Annual Report to Parliament 2015-2016 - Access to Information Act

NRC Annual Report to Parliament 2015‑2016 – Access to Information Act (PDF, 1,320 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 thirty-second 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 2015-2016. The Annual Report is to be tabled in Parliament in accordance with section 72 of the Access to Information Act.

Mandate of the National Research Council of Canada

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is an agency of the Government of Canada established in 1916. As stated in the NRC Act, 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;
  • Providing vital scientific and technological services to the research and industrial communities.

II. Organizational structure and delegation of authority

The President delegated full authority for the application and administration of the Access to Information Act to the Director General, Knowledge Management and to the Director, Information Management Services Directorate. Partial authority was delegated to the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinator.

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

During the period covered by this report, the NRC Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) office was part of NRC Knowledge Management Branch (NRC-KM).

In 2015-2016, the NRC ATIP office was comprised of one full-time Coordinator and one full-time ATIP officer.

The NRC ATIP office works closely with the NRC Records Management office, the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program ATIP liaison officer, Executive Advisors, NRC Communications Branch and senior management across the organization.

Procedures are in place to process all formal access to information requests in accordance with the Access to Information Act.

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 ATIP 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 public may inspect manuals used by employees to administer or carry out programs or activities that affect the public at Building M-55, NRC Montreal Road Campus, Ottawa, Ontario.

III. 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 2015 to 31 March 2016. This section provides an interpretation of the statistical report.

During the fiscal year, NRC received twenty-three (23) new access to information (ATI) requests. One (1) request was outstanding from the previous fiscal year, for a total of twenty-four (24) requests to processed in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. NRC completed twenty (20) access to information requests during this reporting period. Four (4) requests that were either not completed or had been received at the end of the fiscal year were carried over to the next reporting period.

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 (requests transferred from the NRC call centre, from other branches, from the Industrial Research Assistance Program, etc.) that were received and processed in the ATIP office.

Number of requests received and processed

Number of requests received and processed. Long description follows.
Long description for ATI number of requests received and processed
Received Completed Carried forward
2013‑2014 42 41 6
2014‑2015 36 41 1
2015‑2016 23 20 4

The trends indicate a slight decrease in the total number of access to information requests received. In addition the complexity of the requests has significantly increased mainly due to the following reasons:

  • The volume of pages that require review by the ATIP office has dramatically increased;
  • Many requests are now broader in scope, requiring the ATIP office to retrieve records from many levels of the organization including individual employees and operating units. In consequence, the analysts have to review large volumes of records which often contain duplicates and email chains. The ATIP office and the Information Management Team are developing additional training and guidance for employees on the effective management of email, to address this issue.

The breakdown of the source of requestors is as follows: seven (7) from the media, two (2) from academia, six (6) from business, two (2) from organization and six (6) from the public.

ATI Requests

Pages processed. Long description follows.
Long description for ATI Requests
ATI Requests
Media 7
Academia 2
Business 6
Organization 2
Public 6

The subject of the twenty-three (23) requests received related to varied sectors across the organization as follows:

Grants and Contributions including the NRC-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) 5
Contracting including call-ups and purchase orders 4
Program research 3
Organizational and financial management 1
Miscellaneous (correspondence from management or other portfolios/branches, etc.) 10

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 eight (8) requests. The extensions mainly involved records that contained confidential business information requiring third party consultations.

In summary, out of twenty (20) completed requests, eleven (11) were completed in 30 days or less, four (4) were completed within 31 to 60 days and five (5) 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 input on disclosure of information that had originated within the National Research Council Canada. This reporting year, sixty-three (63) consultation requests were received from other government departments and no (0) consultation request was received from other organizations, compared to fifty-four (54) from other government departments and two (2) from organizations in 2014-2015 and forty (40) from other government departments and zero (0) from organizations in 2013-2014. The numbers indicate a steady increase in the volume of consultation requests received, which relates to access to information workload in other government departments and NRC’s involvement in inter-departmental files.

Consultation requests

Parliamentary Questions. Long description follows.
Long description for Consultation requests
Consultation
from OGD
Consultation
from organizations
2015‑2016 63 0
2014‑2015 54 2
2013‑2014 40 0

The ATIP office works closely with the offices of primary interest at NRC to respond effectively to these requests.

Sections 2.2 and 2.3 of the Statistical Report are intended to identify the number of requests in cases where specific types of exemptions and exclusions were invoked. NRC invoked exemptions and exclusions pursuant to sections 15(1) - Def, 16(2)(c), 18(a)(b), 19(1), 20(1)(a)(b)(c)(d) and 21(1)(a)(b)(d) of the Act.

