Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Privacy Act - 2009-2010

Table of Contents

Introduction

This Annual Report to Parliament is for the 2009-2010 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.

Passport Canada which is a Special Operating Agency of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is responsible for issuing, refusing, revoking and withholding Canadian passports, in addition to administering their use and recovery. Passport Canada supervises all matters relating to Canadian travel documents and provides guidance to Canadian government offices abroad, enabling them to issue passports. Besides serving the public directly, Passport Canada also works with national and international police authorities, security agents, border officials and any federal, provincial and territorial authorities that provide identification documents.

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.

In 2009-2010, the Department had 13,623 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.

The Department's Key Priorities in 2009-2010

Greater economic opportunity for Canada, with a focus on growing/emerging markets

Contribute to economic recovery and opportunity by implementing Global Commerce Strategy to boost Canadian commercial engagement in the world with focus on China, India and Brazil; showcasing Canada's advantage as an investment site; expanding global Research & Development partnerships with a view to commercializing innovation; highlighting Canada as a place of study; promoting Canada's gateway and corridor infrastructure. Advance trade and investment liberalization and market access interests, bilaterally and in the Doha Round. Develop Canada-European Union economic partnership. Conclude and implement free trade agreements with new strategic partners. Focus on air service arrangements; foreign investment promotion and protection negotiations.

United States and the Americas

Build on comprehensive strategy for relations with US, including competitiveness, global economy, trade relations, peace and security, Afghanistan, border management/facilitation, energy and climate change, Arctic. Address decisively Buy American impacts on Canadian exporters. Advance relations with Mexico. Use North American Leaders Summit to advance Canada's economic, security, and environmental objectives. Implement Americas Strategy, with specific initiatives to promote greater economic prosperity, security and democratic governance, with Canada's leadership reinforced by bilateral and multilateral engagement on issues such as Haiti and Honduras.

Afghanistan, including in the context of neighbouring countries

Integrated approach to Afghanistan policy priorities for which the department is responsible: Afghanistan-Pakistan border management; Afghan National Police, justice and corrections in Kandahar province, and supporting Afghan-led reconciliation. Implement all diplomatic aspects of the Afghanistan mission. Finalize development of integrated strategy for the transition of Canada's mission in Afghanistan until 2011.

Asserting Canadian leadership in emerging global governance

In addition to heightening Canada's visibility at the UN Security Council, complete 2010 G8 & G20 Summit and Foreign Ministers' Meeting preparations and chairmanship to our advantage, demonstrating Canadian leadership in emerging global governance and galvanizing innovative international responses to global challenges in the areas of economic recovery, financial reform, peace and security, development, energy and climate change; and showcasing Canada as a dynamic business and innovation partner. Effectively leverage international events to present Canada as a global policy leader on security-related issues such as nuclear security, fragile states and counterterrorism. Position Canada as a leading Arctic nation working with other Arctic states and through the Arctic Council.

Transforming the department

Align with government priorities; strengthen our international platform; improve services to Canadians; focus on core business; strengthen accountability and financial management; renew our human resources. Deepen focus of transformation on missions and regional offices. Strengthen policy capacity. Simplify business practices. Enhance safety and security of missions abroad through new risk-based whole-of-government approaches. Renew business model with view to both economy and effectiveness.

Delegated Authorities

Under Section 73 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 first six months of reporting period, responsibility for all sections of the Act was delegated to the Deputy Ministers, to the Corporate Secretary and 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. Then, in October 2009, DFAIT updated its delegation instrument in order to reflect the current administration and to further delegate the authority to sign off on access to information and privacy (ATIP) requests at the Deputy Director level as well. (See Annex A)

In addition, Passport Canada as a special operating agency was at the time of drafting this report still working towards its own full ATIP delegation authority in order to administer all Access to Information Act and Privacy Act matters as they relate to its passport records.

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. In 2009-2010 the division included five teams of processing Analysts reporting to two Deputy Directors. The Deputy Directors and the Manager of Business Practices and Systems reported to the Director. (See Figure 1)

Figure 1: Organizational Structure

Organizational Structure

Recent changes to the ATIP Office's capacity will be reported in the next Annual Report to Parliament in 2010-2011.

