Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Privacy Act - 2012-2013

Table of Contents

Introduction

We are pleased to table the Annual Report to Parliament on the administration of the Privacy Act for fiscal year 2011-2012, as required under subsections 72(1) and 72(2).

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.

Mandate of the institution

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.

In addition, 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. Please see delegated authorities section for more information.

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 trans-border 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.

Organizational Structure

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

In 2012-2013 the ATIP staff varied from 45 to 53 employees, including contractors. As of March 31 the ATIP office consisted of: the Director, three Deputy Directors, six team leaders, twenty two analysts at various levels, six clerical staff and ten consultants. The work ranges from processing complex and/or voluminous requests to more straight forward, routine requests and consultations from other government departments as well as providing advice to internal and external stakeholders and providing training to departmental staff.

In an effort to improve the efficiency of the ATIP Office, a fast-track Consultation team and an Intake Unit were implemented in the 2011-2012 reporting period. While the results were not as positive as expected and these initiatives were abandoned, the Division will continue to look for new ways to keep up with the increasing workload.

The Division, in dealing with staffing challenges, is continuing its external staffing process at all levels. This process will be completed in early 2013-14.

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. Since October 2009 responsibility for all sections of the Act was delegated to the Deputy Ministers, to the Corporate Secretary, to the Director of the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division, to the Deputy Directors of the ATIP Office, as well as to Heads of Mission for the purposes of disclosure under section 8(2) (m) of the Privacy Act. (See Annex A)

In addition, Passport Canada as a special operating agency obtained its own ATIP delegated authority to respond to requests under both the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act as they relate to its passport records. This delegation came into effect on April 1, 2011.

Administration of Requests

Privacy Requests

Between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, the Department received eighty five (85) requests for personal information under the Privacy Act. Along with those new requests, twelve (12) requests were carried over from the previous fiscal year, for a total of ninety seven (97) requests. During the reporting period, eighty two (82) requests were completed and fifteen (15) still active files were carried over to the next reporting period.

Disposition of Completed Requests

The distribution of completed requests is as follows:

Table 1: Disposition of Completed Requests
RequestsNumber of Requests
All Disclosed8
Disclosed in Part37
Nothing Disclosed (Excluded)0
Nothing Disclosed (Exempt)1
Unable to Process18
Abandoned by applicant18
Transferred0
Total82

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 thirty six (36) requests. The Department applied exclusions under sub-section 70(1) [confidences of cabinet] one (1) time during this reporting period.

Extensions

During the reporting period, the Department claimed extensions pursuant to paragraphs 15(a)(i) and 15(a)(ii): 15 and 10 times, respectively

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, 2012 and March 31, 2013, the Department received twenty nine (29) consultations under the Privacy Act from other federal government institutions.

During the reporting period, forty (40) consultations were completed under the Privacy Act representing one thousand, six hundred and twenty six (1,626) pages.

Internal operations

Training and development

During 2012-2013, the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office continued to provide analysts with the necessary training and tools to perform their jobs effectively via training sessions developed to meet the ATIP Office’s training needs provided by a dedicated trainer. Furthermore, in conjunction with CFSS, Learning Roadmaps are being developed in order to effectively identify and formalize the training requirements for employees in the ATIP Division.

The ATIP Office also continued to benefit from its ATIP Professional Development Program, with 8 employees, which allows DFAIT to “grow its own” ATIP Analysts in response to the lack of experienced ATIP Analysts within the federal ATIP Community. This program has been very successful in addressing recruitment, retention and succession planning issues.

The Policy & Governance Team addresses the training needs of the ATIP office, the Department and other government departments. The Policy and Governance Team also ensures the Department complies with all other aspects and regulations of the Access to Information Act, Privacy Act and TBS requirements.

The department’s Intranet ATIP website is accessible to all DFAIT employees as is a newly designed Wiki page. In addition, an ATIP Group has been created in AGORA, a new collaboration tool whose role is to quickly share information, best practices and facilitate collaboration across the department.