  • Section 15 (International affairs and Defence) was invoked in two (2) case.
  • Section 16 (Law enforcement and investigations) was invoked in two (2) cases.
  • Section 18 (Economic Interests of Canada) was invoked in four (4) cases.
  • Section 19 (Personal Information) was invoked in six (6) cases and was applied to the information that is considered personal and where individual consent was not obtained.
  • Section 20 (Third Party Information) was invoked in sixteen (16) 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 (Advice, etc.) was invoked in six (6) cases. The information severed under this section relates to NRC's business operations, and includes internal advice, recommendations and deliberations between senior NRC officials, and positions developed for the purpose of negotiations, and plans relating to management of personnel. The release of this information would have compromised the integrity of NRC's decision-making process.

As a result of web posting summaries of completed access to information requests, NRC received additional informal requests for previously released information. The ATIP Office processed fifteen (15) informal requests (not subject to the Access to information Act) in this reporting period, compared to eighteen (18) in 2014-2015, fourteen (14) in 2013-2014 and three (3) in 2012-2013.

Informal Access to Information Requests

Informal Access to Information Requests. The long description of this diagram follows.
Long description for Informal Access to Information Requests
Informal Access to
Information Requests
2015‑2016 15
2014‑2015 18
2013‑2014 14
2012‑2013 3

Within the context of its overall roles and responsibilities, NRC's ATIP office reviewed a total of one hundred (100) parliamentary questions received for the period of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016, compared to one hundred sixty-one (161) in 2014-2015 and seventy-six (76) in 2013-2014.

Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary Questions. The long description of this diagram follows.
Long description for Parliamentary Questions
Parliamentary Questions
2013‑2014 76
2014‑2015 161
2015‑2016 100

The annual statistical report for the fiscal year 2015-2016 is included at the end of this chapter, as Annex BFootnote 1.

IV. Access to Information-related Training and Education

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

ATIP tools and guidance are available on NRC external and internal websites.

ATIP employees continually work to sensitize and guide employees, third parties and requesters regarding the requirements of the Access to Information Act, through ongoing dialogue and bilateral discussions. During the reporting period, the ATIP Coordinator and officer responded to numerous inquiries from colleagues (Industrial Research Assistance Program, management, etc.), providing advice and guidance on various subjects pertaining to Access to Information legislation.

The ATIP office promoted the Right to Know Day of 28 September and the Data Privacy Day of 28 January within NRC with postings on the NRC internal website.

Throughout the fiscal year, the ATIP Coordinator and the officer attended ATIP community meetings and various training sessions offered by Treasury Board Secretariat.

V. Procedures, Guidelines and Directives

NRC ATIP office revised six (6) policies, guidelines and procedures during the reporting period:

  • ATIP effective practices;
  • Guidelines on privacy breaches;
  • Policy governing the management of personal information;
  • Privacy impact assessment handbook;
  • Privacy protocol for non-administrative purposes;
  • Procedures for suspected obstruction of the right of access to NRC records.

VI. Complaints, Investigations and Federal court cases

There were no complaints or court cases filed against NRC in 2015-2016.

VII. Monitoring of access to information requests

In keeping with TBS policies and directives, the ATIP office has established internal ATIP procedures and business practices to ensure the efficient and timely processing of access requests, while making every effort to assist applicants in the most expeditious manner without regard to their identity.

The ATIP office has a tracking system that keeps track of both the active and closed requests. This system is designed to follow the legislative deadlines.

The ATIP office holds weekly meetings to discuss request-related activities, determine timelines and for ensuring that team members are informed of the status of files. Weekly meetings also take place with the Director, Information Management Services Directorate.

A report of active ATIP files (while maintaining the privacy requestors' identity) is shared with the NRC Communications Branch on a weekly basis and a more detailed report is provided to delegated authorities.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

The accompanying Statistical Tables do not always present data reflecting the total number of requests as they often focus on specific subsets such as the cases that involve exclusions and exemptions; that report only on closed requests; that report only on requests involving consultations and extensions; or that list requests involving the disclosure of all documents or a partial disclosure. Other differences between totals are due to reports that exclude cases where no records exist or where a request is abandoned.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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
Director General, Knowledge Management Full authority Full authority
Director, Information Management Services Directorate 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), 29(1), 33, 37(4), 43(1), 44(2) Section 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)