Ongoing Challenges

Given its mandate and various responsibilities at the international level, DFAIT plays a key consultation role under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act on behalf of other government departments (OGDs). The graph in Figure 2 represents DFAIT's ever increasing number of requests of all types including consultations from other government departments under both Acts.

Figure 2: Number of ATIP Requests Received per Fiscal Year

Number of ATIP Requests Received under both Acts per Fiscal Year

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 information management and information technology (IM/IT) challenges within DFAIT, those of which are currently being studied.

Key Considerations

Improving compliance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act continued to be a departmental priority, especially in light of a growing backlog related to requests to the Department for information related to the Government's key international priorities such as Afghanistan. However, financial restraints facing DFAIT in 2009-2010 prevented the ATIP Office from building the additional capacity.

Improved compliance and commitment to these ATIP 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 Policywas 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 in Canada by the Department, 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, 2009 and March 31, 2010, the Department received three hundred and fifty-nine (359) requests for personal information under the Privacy Act. Along with those new requests, forty-nine (49) requests were carried over from the previous fiscal year, for a total of four hundred and eight (408) requests. During the reporting period, three hundred and sixty-two (362) requests were completed and forty-six (46) still active files were carried over to the next reporting period.

Disposition of Completed Requests

The distribution of completed requests is as follows (See Figure 3):

Figure 3: Disposition of Completed Requests
Disposition of Completed Requests# of Completed Requests
All disclosed45
Disclosed in part193
Nothing disclosed (excluded)0
Nothing disclosed (exempt)2
Unable to process77
Abandoned by Applicant37
Transferred8
Total362
Disposition of Completed Requests

Exemptions and Exclusions

The exemption most commonly used by the Department during the period was section 26 [Information about another individual] of the Privacy Act. It was invoked in one hundred and eighty-five (185) requests. The Department did not apply exclusions under sub-section 70(1) [confidences of cabinet] in this reporting period.

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, 2009 and March 31, 2010, the Department received one hundred and one (101) consultations under the Privacy Act from other federal government institutions.

During the reporting period, one hundred and eight (108) consultations were completed under the Privacy Act representing 2,912 pages.

Consultations with Other Institutions

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

Figure 4: Consultations with Other Institutions
Government Institutions# of Requests
Other Federal Governments68
Privy Council Office (Cabinet Confidences)10
Provincial Institutions or Municipalities1
Foreign Governments or Institutions of States13
Total92

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 (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Disclosure of Personal Information

Disclosure of Personal Information

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, twelve (12) 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, four hundred and fifty-seven (457) 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, four hundred and ninety-four (494) 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 ATIP Office 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”.

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

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-five (35) 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.

Complaints and Investigations

Complaints Received and Completed

During the period, six (6) complaints against the Department were filed with the Commissioner for the Protection of Privacy.

Figure 6: Complaints Received and Completed
Reason for Complaint# of Complaint
Delay2
Extension0
Refusal - Exemptions1
Refusal - General1
Miscellaneous0
Use and Disclosure2

Thirteen (13) investigations were completed during the reporting period.

Figure 7: Investigations completed
Finding# of FindingResult# of Result
Discontinued2No Action Required11
Not Well-Founded4Well-Founded2
Resolved2  
Well Founded5  

Privacy Breaches

During the reporting period Passport Canada (PPTC) handled twenty-two (22) incidents of privacy breaches, all of which involved the lost or theft of passport applications. All subject individuals were notified in writing of the breach and of their right to submit a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC). The OPC was notified directly by PPTC in three specific instances and was satisfied with its process and corrective measures.

DFAIT's ATIP Office did not report any other type of privacy breaches during the reporting period.

Federal Court

During this reporting period, there was one Federal Court activity for a specific Privacy Act request involving DFAIT.

Abousfian Abdelrazik and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Canada

In September 2009, Mr. Abdelrazik's counsel filed an application (T-1581-09) pursuant to section 41 of the Privacy Act for an order compelling the production of personal information pertaining to the Applicant relating to a request made in November 2008.