The ATIP Office maintains a structured and department-wide ATIP awareness program to ensure that officials across the Department understand their roles and responsibilities. DFAIT has also expanded the forums within which ATIP training is delivered to include; staff meetings, “DFAIT 101” courses which are designed for new employees, and pre-posting training sessions in order to better prepare employees for their work at mission.

The ATIP office also holds sessions with subject matter experts, during which records are reviewed in order to educate employees on the exercise of discretion when making recommendations for severance, obstruction and injury.

To ensure that employees at mission also received the necessary training, sessions have been delivered using videoconferencing or Webinar technology. During this reporting period 11 missions received training via videoconference. In addition, an online interactive ATIP tutorial developed in collaboration with the Canadian Foreign Service Institute is now available. DFAIT also shares this tool with other Departments to assist the federal ATIP community.As previously reported in the 2011-2012 Annual Report to Parliament, a new training program on section 21 of the Act (injury to international affairs) was delivered to the federal ATIP community during the reporting period. This presentation provides information on the responsibilities of DFAIT vis-à-vis both the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act as it pertains to records that have international implications, and provides other federal institutions with clear direction as to when DFAIT should be consulted in accordance with the New Directive on the Access to Information Act. As expected, this training was beneficial to other federal departments in identifying what information and/or records should be sent to DFAIT for consultation.

In collaboration with the Consular Operations Bureau, a specific training program was delivered for Consular Officers to assist in understanding their roles and responsibilities vis-a-vis the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act in the context of providing consular services offered to Canadians. Scenario- based practical exercises were developed to better prepare employees for situations they may encounter in the course of their duties. During the reporting period eight training sessions were held with 99 participants.

The ATIP Office also redesigned and refined both the training program for ATIP Liaison Officers and subject-matter experts within Offices of Primary Interest across the Department. Employees can register for these courses via an automated online service, which has improved the ATIP Office’s ability to deliver training.

In all, fifty-one separate ATIP training sessions were delivered during the reporting period, comprising of approximately five hundred and seventy employees, including:

  • new ATIP Liaison Officers and their back-ups;
  • subject matter experts within Offices of Primary Interest ;
  • consular program officials and those preparing to work at missions abroad such as Mission Consular Officers, Foreign Service Officers and Honorary Consuls, Heads of Mission ; and
  • various departmental program officials.

DFAIT’s ATIP Office continuously strives to develop and refine training tools through comments from employees participating in the various training session delivered.

New or revised policies, Guidelines and Procedures

During the reporting period, the Policy & Governance Team continued to revise its existing privacy-related policy instruments and initiated the drafting of new instruments which are better aligned with new and/or revised TBS ATIP-related policies.

The Consular Manual was revised to reflect the new Consular Policy on the Use and Disclosure of Personal Information. Revisions to the Privacy Impact Assessment to make the questionnaire more user-friendly were completed and is in use by the Department.

Complaints and Investigations

No complaints have been received and no verification or investigation did not end during the period covered by the report.

Administration of personal information

Privacy impact assessment (PIA)

Trade Agreements and NAFTA Secretariat The Trade Agreements and NAFTA Secretariat administer the dispute settlement provisions of Canada’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), including the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as potential future agreements. The Secretariat also provides general administrative support for the implementation and functioning of those agreements, and for the management of their governance committees which includes the administrative organization of Ministerial, Deputy Ministerial and senior official meetings and the coordination of Branch processes for the preparation of briefing materials. In addition, the Secretariat has the responsibility for the coordination of environmental assessments of trade agreements and general research related to negotiation and implementation of FTAs.

The Trade Agreements and NAFTA Secretariat required the undertaking of a Privacy Impact Assessment for the operation of the Secretariat. The assessment includes the Secretariat’s business practices as well as personal information holdings. The Scope of this Privacy Impact Assessment is the personal information collected, managed, disclosed, and retained by the Trade Agreement and NAFTA Secretariat only and does not extend to operations of the Privy Council Office, the Department’s Legal Bureau or the office of the Minister.

