPTC that due to substantial changes, the completed PIA was being revised. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was awaiting the revised version of the PIA and posted a copy of the Executive summary of the previously completed PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Facial Recognition Application Project – Passport Canada.

Passport Canada – Mail Tracking System

PPTC has a high volume of demands for passports. Currently, applications are only tracked from the moment that they are entered in the IRIS system. As a result of the volume, applications are sometimes not entered in the system for as long as three months. The delay in the processing of applications also resulted in an increase in information requests from the public regarding their application. When the public makes an information request, PPTC must locate the application and action it accordingly. Because of the volume of requests, and the inability to effectively track each application that entered PPTC premises, it could take up to one week to locate the applicant’s file. PPTC’s staff was forced to physically search through a large number of applications.

PPTC has developed a system to record/track all passport applications received until they are being recorded in IRIS.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and a first draft was provided to the ATIP Office. The ATIP Office reviewed it and returned it to PPTC for changes, approval and for attachment of all appendices. At the end of the reporting period the ATIP Office was awaiting the approved revised version and all appendices.

Passport Canada – N–III System

The public safety and security community’s knowledge base is constantly expanding. Today, thousands of diverse users rely on information from the Canadian Police Information Centre as part of their daily activities. This information holding is of limited usefulness without efficient ways to discover and access information residing in it. N–III improves information sharing across the public safety sector by making it possible to request information from multiple law enforcement sources. The N–III system, composed of the Integrated Query Tool (IQT), extends that capability to departments and agencies of the federal government such as PPTC.

PPTC’s Security Bureau plans to use the N–III IQT capability to access and use police information that will help make entitlement and passport issuance decisions and to investigate suspicious activities related to passport fraud or other offences.

Public Safety Canada has the lead on the PIA. PPTC is only required to provide that institution with an addendum to their PIA. PPTC initiated the addendum PIA during the reporting period. A first draft was provided to the ATIP Office. The ATIP Office has reviewed the drafted addendum PIA and returned it to PPTC for changes and clarifications. At the end of the reporting period the ATIP Office was awaiting the revised PIA.

Passport Canada – Passport Application Receiving Agent Project

In 2004, three Service Canada centres were initially selected to participate in the pilot project of the Passport Receiving Agent Service. An additional 30 locations were established in 2005. A third expansion took place in 2007 that saw the total number of locations increased to 101 by October of that same year. An Order in Council (OIC) amending the Canadian Passport Order (CPO) was obtained by PPTC, which included the authorities to expand the number of sites for Passport Receiving Agent. In addition, The OIC significantly changes the nature of HRSDC’s (Service Canada) authority to conduct passport activities since the original 2005 PIA was finalized and approved. Since May 2008, HRSDC is no longer legally acting as an “agent” of PPTC but is providing passport services under the direct authority of the CPO. Furthermore, since the original PIA was approved in June 2005, the structure of the department has drastically changed.

Thus, a PIA was conducted and Service Canada had the lead on the PIA. PPTC was only required to provide Service Canada with an addendum to their PIA. PPTC initiated the addendum PIA during the reporting period. The ATIP Office reviewed the addendum and provided comments on it. The addendum was returned to PPTC for submission to Service Canada who incorporated the proposed the ATIP Office/PPTC changes and then submitted it to the OPC.

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Passport Canada – Two–Dimensional (2D) Barcode Simplified Data Capture Tool and Applications Forms

Passport Canada is a Special Operating Agency of DFAIT. Its mission is to issue internationally respected travel documents. Canadian passports are issued in the exercise of the Royal prerogative. Under the Canadian Passport Order (the Order), the Minister has charged Passport Canada with the authority to issue, refuse, revoke, withhold, recover and monitor the use of passports. The Minister’s charge clearly embraces the duty to safeguard the security and integrity of the issuance process, as well as the security, integrity and value to the holder of the Canadian passport.