The applicant was justifiably concerned about the delays in responding to his request and had received a well-founded finding from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. However, the file took an unusually long time to process due the voluminous nature of the records (approx. 15,000 pages), the complexity of the case involving litigation, the need to conduct numerous consultations including for cabinet confidences, as well as factors as a result of the ATIP Office's lack of capacity. At the end of this reporting period, the ATIP Office was awaiting responses to the remaining consultations and managed to complete the processing by early August 2010.

Also, 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

DFAIT was not the subject of any audit or review by agents of Parliament, including the Privacy Commissioner's Office, in relation to the administration of the Privacy Act during the reporting period.

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. (A PPIA is a Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessment.)

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.

From the initiation of a 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 eleven (11) new PIAs as well as submitted one (1) PPIA and eight (8) PIAs to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) for review. In addition, one (1) PPIA and nine (9) PIAs were completed and since published on its departmental Internet site. The summaries and status of each PPIA and PIA can be located at the following DFAIT website Publications - Access to Information and Privacy.

It is important to note as well that another twenty (20) projects relating to DFAIT program activities were reviewed by the ATIP Office during the reporting period but deemed as not requiring a Privacy Impact Assessment.

The following information pertains to PPIA and PIA activities in 2009-2010 and for ease of reference have been listed in alphabetical order:

Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessments (PPIA)

Emergency Management Portal

The Emergency Management Portal is a web-based reporting tool that will provide senior management and operational teams at HQ and missions with a centralized view of international emergencies affecting our missions around the world. It will consolidate all emergency management activities and information for the purpose of monitoring, managing and reporting on international emergencies, humanitarian, consular, global health, security, environmental, technological, political and economic crises. The portal will provide real-time situational awareness, analysis and lessons learned to improve emergency and crisis management.

A PPIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PPIA on DFAIT's Website when the PPIA has been completed.

Integrated Management System (IMS)

The Integrated Management System (IMS) is the departmental Enterprise Resource Planning tool used for accounting, which includes posting pay summary transaction, controlling, budgeting, inventory management, procurement and asset accounting. All financial and material transactions of the department are reflected in IMS.

The PPIA was completed and forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period and the ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the completed PPIA on DFAIT's Website. While the ATIP Office was awaiting the OPC's comments on the PPIA, the Corporate Financial Systems Division informed the ATIP Office that a new module (Salary Forecasting Tool) will be added to IMS. It has informed the OPC accordingly and a full PIA has been initiated for IMS which will include the new module. Once the full PIA is finalized, this same information will also be posted on DFAIT's Website.

Online Form for Mission Client Service and Innovation Bureau Website

The Mission Client Service and Innovation Bureau 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. However, it was later confirmed that only the views and opinions of employees given in the course of employment were being collected, which is not considered personal information. Thus, a PPIA is not necessary and will not be completed.

Online Registration for Canada Trade Missions

The International Trade Missions Division is primarily responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of trade missions abroad.

A PPIA was originally submitted to the OPC on Aug. 14, 2007. The OPC provided some recommendations and the ATIP Office responded during the reporting period. While reviewing the ATIP Office's response to their recommendations, the OPC asked other questions. The ATIP Office has responded to these additional questions. Around the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting comments from the OPC.

The ATIP Office was also informed by the Division that there were changes in the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting additional comments on the changes. The ATIP Office advised the Division that a PIA will probably be required; however, it will be confirmed once the Division has provided all of the information/details. Should a PIA be required, it will be initiated and captured in the next reporting period.

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; however, it was confirmed that the PIA will be undertaken in the next reporting period.

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA)

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 last reporting period. At the end of this reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting the OPC's recommendations.

Consular Management and Operations System (COSMOS)

The Consular Affairs Bureau provides information and assistance services to Canadians living and travelling abroad. When an individual requests services or assistance from Consular Affairs, a consular case is created. In order to better manage consular cases and Consular activities, the Department created COSMOS which delivers a comprehensive set of tools designed to facilitate the management of consular cases, the issuance of emergency and standard passports for Canadians abroad, and the registration of Canadians abroad. Through the COSMOS system missions are able to better assist Canadians while travelling abroad.