The initiation of this PIA was reflected in the 2011-2012 Annual Report to Parliament. The PIA was completed in 2013 with a copy submitted to the OPC during the reporting period. The ATIP Office has since posted the Executive Summary of the PIA on DFATD’s Internet Website

Disclosure of personal information

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) (m)

Personal information may be disclosed “for any purpose where, in the opinion of the head of the institution

  1. the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or
  2. disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates.”

There were 3 disclosures pursuant to 8(2) (m) of the Privacy Act, as follows:

1. Disclosure of personal information to transfer a Canadian from a psychiatric facility abroad to a Canadian psychiatric facility. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was advised prior to transfer of the Canadian.

2. Disclosure of personal information to facilitate the repatriation of a Canadian with psychiatric issues from Jerusalem to Canada. A letter of notification was sent to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner prior to disclosure.

3. Disclosure of personal information on humanitarian grounds. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was notified following the 8(2) (m) disclosure.

Annex A: Designation order

Privacy Act Designation Order

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to section 73 of the Privacy Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, or the persons acting in those positions, to exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs as the head of a Government institution under the Act. This designation replaces the designation dated March 11, 1998.

Schedule

Table 2: Schedule
PositionSections of Privacy Act
1. Deputy Minister of Foreign AffairsAll sections
2. Deputy Minister for International TradeAll sections
3. Director General Corperate SecretariatAll sections
4. Director, Access to Information and Privacy Protection DivisionAll sections
5. Deputy Director, Access to Information and Privacy Protection DivisionAll sections
6. Heads of diplomatic/consular missionsParagraph 8(2)(m)

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, P.C., M.P.

Ottawa, October 2nd, 2009

Annex B: 2012-13 Statistical report

Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of Institution: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Reporting Period: 2012-04-01 to 2013-03-31

Part 1 - Requests under the Privacy Act

Table 3: Requests under the Privacy Act
Type of requestNumber of requests
Received during reporting period85
Outstanding from previous reporting period12
Total97
Closed during reporting period82
Carried over to next reporting period15

Part 2 - Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time

Table 4: Disposition and completion time
Disposition of requestsCompletion Time
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
All disclosed25100008
Disclosed in part11014615037
All exempted10000001
All excluded00000000
No records exist1170000018
Request abandoned1602000018
Total312217615082

2.2 Exemptions

Table 5: Exemptions
SectionNumber of requests
18(2)0
19(1)(a)4
19(1)(b)1
19(1)(c)0
19(1)(d)0
19(1)(e)0
19(1)(f)0
200
218
22(1)(a)(i)0
22(1)(a)(ii)0
22(1)(a)(iii)0
22(1)(b)0
22(1)(c)0
22(2)0
22.10
22.20
22.30
23(a)0
23(b)0
24(a)0
24(b)0
250
2636
2710
280

2.3 Exclusions

Table 6: Exclusions
SectionNumber of requests
69(1)(a)0
69(1)(b)0
69.10
70(1)(a0
70(1)(b)0
70(1)(c)0
70(1)(d)0
70(1)(e)1
70(1)(f)0
70.10

2.4 Format of information released

Table 7: Format of information released
DispositionPaperElectronicOther formats
All disclosed620
Disclosed in part21160
Total27180

