Report on the administration of the Privacy Act 2012-2013

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About this publication

Publication author : Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Publish date : September 25, 2013

Summary :

This report deals with the activities of the Agency in implementing the Privacy Act for the fiscal year 2012-2013.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Mandate of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
  3. Access to Information and Privacy Office
  4. Delegation of Authority
  5. Interpretation of the Statistical Report on Access to Personal Information Requests
  6. Training
  7. Administrative Policies and Practices
  8. Complaints and Investigations
  9. Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)
  10. Disclosure of Personal Information
  11. Actions Planned for 2013-2014
  12. Appendix A - Statistical Report on the Privacy Act
  13. Appendix B - Additional reporting requirements
  14. Appendix C - Delegation Chart

Introduction

The Privacy Act (the Act), promulgated on July 1, 1983, aims to extend the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a government institution.

The purpose of the Act is to protect personal information by allowing individuals to consult information about themselves. It also imposes strict controls on how such information is gathered, used and shared.

Under section 72 of the Act, the head of every government institution shall prepare an annual report for submission to Parliament. This document therefore reports on the activities carried out by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec (the Agency) in 2012-2013, with respect to the application of the Act.

The Privacy Act gives individuals general access to personal information about themselves held by federal institutions, subject to certain specific and limited exceptions.

Mandate of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mission: Under its incorporating act, which came into effect on October 5, 2005, the mission of the Agency is to promote the long-term economic development of the regions of Quebec, giving special attention to those where slow economic growth is prevalent or opportunities for productive employment are inadequate. As part of its mission, the Agency is committed to promoting cooperation and a complementary relationship with Quebec and its communities.

Vision: Quebec communities and SMEs participate to their full potential in the economy of tomorrow, building on their own assets.

By virtue of its mandate, the Agency is at the heart of the government's central economic and job-creation priorities. It is present in all regions of Quebec and works closely with local organizations. It supports communities and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to enable them to join the economy of tomorrow and reach their full potential, building on their own assets. It supports SMEs in improving their capacity for performance, productivity and innovation. The Agency also offers temporary support to regions facing economic shocks, natural disasters or situations that may have unwanted effects on their development by helping them to diversify their economic base in the interests of long-term growth.

Delivery of these services, grounded in quality standards, is overseen by advisors in 12 business offices. To learn more about the Agency's mandate, programming and operations, consult its Web site: www.dec-ced.gc.ca.

Access to Information and Privacy Office

The Access to Information and Privacy Office (AIPO) is a division of the Agency's Corporate Secretariat, reporting directly to the Deputy Minister's Chief of Staff.

AIPO has a manager from the Corporate Secretariat, an access to information and privacy coordinator and a part-time access to information officer. The coordinator oversees compliance with legislation, regulations, procedures and broad government trends. Half of the officer's workload is devoted to processing requests for access to information.

Through its delegated authority, AIPO represents the Agency on matters relating to the Act in dealings with the public, Treasury Board Secretariat, the Information and Privacy Commissioners and other federal departments and institutions.

AIPO's chief duties are:

Delegation of Authority

The Agency's enabling legislation identifies its head as being the Deputy Minister. In addition to managing the institution and overseeing management of Agency personnel, the Deputy Minister is responsible for application of the Privacy Act.

During the current fiscal year, a new Deputy Minister was appointed. All delegated authorities were upheld when the new Deputy Minister signed the delegation schedule on December 6, 2012. A copy is appended.

Authority for applying the Act was delegated to the manager position in the Corporate Secretariat, while most administrative authority was delegated to the position of access to information and privacy coordinator.

This delegation emerged from the 2011-2012 comprehensive access plan. This plan continues to reflect government trends and adheres to the overall principles of access to information. The section on "Administrative Policies and Practices" in this report provides more details to this effect.

Interpretation of the Statistical Report on Access to Personal Information Requests

Requests received and processed

In 2012-2013, a total of two requests for access to personal information were received and processed.

Because of its economic development activities, the Agency holds many documents containing information on third parties, but very little personal information. As such, the vast majority of personal information is generally related to employees. Thus few requests for access to personal information are recorded.

The following graph shows the number of requests for access to personal information received over the past four years.

Requests for access to personal information received

Requests for access to personal information received
2009-2010 2 requests were received
2010-2011 3 requests were received
2011-2012 no request was received
2012-2013 2 requests were received

Deadlines, disposition and exceptions invoked

In the case of one of the two requests received in 2012-2013, partial information was released in 29 days. Only section 26 was invoked, in connection with information about other individuals.