A PIA was initiated during fiscal year 2007-2008, but completed and forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period. The ATIP Office is awaiting the OPC's recommendations. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the completed PIA on DFAIT's Website.

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. Many meetings were held with CFSD to prepare a response to the OPC's recommendations. The response was finalized and forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period.

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.

During the reporting period, it was decided that instead of developing an overarching PIA for the departmental e-Collaboration Strategy, DFAIT would develop PIAs as required for each of the tools being used under its umbrella, i.e. Lotus Connections and DFAIT's Wiki.

Lotus Connections provides a new way for DFAIT staff to work on projects and tasks with the means of collaborating electronically. The information system allows 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 are 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 previous reporting period and at the end of this reporting period the ATIP Office was still awaiting the final PIA due to delays in finalizing the related policy framework.

DFAIT's Wiki is used by departmental officials in order to facilitate collaboration and provide an electronic working medium to capture corporate knowledge. Limited personal information is captured via the Wiki. A PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

Export Controls Online System (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 movement 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 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 had 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. Recommendations were then provided by the OPC. The ATIP Office responded to the OPC's recommendations and is still awaiting their comments.

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. The ATIP Office received some recommendations from the OPC. A response to the OPC was prepared and forwarded to them during the reporting period. The ATIP Office is now awaiting comments from the OPC on its response to their recommendations.

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: a) Invest Canada-Community Initiatives (ICCI), (formerly Community Investment Support Program); b) Going Global-Innovation (GGI), (formerly Going Global and Science & Technology); and c) Global Opportunities for Associations (GOA), (formerly Program for Export Market Development - Association).

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, 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.

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 for the Global Commerce Support Program, which covers primarily ICCI and GOA. It was completed and forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting the OPC's comments on the PIA. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the completed PIA on DFAIT's Website.

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.

While developing and completing the PIA for Global Commerce and Support Program (GCSP), which is previously described, it was concluded that a separate PIA should also be developed for GGI. A separate PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

Human Resources Management System (HRMS)

Like many other government departments, DFAIT uses the Human Resources Management System for human resources related matters such as staffing, leave, etc.

A PIA was initiated for HRMS. It was completed and forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period. The ATIP Office is awaiting the OPC's recommendations on the PIA. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the completed PIA on DFAIT's Website

Information Export Warehouse Application (Info Ex)

DFAIT offers the possibility to individuals to request or order departmental publications from the Publications Catalogue Application. Departmental publications are currently 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 not required for the Publications Catalogue Application. However, a PIA was initiated for the Info Ex Application. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting the first draft of the PIA.

Library Management System (LMS)

The Library Management System is used to register patrons for circulation of items from the library collections.

During the reporting period, a PIA was initiated for LMS. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive Summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

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 last reporting period. At the end of this reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting the OPC's recommendations on the PIA. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the revised PIA on DFAIT's Website.

Online Project Management Collaboration Tool - OPROMA

The Physical Resources Bureau supports Canadian international objectives and programs through the provision of office and staff accommodation, as well as asset management, maintenance and material services, to the bureau clientele in a cost effective, economical and efficient manner. An online collaboration service for project management has been used for some time on a pilot basis. It has been very successful and the Department is preparing for full implementation. The online collaboration service will be hosted by a service provider and on their premises. Information such as name, email and telephone number will be collected.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

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 communicate 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. The ATIP Office responded to the OPC who, in turn, confirmed that they were satisfied with our response. Both the ATIP Office and the OPC have closed their file on this subject.

Passport Canada - e-Passport Pilot

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. The OPC further provided some recommendations and a response was forwarded to them on Dec. 29, 2008. In October 2009, the ATIP Office was informed by the OPC that they were satisfied with its response and that they were closing their file for the pilot project pending future submissions from PPTC on the national implementation. Shortly before the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was informed by PPTC that the planning phase of the e-passport National Rollout Project was ongoing. The Effective Project Approval documentation was being finalized for further approval by TBS. PPTC also advised that a PIA update report (not a new PIA) will be forwarded to the OPC in the next reporting period to describe the action items and their status.