2.5 Complexity

2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Table 8: Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requestsNumber of pages processedNumber of pages disclosedNumber of requests
All disclosed1761738
Disclosed in part125921052737
All exempted001
All excluded000
Request abandoned0018
2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Table 9: Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
DispositionLess than 100 pages processed101-500 pages processed501-1000 pages processed1001-5000 pages processedMore than 5000pages processed
Number of RequestPages disclosedNumber of RequestsPages disclosedNumber of RequestsPages disclosedNumber of RequestsPages disclosedNumber of RequestsPages disclosed
All disclosed817300000000
Disclosed in part187361439103223523646000
All exempted1000000000
All excluded0000000000
Abandoned18000000000
Total45909143910322352364600
2.5.3 Other complexities
Table 10: Other complexities
DispositionConsultation requiredLegal Advice SoughtInterwoven InformationOtherTotal
All disclosed00055
Disclosed in part301361077
All exempted00011
All excluded00000
Abandoned00000
Total301361683

2.6 Deemed refusals

2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Table 11: Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Number of requests closed past the statutory deadlinePrincipal Reason
WorkloadExternal consultationInternal consultationOther
137321
2.6.2  Number of days past deadline
Table 12: Number of days past deadline
Number of days past deadlineNumber of requests past deadline where no extension was takenNumber of requests past deadline where an extension was takenTotal
1 to 15 days224
16 to 30 days011
31 to 60 days022
61 to 120 days011
121 to 180 days000
181 to 365 days055
Total21113

2.7 Requests for translation

Table 13: Requests for translation
Translation RequestsAcceptedRefusedTotal
English to French000
French to English000
Total000

Part 3 - Disclosures under subsection 8(2)

Table 14: Disclosures under subsection 8(2)
Paragraph 8(2)(e)Paragraph 8(2)(m)Total
11112

Part 4 - Requests for correction of personal information and notations

Table 15: Requests for correction of personal information and notations
SourceNumber
Requests for correction received0
Requests for correction accepted0
Requests for correction refused0
Notations attached0

Part 5 - Extensions

5.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests

Table 16: Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken15(a)(i) Interference with operations15(a)(ii) Consultation15(b) Translation or conversion
Section 70Other
All disclosed1000
Disclosed in part114190
All exempted0000
All excluded0000
No records exist0000
Request abandoned0000
Total15190

5.2 Length of extensions

Table 17: Length of extensions
Length of extensions15(a)(i) Interference with operations15(a)(ii) Consultation15(b) Translation purposes
Section 70Other
1 to 15 days1000
16 to 30 days14190
Total15190

Part 6 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

6.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations

Table 18: Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
ConsultationsOther government institutionsNumber of pages to reviewOther organizationsNumber of pages to review
Received during the reporting period29164300
Outstanding from the previous reporting period12300
Total41164600
Closed during the reporting period40162600
Pending at the end of the reporting period12000

6.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions

Table 19: Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
RecommendationNumber of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
Disclose entirely33100007
Disclose in part321222012
Exempt entirely00000000
Exclude entirely00000000
Consult other institution1063110021
Other00000000
Total16115332040

6.3 ;Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations

Table 20: Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
RecommendationNumber of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days16 to 30 days31 to 60 days61 to 120 days121 to 180 days181 to 365 daysMore than 365 daysTotal
Disclose entirely00000000
Disclose in part00000000
Exempt entirely00000000
Exclude entirely00000000
Consult other institution00000000
Other00000000
Total00000000

Part 7 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

Table 21: Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences
Number of daysNumber of responses receivedNumber of responses received past deadline
1 to 1500
16 to 3000
31 to 6000
61 to 12000
121 to 18000
181 to 36500
More than 36500
Total00

Part 8 - Resources related to the Privacy Act

8.1 Costs

Table 22: Costs
ExpendituresAmount
Salaries$193,797
Overtime$1,396
Goods and Services$102,883
Contracts for privacy impact assessments$0 
professional services contracts$99,056 
Other$3,827 
Total$298,076

8.2 Human Resources

Table 23: Human Resources
ResourcesDedicated full-timeDedicated part-timeTotal
Full-time employees2.870.002.87
Part-time and casual employees0.000.000.00
Regional staff0.000.000.00
Consultants and agency personnel1.820.001.82
Students0.000.000.00
Total4.690.004.69