In the case of the second request, partial information was released in 58 days. An extension was granted for this request under section 15(a)(ii) to allow AIPO to conduct consultations to determine whether section 25 should be invoked to protect the safety of individuals. The outcome of these consultations made the processing of the request more complex: many parties had to be consulted before AIPO could draw clear and precise conclusions on ensuring the safety of the individuals concerned. When the applicant was given the information, sections 25 [safety of individuals] and 26 [information about other individuals] were invoked.

Pages processed and released

These two requests entailed the processing of 489 pages and the release of 242. In the first case, the applicant revised the wording of the request as it was being processed, thereby reducing the number of relevant pages. In the second case, the information collated from the various offices of primary interest was often duplicated.

Consultation method

All applicants were given paper copies of the original documents. Therefore, no originals were consulted in the Agency's reading room.

Costs

The outlays incurred in administering the Act amounted to $7,656 in 2012-2013. This amount includes $7,052 in pay for the equivalent of 0.05 full-time employee. An amount of $604 was spent on travel, software rentals, supplies and translation.

Training

In fiscal year 2011-2012, a series of mandatory training sessions entitled Access to Information and Protection of Personal Information was developed and delivered. This wide-ranging exercise was led by the AIPO team and instructed 316 Agency employees on compliance with access to information and privacy legislation and regulations.

There had been plans for AIPO to continue with these training sessions in 2012-2013 on an as-needed basis for the benefit of new employees or those who had not yet attended a session. However, this training exercise had to be put on hold because of operational requirements in connection with the processing of access requests filed under the Access to Information Act.

Administrative Policies and Practices

Procedure

For the past three years, AIPO has had an Access to Information and Personal Information Procedure, submitted to and approved by the Agency's top management. Purely administrative amendments were made in 2012-2013 following appointment of a new Deputy Minister.

The procedure meets the demands of the Directive on the Administration of the Privacy Act, which came into effect on April 1, 2010. The purpose of this directive is to facilitate compliance with legislative and regulatory strictures, spell out the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in processing access requests and provide an efficient model of practices and processes for handling access requests.

In addition to presenting the roles and responsibilities of the various individuals involved, this procedure presents the process for handling requests, intended to illustrate the various processing and approval stages in effect at the Agency, based on the steps indicated in the following diagram.

Processing Flow

Receipt

Processing

Communication

 

As part of a well defined process, AIPO is responsible for receiving and processing requests submitted under the Act and provides leadership in this regard. AIPO then forwards the requests to the office of primary interest, which is then responsible for forwarding the requested documents and providing AIPO with expert advice.

Once the document extraction process has been completed, AIPO analyses the documents on the basis of the Act, consults the office of primary interest, the departments concerned and third parties, if necessary. It then informs the branches and sectors concerned of the recommended dispositions, which are then submitted to the Manager, Corporate Secretariat, for approval.

A 48-hour notice included in AIPO's decision is sent simultaneously to the managers involved. The documents are then prepared for release and sent to the applicants.

Information Available on the Agency's Web Site

One section of the Agency's site has information about its role in applying the Act. There, one can find practical supplementary information to help citizens who want to file an access request. This section is intended as a gateway to AIPO's services and undertaking.

Complaints and Investigations

The Agency received no complaints relating to requests for access to personal information during 2012-2013.

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)

In 2012-2013, the Agency renewed its regular program and now has a single contribution program, the Quebec Economic Development Program, and the Agency intends to take the necessary steps to assess privacy-related issues for this program in 2013-2014.

Disclosure of Personal Information

During 2012-2013, there was no release of personal information under paragraph 8(2)(m), which allows disclosure of personal information in the public interest or in the interest of the individual.

Actions Planned for 2013-2014

AIPO will work towards responding to requests for access to personal information in accordance with both the spirit and the letter of the Act.

In addition, it will endeavour to consolidate personnel so as to continue improving its business practices and adhere to directives, regulations and broad trends in access to personal information.

In 2013-2014, business practices will be improved largely through:

Appendix A - Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Part 1 – Requests under the Privacy Act

  Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 2
Outstanding from previous reporting period 0
Total 2
Closed during reporting period 2
Carried over to next reporting period 0