Passport Canada - Facial Recognition

Passport Canada (PPTC) 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 advised that the revised PIA was almost completed. The ATIP Office is still awaiting the first draft of the revised PIA. Once the revised PIA is finalized, the Executive Summary will be posted on DFAIT's Website.

Passport Canada - Guarantor Policy and the Directive on Policy regarding Loss of Citizenship

Passport Canada introduced two new policies that are reflected on its Passport Application Forms. These new polices are the new Guarantor Policy and the Loss of Canadian Citizenship pursuant to section 8 of the Citizenship Act policy.

The new Guarantor Policy enables Canadian passport holders (with some restriction, not all Canadian Passport Holder may act as Guarantor) to be a guarantor for a new passport applicant in Canada and in the USA.

The Directive on Policy regarding Loss of Citizenship requires the public service to inform Canadians that are impacted by Section 8 of the 1977 Citizenship Act, which states “Where a person who was born outside Canada after February 14, 1977 is a Canadian Citizen for the reason that at the time of birth, one of his parents was a citizen by virtue of paragraph 3(1)(b) or (e), that person ceases to be a citizen on attaining the age of twenty-eight years unless that person (a) makes application to retain citizenship; and (b) registers as a citizen and either resides in Canada for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the date of his application or establishes a substantial connection with Canada.”

A PIA was initiated, completed and forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period.

The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the completed PIA on DFAIT's Website.

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 for the Mail Tracking System. During the reporting period, the PIA was completed and forwarded to the OPC for their review and comments. The ATIP Office is now awaiting the OPC's recommendations. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the completed PIA on DFAIT's Website.

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.

Originally, the RCMP was going to have the lead on the PIA, however, it was later decided that Public Safety should have the lead on the PIA. Public Safety did develop an overarching PIA and PPTC was only required to provide an addendum to their PIA. PPTC initiated their addendum PIA. During the reporting period, the addendum was completed and forwarded to Public Safety. During that same period, Public Safety has sent their overarching PIA along with PPTC's addendum to the OPC for their recommendations. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting the OPC's recommendations on the addendum PIA. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of PPTC's addendum on DFAIT's Website.

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.

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. 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 changes and submitted both the overarching PIA and PPTC's addendum PIA to the OPC. At the end of the reporting period, the ATIP Office was still awaiting comments from the OPC. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of PPTC's addendum on DFAIT's Website.

Passport Canada - Security and Intelligence Case Management System (SICMS)

Passport Canada's mission is to issue internationally respected passports. Through the passport entitlement process, the former system performed a number of significant steps including a security alert process/review. The Security and Intelligence Case Management System (SICMS) provides Passport Canada's Security Bureau with a systematic tool to manage cases, administer the alert process, and to identify and analyze trends. SICMS does not change the handling of personal information in the passport entitlement process, but it automates the alert process as well as many other security functions that were performed manually by the authorized Passport Canada personnel.

A PIA was initiated for SICMS. The PIA was completed and forwarded to the OPC during the reporting period. The ATIP Office is awaiting the OPC's recommendations on the PIA. The ATIP Office has since posted a copy of the Executive summary of the completed PIA on DFAIT's Website.

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

Passport Canada's 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.

A PIA was initiated, finalized and forwarded to the OPC who, in turn, provided some recommendations. The ATIP Office responded, on behalf of PPTC, to the OPC. During the reporting period, the OPC advised that they were satisfied with the response to their recommendations and the file was closed.

