Annual Report to Parliament 2012-2013 - Access to Information Act

Annual Report to Parliament 2012-2013 (PDF, 1,111 KB)

I. Introduction

The purpose of the Access to Information Act is to provide a right of access to information contained in records under the control of government institutions. The information is subject to certain limited and specific exemptions. The Act is intended to complement and not replace existing procedures for access to government information.

In accordance with Section 72 of the Access to Information Act, this twenty-ninth Annual Report on the administration of the Access to Information Act at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) describes how NRC discharged its responsibilities in relation to the Act in the fiscal year 2012-2013. The Annual Report is to be tabled in Parliament in accordance with section 72 of the Access to Information Act.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is an agency of the Government of Canada established in 1916. As stated in the NRCAct, the agency is responsible for: undertaking, assisting or promoting scientific and industrial research in different fields of importance to Canada; establishing, operating and maintaining a national science library; publishing and selling or otherwise distributing such scientific and technical information as the Council deems necessary; investigating standards and methods of measurement; working on the standardization and certification of scientific and technical apparatus and instruments and materials used or usable by Canadian industry; operating and administering any astronomical observatories established or maintained by the Government of Canada; administering NRC's research and development activities, including contributions used to support a number of international activities; and providing vital scientific and technological services to the research and industrial communities.

II. Delegation of Authority

The NRC President has delegated the responsibilities associated with the administration of the Access to Information Act to the Executive Vice President and Secretary General and to the Director, Corporate Governance. Operational responsibility for the application of the Act has been delegated to the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator.

A detailed signed Delegation Order can be found at Annex A.

III. Organizational Structure

The Executive Vice President and Secretary General has overall responsibility for ensuring that NRC's policies, procedures and practices are in line with the application and administration of the Access to Information Act. As shown in the Delegation Order, the Executive Vice President and Secretary General has delegated some of this authority to the Director, Corporate Governance and to the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinator. The NRC Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) office is part of the NRC Secretary General's Office (SGO).

The NRC ATIP office is comprised of one part-time Coordinator and two Officers. The NRC ATIP office works closely with the Records Services, NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program ATIP liaison officer, NRC Human Resources ATIP liaison officer, the NRC Communications Branch and senior management across the organization. Procedures are in place to process all formal access to information requests. These requests are processed by the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator who has the authority to access all records held by NRC.

The ATIP office is responsible for the coordination and implementation of policies, guidelines and procedures to ensure the organization's compliance with the Access to Information Act. To that end, the office provides the following services to the organization:

  • Promotes awareness of the Access to Information Act within the organization
  • Processes and manages access to information requests and complaints
  • Manages the relevant electronic management system
  • Responds to access-related matters in the Management Accountability Framework
  • Processes consultations received from other institutions
  • Provides advice and guidance to employees and senior officials on access related matters
  • Prepares an Annual Report to Parliament
  • Coordinates updates to the Info Source publications
  • Reviews departmental documents, such as audit and evaluation reports, prior to their proactive disclosure on the organization's website, Parliamentary Questions and Harassment Reports
  • Develops internal procedures
  • Participates in forums for the ATIP community, such as the Treasury Board Secretariat ATIP Community meetings and working groups.

In accordance with Section 71 of the Access to Information Act, the NRC has various Information Centres that are the designated locations where the public may inspect manuals used by employees to administer or carry out programs or activities that affect the public. The main NRC library is located in Building M-55, NRC Montreal Road Campus, Ottawa, Ontario.

IV. Interpretation of Statistical Report

Annex B provides a summarized statistical report on the access requests received and processed by the National Research Council of Canada from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. This section provides an interpretation of the statistical report.