The objective of Passport Canada (PPTC) is to provide Canadians with quality, convenient and comprehensive passport services in a timely, secure and cost effective manner. To improve information accuracy and gain efficiency, Passport Canada (PPTC) has introduced a two dimensional barcode (2D barcode) on its Passport Applications. The passport forms that have been made available online now feature a barcode at the top right corner of the application’s first page. The barcode is dynamically generated on the form when an electronic PDF form is completed by the applicant on the screen. During the reporting period, a PIA was initiated, finalized and forwarded to the OPC who in turn provided recommendations. The ATIP Office responded on behalf of PPTC and the ATIP Office was awaiting the OPC’s comments at the end of the reporting period. During that same period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Two–Dimensional Barcode (2D Barcode) on Passport Applications.

DFAIT Performance Management Program (PMP) On–Line

PMP On–Line is a dynamic Web–based performance management application to be used by managers and employees for setting objectives and performance indicators, measuring competencies, documenting training requirements and career aspirations and reviewing achievements. It also acts as a communication tool in as much as it includes information about the new performance management program, links to training programs, FAQs, newsletters, broadcast messages and links to the FAC and ITCan competency dictionary and competency profiles.

The PIA was sent to the OPC who in turn provided recommendations on the PIA. During the reporting period, the ATIP Office responded to the OPC’s recommendations and both the OPC and the ATIP Office closed the file. During that same period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Performance Management Program On–Line.

Publications Catalogue

DFAIT offers the possibility to individuals to request or order departmental publications. Departmental publications are stored at a private service provider (Wills Transfer) in Ottawa. On behalf of DFAIT, they ship or mail the publication(s) to the individual.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the first draft.

SIGNET C5

DFAIT had a secure computer network known as SIGNET–C4. This network was used primarily for secure text processing and secure messaging. It was nearly ten years old and has now been replaced by a new system, SIGNET–C5. This new system has essentially the same functionality as the older system, however, with up–to–date hardware and software.

The PIA was forwarded to the OPC in 2007 and the OPC provided recommendations in February 2008. The ATIP Office had many discussions with the program area and the response was being finalized shortly after the reporting period, and thus will be captured in the next reporting period. However, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at SIGNET C5.

Telephone and Messaging System – Voice Alarms and Wireless Communications

DFAIT represents Canada worldwide through a network of embassies, consulates and diplomatic offices. These entities are commonly referred to as missions. All missions and Headquarters are connected for both voice and data traffic via the Multi–User Integrated Telecommunications Network (MITNET).

A PIA was conducted and then forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period and the ATIP Office was awaiting the OPC’s recommendations. During that same period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Departmental Telephone and Messaging Systems, Voice Alarms, and Wireless Communications.

Virtual Trade Commissioner – TRIO

As a core member of Team Canada Inc., the Trade Commissioner Service of the Department provides “In Market Assistance” to experienced exporter and Canadian companies who have researched and targeted their markets. The Trade Commissioner Service’s role is to promote the economic interests of Canada abroad such as export market development, foreign direct investment in Canada, science and technology networking and international research and development collaboration.

The PIA was submitted to the OPC on April 7, 2007. The OPC provided recommendations and the ATIP Office responded to the OPC. During the reporting period, the ATIP Office provided the OPC with a refreshed PIA and both the ATIP Office and the OPC closed the file. During that same period, the ATIP Office posted a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT’s Website which can be found at Virtual Trade Commissioner.

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Data Matching and Data Sharing

During the previous reporting period, the ATIP Office initiated discussions with the Protocol Office for the implementation of a new information sharing arrangement with the Province of Quebec as it relates to the Department’s Diplomatic Registry System. This arrangement would likely require data matching activities between the federal and provincial governments, that of which was being explored. A PIA was to be developed in 2008–2009 to address all these privacy implications; however, at the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office had not yet received a draft.

In addition, Passport Canada’s (PPTC) Security Bureau plans to use the National Integrated Interagency Information (N–III) Integrated Query Tool (IQT) capability to access and use police information to help make entitlement and passport issuance decisions and to investigate suspicious activities related to passport fraud or other offences.