Personal Emergency Plan Generator (PEPGen)

The Personal Emergency Plan Generator (PEPGen) is a web-based software application used to create, modify and share all Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) and other DFAIT emergency management documentation within a geographically dispersed organization. PEPGen provides the user with a front end interface that walks them through entering information needed to generate a site specific MEP within their region of accreditation. Once PEPGen has collected the information related to Mission staff, local area hazards and other data sources within DFAIT, it populates this information into a document generation engine. It then assembles this data in an internationally standardized emergency management plan format consisting of an emergency operations plan, hazard specific sub plans and quick reference tabs. As the MEP is an evergreen document customized to each Canadian Mission within a specific host nation, PEPGen provides a centralized location to consolidate data sources into an industry accepted standardized format allowing DFAIT users throughout the world to generate and share their emergency management plans.

Within the newly developed DFAIT emergency management program, PEPGen serves as a mitigation, planning, response and recovery tool. PEPGen allows a user to login, pick one of the regions of accreditation they are authorized to view, select and generate the MEP documents specific for that region. The user may select to view the entire suite of MEP documentation or a selected subset of these documents.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

PRIME Application

PRIME serves as the department's official property database. It is a major tool for HQs divisions to create and implement property plans, to feed information into the government's larger Directory of Federal Real Property (DFRP), and to help manage the administration of the properties globally. The application also enables the Department to meet its mandated reporting requirements for environmental management. The environmental data is used by the Department's environmental management committee who continues to oversee the implementation of the environmental management system and accompanying programs, policies and initiatives.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office is awaiting the first draft of the PIA.

Signet C5

The Department 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. During the reporting period, the response to the OPC's recommendations was finalized. The OPC was satisfied with the ATIP Office's response and the file was closed.

Summits

The Department has been involved in many Summits in the past years and will also be in the years to come. Regardless of the types (G7, G8, G20, La Francophonie, etc.), Summits all involve the same kind of process/implications, i.e. security checks, media, Internet website, transportation, accommodation, etc. Given that Summits recur every year, the ATIP Office has taken the lead in developing a general PIA covering all aspects of Summits, regardless of the types. The PIA was being developed in consultation with all the different Bureaus at DFAIT involved in the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the preparation of Summits.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

Sylvia / Ganzu Application

The Sylvia application is a Microsoft Access-based system used to track clients requesting consular services in a small number of missions. It tracks the client from the time they enter the waiting room until their information is entered into COSMOS, which is the departmental consular case management system. Sylvia is also used to track financial transactions for auditing purposes and issues receipts to clients for consular services.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

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 forwarded to the OPC. During the reporting period, the OPC provided some general comments on the PIA and advised that they may provide recommendations at a later date. The ATIP Office did respond to the OPC's letter during that same period and is awaiting their comments.

Transfer of Industrial Cooperation (CIDA-INC) Program to DFAIT

On October 1st, 2009, approvals were in place for the transfer and redesign of the Canadian International Development Agency's Industrial Cooperation Program (CIDA-INC) to this Department. The renewed program became operational under the new name, Investment Cooperation Program (INC), on January 4th, 2010, along with a new set of terms and conditions. INC is managed by the new departmental Investment Cooperation Program Division, which falls under the Trade Commissioner Service - Operations Bureau.

A PIA was initiated during the reporting period. The ATIP Office will post a copy of the Executive summary of the PIA on DFAIT's Website when the PIA has been completed.

Data Matching and Data Sharing

In the last reporting period there were discussions with the Protocol Office about the implementation of a new information sharing arrangement with the Province of Quebec as it relates to the Department's Diplomatic Registry System. However, during this reporting period, the ATIP Office was informed by the Protocol Office that the implementation of such an information sharing agreement was abandoned. Thus, a PIA addressing the data matching activities that this arrangement would have involved between the federal and provincial governments will not be developed.