During the fiscal year, NRC received sixty-six (66) new access to information (ATI) requests. The breakdown of the source of requestors received during the fiscal period is as follows: nine (9) from the media, thirteen (13) from business, one (1) from organizations and forty-three (43) from the public. Seven requests (7) were outstanding from the previous fiscal year, for a total of seventy-three (73) requests to process in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

NRC completed sixty-eight (68) access to information requests during this reporting period. Five requests (5) were carried over into the next fiscal year. The subject of the requests related to varied sectors across the organization as follows:

  • Human Resources - 7
  • Grants and Contributions including the NRC-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) - 10
  • Contracting including call-ups and purchase orders - 30
  • Patent Information - 2
  • Program Research - 7
  • Miscellaneous - 9
  • Organizational and Financial Management - 3

Section 9 of the Act provides for the extension of the statutory time limits if consultations are necessary or if the request is for a large volume of records and processing the request within the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the organization. In addition, extensions are invoked when consultations are necessary to comply with the request or section 27(1) of the Act. NRC invoked an extension in the case of fifteen (15) requests. The extensions mainly involved records that contained confidential business information that required third party consultations.

In summary, out of sixty-eight (68) completed requests, forty-eight (48) were completed in 30 days or less, thirteen (13) were completed within 31 to 60 days, seven (7) were completed between 61 and 120 days. All levels of NRC worked diligently to ensure a high performance in meeting statutory deadlines.

NRC is asked by other government organizations for its views on disclosure of information that had originated within the National Research Council Canada. This reporting year, thirty-three (33) consultation requests were received from other government departments. One (1) Consultation request was outstanding from the previous year. The ATIP office works closely with the office of primary interest at NRC to respond effectively to these requests.

The exemptions section of the Statistical Report is intended to identify the number of requests in cases where specific types of exemptions were invoked. NRC invoked exemptions pursuant to sections 16(2)(c),16.5,18(a)(b)(d), 19(1), 20(1) (a)(b)(c)(d), and 21(1)(a)(b)(c)(d) of the Act.

Section 16(2)(c) (Law enforcement and investigations) was invoked in one (1) case, Section 16.5 (Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act) was invoked in one (1), Section 18(a)(b)(d) (Economic Interests of Canada) was invoked in nine (9) cases where the information would have prejudiced NRC's competitive position. Section 19 (Personal Information) was invoked in nineteen (19) cases and was applied to the information that is considered personal and where individual consent was not obtained. Section 20(a)(b)(c)(d) (Third Party Information) was invoked in nineteen (19) cases. The exemptions applied pursuant to Section 20 involve confidential business information belonging to a third party. The third parties in question were consulted pursuant to section 27 of the Act and provided substantial rationales in support of the protection of their information. Section 21(1)(a)(b)(c)(d) was invoked in nineteen (19) cases.

In the past year, Section 21 (Advice, etc.) was invoked in (19) cases. The information severed under this section is considered part of NRC's business operations which include internal advice, recommendations and deliberations between Senior NRC Officials and positions of plans developed for the purpose of negotiations and as well as plans relating to management of personnel that have not yet been put into operation. The release of this information would have compromised the integrity of NRC's decision-making process and the candidness of discussions.

The figures, as reflected in the chart below, indicate the number of requests received and processed over the past three years. The figures do not reflect requests processed informally or other queries that have been received and processed in the ATIP office.

The significant trends indicate in an increase in access to information requests, more specifically from media and the public. There is a decrease in exemptions invoked from the previous year which may be due to the increase in straight-forward requests for information on contracting activities. The statistics show an increase in completion time. Many of the requests for information coming from the media, which increased in number this past year, related to recent organizational changes at NRC.

Number of access to information requests received and processed over the past three years.

The annual statistical report for the fiscal year 2012-2013 is included at the end of this chapter, as Annex B.

V. Access to Information-Related Training and Education

The ATIP office is committed to providing ongoing development and training to NRC's employees.

During the fiscal year, a formal ATIP and Managing NRC Information Course (3 hours) was offered on 21 March 2013 with 14 participants and three Training Sessions via teleconference were offered on 15, 16 and 17 May 2012 with 13-16 participants per session.

ATIP employees continually work to sensitize and guide employees, third parties and requesters regarding the requirements of the Access to Information Act by means of ongoing dialogue and bilateral discussions. During the reporting period, ATIP officers responded to inquiries from colleagues, where advice and guidance were provided on various subjects pertaining to Access to Information legislation.

Within the context of its overall roles and responsibilities, NRC's ATIP office reviewed a total of eighty-six (86) parliamentary questions received for the period of April 2012 to March 2013. In addition, two (2) harassment reports were reviewed from a privacy perspective.