Part 2 – Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time
Disposition of requests Completion Time
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 days Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of requests
18(2) 0
19(1) (a) 0
19(1) (b) 0
19(1) (c) 0
19(1) (d) 0
19(1) (e) 0
19(1) (f) 0
20 0
21 0
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
22.1 0
22.2 0
22.3 0
23(a) 0
23(b) 0
24(a) 0
24(b) 0
25 1
26 2
27 0
28 0
2.3 Exclusions
Section Number of requests
69(1) (a) 0
69(1) (b) 0
69.1 0
70(1) (a) 0
70(1) (b) 0
70(1) (c) 0
70(1) (d) 0
70(1) (e) 0
70(1) (f) 0
70.1 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 2 0 0
Total 2 0 0
2.5 Complexity2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requests
All disclosed 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 489 242 2
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0
2.5 Complexity2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Disposition Less than 100 pages processed 101-500 pages processed 501-1000 pages processed
Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 2 242 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 2 242 0 0
2.5 Complexity 2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests (continued)
Disposition 1001-5000 pages processed More than 5000 pages processed
Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed
All disclosed 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0
2.5 Complexity 2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Legal Advice Sought Interwoven Information Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 0 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 1 2 0 4
2.6 Deemed refusals 2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Number of requests closed past the statutory deadline Principal Reason
Workload External consultation Internal consultation Other
0 0 0 0 0
2.6 Deemed refusals 2.6.2 Number of days past deadline
Number of days past deadline Number of requests past deadline where no extension was taken Number of requests past deadline where an extension was taken Total
1 to 15 days 0 0 0
16 to 30 days 0 0 0
31 to 60 days 0 0 0
61 to 120 days 0 0 0
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0
2.7 Requests for translation
Translation Requests Accepted Refused Total
English to French 0 0 0
French to English 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0

Part 3 - Disclosures under subsection 8(2)

Paragraph 8(2)(e) Paragraph 8(2)(m) Total
0 0 0

Part 4 - Requests for correction of personal information and notations

  Number
Requests for correction received 0
Requests for correction accepted 0
Requests for correction refused 0
Notations attached 0

Part 5 - Extensions

5.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 15(a)(i)
Interference with operations
15(a)(ii)
Consultation
15(b)
Translation or conversion
Section 70 Other
All disclosed 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 1 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 1 0
5.2 Length of extensions
Length of extensions 15(a)(i)
Interference with operations
15(a)(ii)
Consultation
15(b)
Translation purposes
Section 70 Other
1 to 15 days 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 days 0 0 1 0
Total 0 0 1 0

Part 6 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

6.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
Consultations Other
government institutions
Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during the reporting period 0 0 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 0 0 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 0 0 0 0
6.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Part 7 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

Number of days Number of responses received Number of responses received past deadline
1 to 15 0 0
16 to 30 0 0
31 to 60 0 0
61 to 120 0 0
121 to 180 0 0
181 to 365 0 0
More than 365 0 0
Total 0 0

Part 8 - Resources related to the Privacy Act

8.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $7,052
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $604
Contracts for privacy impact assessments $0  
Professional services contracts $0
Other $604
Total $7,656
8.2 Human Resources
Resources Dedicated full-time Dedicated part-time Total
Full-time employees 0,00 0,05 0,05
Part-time and casual employees 0,00 0,00 0,00
Regional staff 0,00 0,00 0,00
Consultants and agency personnel 0,00 0,00 0,00
Students 0,00 0,00 0,00
Total 0,00 0,05 0,05

Appendix B - Additional reporting requirements

Completed Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAS)
Institution Number of completed PIAS
Canada Economic Development Nil

Appendix C - Delegation Chart

Delegation Schedule Privacy Act
Article Description Proposed delegation
Manager, General Secretariat Co-ordinator
8(2)(j) Disclose personal information for research purposes  
8(2)(m) Disclose personal information in the public interest or in the interest or the individual  
8(4) Retain copy of 8(2)(e) requests and disclosed records
8(5) Notify Privacy Commissioner of 8(2)(m) disclosures
9(1) Retain record of use
9(4) Consistent use
10 Include personal information in personal information banks
14 Notice where access requested
15 Extension of time limits
17(2)(b) Language of access
17(3)(b) Access to personal information in alternate format
18(2) Exemption (exempt bank) Disclosure may be refused  
19(1) Exemption - Personal information obtained in confidence  
19(2) Exemption - Where authorized to disclose  
20 Exemption - Federal-provincial affairs  
21 Exemption - International affairs and defence  
22 Exemption - Law enforcement and investigation  
22.3 Exemption - Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act  
23 Exemption - Security clearances  
24 Exemption - Individuals sentenced for an offence  
25 Exemption - Safety of individuals  
26 Exemption - Information about another individual  
27 Exemption - Solicitor-client privilege  
28 Exemption - Medical record  
31 Exemption - Notice of intention to investigate
33(2) Exemption - Right to make representation
35(1) Exemption - Findings and recommendations of Privacy Commissioner (complaints)
35(4) Exemption - Access to be given
36(3) Exemption - Report of findings and recommendations (exempt banks)
37(3) Exemption - Report of findings and recommendations (compliance review)
51(2),(3) Exemption - Special rules for hearings  
72(1) Exemption - Report to Parliament

I approve the delegation schedule.
[original signed]
Guy Mc Kenzie, Deputy Minister/President
Date: December 6, 2012

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