The following new MOU / Information Sharing Agreements were signed during this period:

  • On April1, 2009 a MOU between Canada Post Corporation and Passport Canada was signed regarding the transportation and distribution of passports and passport mail.
  • On July 15, 2009 Passport Canada signed a MOU with PWGSC concerning the sharing of the Human Resources Information System (HRIS). HRIS is a Crowned-Shared Systems initiative. HRIS was developed to address the human resources needs of small to medium-sized Government of Canada departments and agencies. It is a fully bilingual system used to manage human resources information. Member organizations guide the system's development according to needs, priorities and means.
  • On August 11, 2009 a MOU between Passport Canada and the RCMP was signed regarding the retention and safekeeping of special and diplomatic passports.
  • On December 11, 2009 Passport Canada signed a MOU with DFAIT concerning collaborative initiatives relating to the delivery of the Canadian Passport program abroad.
  • On February 23, 2010 an amendment to a MOU was signed relating to the April 2004 PPTC and Service Canada “Agency Agreement” regarding the provision of passport Receiving Agent services on a pilot basis. The February 2010 amendment sets out the financial arrangements and procedural updates for the provision of validation of documentary evidence of citizenship in seven Service Canada Receiving Agent locations. At the end of the reporting period PPTC and Service Canada were negotiating the details in order to continue the partnership.
  • On March 22, 2010 the MOU between PPTC and Canada Post Corporation that was in force between January 1st, 2004 and December 31st, 2009 was extended until December 31st, 2010 with PPTC having three consecutive options to renew the MOU for additional periods of one year each, starting January 1st, 2011. Canada Post acts as a Receiving Agent for passport application in specified locations and the MOU was extended to ensure the continuation of service in the delivery network. In addition to the new end date, the amendment includes procedural updates that allow Canada Post Corporation to collect, retain and disclose certain personal information of applicants for the purpose of Passport Canada notifying applicants whose applications may have been lost either at Canada Post sites, in transit from Canada Post to Passport Canada processing centres or after being received by Passport Canada processing centres. These changes reflect the Treasury Board Guidelines for Privacy Breaches and Passport Canada's Directive on Privacy Breaches.

Internal Operations

Training & Development

During 2009-2010, the ATIP Office continued to ensure 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 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 continued to benefit from its ATIP Professional Development Program which is allowing DFAIT to “grow its own” ATIP Analysts since the federal ATIP Community is starving for experienced ATIP Analysts. This program has been very successful in addressing recruitment, retention and succession planning issues.

While ATIP Awareness sessions have been given to departmental officials over the years, the ATIP Division continued to implement 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, three hundred and seven (307) separate ATIP-related training sessions were delivered during the reporting period by the ATIP offices at both DFAIT and Passport Canada, comprising of almost 1500 hundred employees including:

  • its own ATIP Analysts;
  • new ATIP Liaison Officers and their back-ups;
  • subject-matter experts within Offices of Primary Interest (OPIs);
  • consular program officials and those preparing to work at missions abroad; as well as
  • various departmental program officials including at Passport Canada.

Departmental Process

Given the new streamlined processes introduced in 2008, no significant changes were made to internal ATIP processes in 2009-2010; however, much attention was placed to educate departmental officials on their ATIP roles and responsibilities to ensure compliance and efficiencies.

Internal Policies on the Application of the Act

During this reporting period, the ATIP Office completed new and improved ATIP Guidelines customized for processing ATIP requests at DFAIT. This consolidated all the DFAIT ATIP policies and procedures in the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act as well as their 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:

  • DFAIT's Intranet ATIP website was revamped and updated to provide further ATIP Awareness tools to departmental officials.
  • Continued to implement a structured and departmental-wide ATIP awareness program to ensure that officials across the Department understand their roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis ATIP.
  • At the end of the previous reporting period, the Corporate Secretariat had 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. Briefly, the report issued in May 2009 concluded that DFAIT needs to pay more attention to its legislative ATIP obligations and provide more resources to the ATIP function. While improvements have and continue to be made with respect to ATIP business processes within DFAIT, improvement with overall ATIP legislative compliance can only come with additional resources being committed to this function.
  • The ATIP Office also developed another Business Case 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.

The ATIP Office is pleased to report that in June 2010 DFAIT was able to re-allocate $2.7M of additional ATIP funding. This injection of new funding will, amongst other things, permit DFAIT to clear the backlog of ATIP files by summer 2011 as well as build additional permanent capacity to meet expected demands. The improvements will be outlined in the next Annual Report to Parliament for 2010-2011.

Annex A: Designation Order

Annex B: 2009-2010 Statistical Report