All training sessions included information on the privacy legislation which has been accounted for in the Privacy Act annual report.

VI. New Procedures, Guidelines and Directives

NRC did not implement new and/or revised access to information policies, guidelines or procedures during the reporting period.

NRC is posting the summaries of Access to Information requests on its website in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat's revised Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act, which was issued in February 2012.

VII. Complaints

Two complaints were filed against NRC in 2012-2013. In file number A2012-0022, the requestor complained about the application of Section 19(1) and a complaint against NRC (and six other departments) alleging that government policies and policy instruments, including departmental policies, protocols, guidelines and directives, that are related to communications and media relations and that restrict or prohibit government scientists from speaking with or sharing research with the media and the Canadian public , are impeding the right of access to information under to Act. These two investigations are ongoing with the Office of the Information Commissioner.

The outstanding complaint from fiscal year 2010-2011 (A2010-0010) is now closed. The complaint was considered well-founded and resolved. Additional records were found through a supplementary search. The records were provided to the requestor in their entirety.

The outstanding complaint from fiscal year 2011-2012 (A2011-0047) is now closed. The requestor alleged that NRC failed to provide all records responsive to the request made under the ATI Act. After the investigation by the Office of the Information Commissioner, the findings revealed that the complaint was not well-founded.


ANNEX A: Delegation order

Access to Information and Privacy Acts Delegation Order

The President of the National Research Council of Canada, pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, or the person occupying on an acting basis the position, to exercise the powers and functions of the President as the head of a government institution, under the section of the Acts set out in the schedule opposite each position. This Designation Order supersedes all previous designation orders.

Schedule

Position Access to Information Act and Regulations Privacy Act and Regulations
Secretary General Full authority Full authority
Director, Governance General Full authority Full authority
Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator Sections 7(a), 8(1), 9, 11(2) to (6), 12(2)(3), 26, 27(1) and (4), 28(1), (2) and (4), 29(1), 33, 37(4), 43(1), 44(2) Sections 8(2)(j), 8(4), 8(5), 9(1), 9(4), 10, 14, 15, 17(2)(b), 18(2), 31, 35(1), 35(4), 36(3), 37(3), 51(2)(b)
John R. McDougall, ing.,
President of the National Research Council of Canada
Dated, at the City of Ottawa
this 18 day of Jan., 2012

ANNEX B: Statistical report

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution: National Research Council Canada

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

Part 1 - Request under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Requests
Requests under the Access to Information Act
Requests Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 66
Outstanding from previous reporting period 7
Total 73
Closed during reporting period 68
Carried over to next reporting period 5
1.2 Source of requests
Requests under the Access to Information Act
Source Number of Requests
Media 9
Academia 0
Business (Private sector) 13
Organization 1
Public 43
Total 66