Currently, PPTC accesses law enforcement information electronically through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Today, outside of an information interchange with the Correctional Service of Canada, PPTC does not have a comprehensive solution that addresses criminality as part of its entitlement process. PPTC’s access to CPIC offers limited information from police services. Therefore, subsequent labour and intensive steps are required to perform investigations. The IQT component of N–III can provide PPTC with a more robust information query capability, resulting in a more timely discovery of information from police services, which will improve the Security Bureau’s business outcomes.

The information sharing intent under the N–III Initiative involves comparing personal data obtained from a variety of sources for making decision about the individuals to whom the data pertains and, therefore, meets the Treasury Board definition of data matching which involves the collection, use and disclosure of personal information subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act. This is a matching program since procedures developed will involve using a computer to compare sets of records containing personal information held by a matching institution with sets of records held by a matching source to merge and/or compare files on identifiable individuals or categories of individuals for administrative purposes. Consultations confirm that the Privacy Commissioner considers the new information–sharing arrangements under N–III meet the definition of data matching.

As mentioned previously under the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) section, this is a Public Safety Canada led initiative and PPTC will provide that institution with an addendum to their PIA.

Internal Operations

Training and Development

During 2008–2009, the ATIP Office ensured that all ATIP Analysts regardless of their years of experience received the necessary training and tools to do their job effectively. In addition, each Analyst in the ATIP Office now has a dedicated mentor/coach (a.k.a. Team Leader) whose primary responsibilities is to ensure that there is a continuous and positive learning environment for their proper development as ATIP specialists. Also, Individual Learning Plans were developed in consultation with each employee within the ATIP Office to ensure that all training and development needs have been addressed.

The ATIP Office also introduced a Professional Development Program in order to “grow its own” ATIP Analysts from within DFAIT since the federal ATIP Community is starving for experienced ATIP Analysts. Such a program quickly proved to improve overall retention and succession planning.

While ATIP Awareness sessions have been given to departmental officials over the years, the ATIP Division implemented a more structured and departmental–wide ATIP awareness program to ensure that officials across the Department understand their roles and responsibilities vis–à–vis ATIP. The ATIP Office also developed a more in–depth hands–on training program for ATIP Liaison Officers across the Department.

In all, the ATIP Office delivered ATIP training in 23 separate sessions during the reporting period and to hundreds of DFAIT employees including:

  • new ATIP Liaison Officers and their back–ups (approx. 140);
  • consular program officials and those preparing to work at missions abroad (approx. 130); as well as
  • various departmental program officials including participants in Security of Information courses (approx. 200).

Departmental Process

In October 2008, the ATIP Office implemented of a streamlined ATIP tasking process that was instituted across DFAIT. This single gateway into the program areas has provided a common ATIP tracking system to improve efficiencies and to measure performance.

Internal Policies on the Application of the Act

During this reporting period, the ATIP Office worked on new and improved ATIP Guidelines customized for processing ATIP requests at DFAIT. Once completed early in 2009–2010 it will serve to consolidate all the DFAIT ATIP policies and procedures in the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act as well as its related TBS policies.

Ongoing Improvements

The following are improvements that have been made over the last reporting year as well as ongoing initiatives to improve the overall ATIP function at DFAIT:

  • During this reporting period the ATIP Office closed approximately 1,000 more ATIP files compared to the previous fiscal year due in large part to the increased permanent capacity (12 new FTEs in 2007–2008) as well as the use of ATIP consultants to help reduce the backlog.
  • Continued to work towards building a more stable and robust capacity within the departmental ATIP Division. Improved recruitment and retention of ATIP personnel to build towards a more sustainable ATIP function for the long–term, including the development of a Professional Development Program for succession planning purposes. The majority of the positions were staffed from competitive processes and deployments. In addition, staff morale and commitment to the Department have improved. DFAIT is also advocating government–wide solutions to staffing such as more centralized recruitment of ATIP specialists.
  • Maintained the reduction of the workload per analyst ratio with the addition of new staff and the continued use of consultants to help with the backlog. A revised case management strategy was implemented to align available resources to address the backlog as well as the current and expected workload.
  • Built a more structured training capacity for ATIP divisional staff drawing on both in–house and external ATIP educational programs. The ATIP Office now has two Deputy Directors, a Manager of Business Practices and Systems as well as five Team Leaders whose primary responsibilities are to ensure that all necessary training, mentoring and coaching is provided to divisional staff and that all the necessary tools are made available. Also worked on new and improved ATIP Guidelines to update and consolidate the divisional policy and procedures manuals.
  • Subject to available resources, started to build a permanent policy capacity within the ATIP Division in order to ensure that the necessary resources are available to meet various ATIP–related TBS requirements such as: the Privacy Impact Assessment Policy. There is a significant volume of Privacy Impact Assessments that are currently being prepared to meet both the PIA Policy as well as TBS' Management of Information Technology and Security (MITS) requirements. Other reporting requirements, that require extensive work by a Policy team, include annual ATIP reports to Parliament, annual statistical reports to TBS, Report Cards to the Information Commissioner of Canada as well as continuous updates to the departmental ATIP websites (Intranet and Internet), all of which have a direct impact on MAF results.
  • Submitted to TBS in June 2008 an update to the annual publication InfoSource after almost 7 years of neglect due to lack of resources within the ATIP Division, which improved compliance with Indicator #12 of the TBS Management Accountability Framework (MAF). Given the extent of the work required due to years of neglect, TBS accepted that DFAIT start as a first phase in 2008 by aligning its InfoSource chapter with DFAIT's current Program Activity Architecture as well as primary program holdings. Subject to available resources, the next phase of the update in 2009–2010 will be an in–depth review of all its information holdings including all personal information banks.
  • Another long overdue project that saw fruition during the reporting year is DFAIT's Internet ATIP website which was revamped and updated. As required by TBS' Privacy Impact Assessment Policy, the website also now includes summaries of Privacy Impact Assessments that were completed by DFAIT over the last seven years since the Policy was in effect in May 2002.
  • Continued to participate in a departmental IM/IT/ATIP Working Group to address various issues within DFAIT relating to information management and technology. For example, the ATIP Office's inability to liaise with all DFAIT clientele in an efficient and effective manner on the secure network causes an over–reliance on hardcopy.
  • In October 2008 implemented a new streamlined ATIP tasking process across DFAIT with designated ATIP Liaison Officers for a single gateway into all the Bureaux and Branches. This in turn provides a much–improved ATIP tracking system in order to measure performance and to gain ATIP efficiencies.
  • Introduced monthly ATIP performance reports to senior management, which in turn has already proved to improve overall departmental understanding and commitment to ATIP compliance.
  • Implemented a structured and departmental–wide ATIP awareness program to ensure that officials across the Department understand their roles and responsibilities vis–à–vis ATIP. Preliminary steps have also been taken to develop an on–line ATIP tutorial for the departmental Intranet site, which will be implemented in 2009–2010 subject to available funding.
  • At the end of the reporting period, the Corporate Secretariat also hired two consultants with expertise in ATIP and business processes, respectively, to examine the ATIP function at DFAIT in order to provide recommendations for additional improvements to the overall ATIP program activity. Their reports will be reflected in the next Annual Report to Parliament.
  • And finally, the ATIP Office also developed another Business Case in January 2009 in the hope of securing additional funding to ensure that the required permanent resources are in place which would result in:
    • sustainable departmental ATIP capacity to support legislative and TBS policy obligations;
    • improved compliance of ATIP Acts and better performance (i.e., timely responses in terms of 80% or better);
    • significant reduction of the long–term use of expensive ATIP consultants;
    • stable and reliable source of ATIP expertise resulting in better informed departmental officials and a culture that understands and values the departmental commitment to openness and transparency;
    • effective succession planning by gaining and retaining in–house ATIP expertise;
    • more timely external ATIP consultations with other government institutions and with other jurisdictions;
    • better service to stakeholders and clients;
    • a less stressful and taxing working environment for the current under–resourced staff; and
    • a more efficient and effective streamlined ATIP process within DFAIT.

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Date Modified:
2012-01-31