Part 2 - Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time
Disposition of requests completed 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 23 13 1 0 0 0 0 37
Disclosed in part 1 7 10 7 0 0 0 25
All exempted 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
All Excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Request Transfered 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Request abandoned 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Treated informally 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Total 27 21 13 7 0 0 0 68
2.2 Exemptions
Exemptions
Section Number of request
13(1)(a) 0
13(1)(b) 0
13(1)(c) 0
13(1)(d) 0
13(1)(e) 0
14a 0
14b 0
15(1) International Affairs 0
15(1) Defence of Canada 0
15(1) Subversive Activities 0
16(1)(a)(i) 0
16(1)(a)(ii) 0
16(1)(a)(iii) 0
16(1)(b) 0
16(1)(c) 0
16(1)(d) 0
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 0
16(2)(c) 1
16(3) 0
16.1(1)(a) 0
16.1(1)(b) 0
16.1(1)(c) 0
16.1(1)(d) 0
16.2(1) 0
16.3 0
16.4(1)(a) 0
16.4(1)(b) 0
16.5 1
17 0
18(a) 2
18(b) 6
18(c) 0
18(d) 1
18.1(1)(a) 0
18.1(1)(b) 0
18.1(1)(c) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 19
20(1)(a) 1
20(1)(b) 9
20(1)(b.1) 0
20(1)(c) 5
20(1)(d) 4
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 8
21(1)(b) 5
21(1)(c) 2
21(1)(d) 4
22 0
22.1(1) 0
23 0
24(1) 0
26 0
2.3 Exclusions
Exclusions
Section Number of requests
68(a) 0
68(b) 0
68(c) 0
68.1 0
68.2(a) 0
68.2(b) 0
69(1)(a) 0
69(1)(b) 0
69(1)(c) 0
69(1)(d) 0
69(1)(e) 0
69(1)(f) 0
69(1)(g) re (a) 0
69(1)(g) re (b) 0
69(1)(g) re (c) 0
69(1)(g) re (d) 0
69(1)(g) re (e) 0
69(1)(g) re (f) 0
69.1(1) 0
2.4 Format of information released
Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 36 1 0
Disclosed in part 23 2 0
Total 59 3 0
2.5 Complexity
2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requests
All Disclosed 772 772 37
Disclosed in part 6423 6423 25
All expempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 1
2.5.2 Number of pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Number of pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Disposition Less than 100 pages processed 101-500 pages processed 501-1000 pages processed 1001-5000 pages processed More than 5000 pages processed
Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed Number of requests Pages disclosed
All disclosed 35 334 2 438 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 13 373 9 1531 1 562 2 3957 0 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 49 707 11 1969 1 562 2 3957 0 0
2.5.3 Other complexities
Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of fees Legal advice sought Other Total
All disclosed 1 0 1 0 2
Disclosed in part 9 0 1 1 11
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 0 0 0 0 0
Total 10 0 2 1 13
2.6 Deemed refusals
2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Number of requests closed past the statutory deadline Principle Reason
Workload External consultation Internal consultation Other
5 0 3 0 2
2.6.2 Delays in processing requests — number of days
Delays in processing requests — number of days
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 2 2 4
16 to 30 days 0 0 0
31 to 60 days 1 0 1
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 3 2 5
2.7 Request for translation
Request 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 - Extensions

3.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 9(1)(a) Interference with operations 9(1)(b) Consultation 9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69 Other
All disclosed 0 0 1 0
Disclosed in part 0 0 3 10
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 4 10
3.2 Length of extentions
Length of extentions
Length of extensions 9(1)(a) Interference with operations 9(1)(b) Consultation 9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69 Other
30 days or less 0 0 3 2
31 to 60 days 0 0 1 6
61 to 120 days 0 0 0 2
121 to 180 days 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 4 10

Part 4 - Fees

Fees
Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of requests Amount Number of requests Amount
Application 64 $320.00 0 $0.00
Search 0 $0.00 0 $0.00
Production 0 $0.00 0 $0.00
Programming 0 $0.00 0 $0.00
Preparation 0 $0.00 0 $0.00
Alternative format 0 $0.00 0 $0.00
Reproduction 0 $0.00 0 $0.00
Total 64 $320.00 0 $0.00

Part 5 - Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
Consultation Other government institutions Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period 33 943 1 2
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 1 40 0 0
Total 34 983 1 2
Completed during the reporting period 34 983 1 2
Pending at the end of the reporting period 0 0 0 0
5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
Recommended 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 More than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 23 4 0 0 0 0 0 27
Disclose in part 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
Exempt entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institutions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 28 6 0 0 0 0 0 34
5.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government organizations
Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government organizations
Recommended 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 More than 365 days Total
Disclose entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
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 institutions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

Part 6 - Completion of time consultations on Cabinet confidences

Completion of time consultations on Cabinet confidences
Number of days Number of responses received Number of responses received past deadline
1 to 5 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 7 - Resources related to the Access to Information Act

7.1 Costs
Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaried $89,075.00
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $20,413.00
Professional services contracts $0.00
Other $20,413.00
Total $109,488.00
7.2 Human Resources
Human Resources
Resources Dedicated full-time to ATI activities Dedicated part-time to ATI activities Total
Full-time employees 1.0 0.4 1.4
Part-time and casual employees 0 0 0
Regional staff 0 0 0
Consultants and agency personnel 0 0 0
Students 0 0 0
Total 1.0 0.4 1.4
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