Dated, at the City of Ottawa
20 August 2014

John R. McDougall, ing.,
President of the National Research Council of Canada

Annex B: Statistical Report

Name of institution: National Research Council Canada

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-03-31

Part 1 - Requests under the Privacy Act

1.1 Number of requests

Number
of Requests
Received during reporting period 23
Outstanding from previous reporting period 1
Total 24
Closed during reporting period 20
Carried over to next reporting period 4

1.2 Sources of requests

Source Number
of Requests
Media 7
Acamedia 2
Business (private sector) 6
Organization 2
Public 6
Decline to identify 0
Total 23

1.3 Informal 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
5 10 0 0 0 0 0 15

Part 2 – Requests Closed During the Reporting Period

2.1 Disposition and completion time

Completion Time
Disposition of 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
All disclosed 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 7
Disclosed in part 0 3 2 5 0 0 0 10
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
Request transfered 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 5 6 4 5 0 0 0 20

2.2 Exemptions

Section Number
of Requests
13(1)(a) 0
13(1)(b) 0
13(1)(c) 0
13(1)(d) 0
13(1)(e) 0
14 0
14(a) 0
14(b) 0
15(1) 0
15(1) - I.A.* 0
15(1) - Def.* 2
15(1) - S.A.* 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) 0
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 0
16(2)(c) 2
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 0
17 0
18(a) 2
18(b) 2
18(c) 0
18(d) 0
18.1(1)(a) 0
18.1(1)(b) 0
18.1(1)(c) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 6
20(1)(a) 1
20(1)(b) 6
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) 3
21(1)(b) 2
21(1)(c) 0
21(1)(d) 1
22 0
22.1(1) 0
23 0
24(1) 0
26 0

2.3 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) 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

Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 5 2 0
Disclosed in part 8 2 0
Total 13 4 0

2.5 Complexity

2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of Requests Number of
Pages Processed
Number of
Pages Disclosed
Number of
Requests
All disclosed 233 233 7
Disclosed in part 4972 4697 10
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 1
Neither confirmed or denied 0 0 0
Total 5205 4930 18
2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Disposition Less Than 100 Pages Processed 101‑500 Pages Processed 501‑1000 Pages Processed 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 6 121 1 112 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 4 138 5 1170 0 0 1 3389 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
Request abandoned 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed or denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 11 259 6 1282 0 0 1 3389 0 0
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation
Required
Assessment
of Fees
Legal Advice
Sought
Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 7 0 0 0 7
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed or denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 7 0 0 0 7

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
2.6.2 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 – Extensions

3.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests

Disposition of Requests Where
an Extension Was Taken
9(a)(i)
Interference With
Operations
9(1)(b) Consultation 9(1)(c)
Third-Party
Notice
Section 69 Other
All disclosed 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 2 0 1 5
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 2 0 1 5

3.2 Length of extensions

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 1 0 0 2
31 to 60 days 1 0 0 1
61 to 120 days 0 0 1 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 2 0 1 5

Part 4 – Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or
Refunded
Number of Requests AmountNumber of Requests Amount
Application 14 $70 2 $10
Search 0 0 0 0
Production 0 0 0 0
Programming 0 0 0 0
Preparation 0 0 0 0
Alternative format 0 0 0 0
Reproduction 0 0 0 0
Total 14 $70 2 $10

Part 5 - Consultations Received From Other Institutions and Organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other Government of Canada Institutions and organizations

Consultations Other Governement of
Canada Institutions
Number of Pages Review Other Organizations Number of Pages to Review
Received during reporting period 63 1127 0 0
Outstanding from the
previous reporting period
2 110 0 0
Total 65 1237 0 0
Closed during the
reporting period
62 883 0 0
Pending at the end of
the reporting period
3 354 0 0

5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other Government of Canada 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 More than 365 Days Total
Disclose entirely 50 4 0 0 0 0 0 54
Disclose in part 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 7
Exempt entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
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 54 7 1 0 0 0 0 62

5.3 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 More 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 6 – Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

6.1 Requests with Legal Services

Number of Days Fewer 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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

6.2 Requests with Privy Council Office

Number of Days Fewer 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
1 to 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Part 7 – Complaints and Investigations

Section 32 Section 35 Section 37 Total
0 0 0 0

Part 8 – Court Action

Section 41 Section 42 Section 44 Total
0 0 0 0

Part 9: Resources Related to the Access to Information Privacy Act

9.1 Costs

Expenditures Amount
Salaries $113,532
Overtime $0
Good and Services $35,433
Professional services contracts $0
Other $35,433
Total $148,965

9.2 Human Resources

Resources Person Years Dedicated
to Privacy Activities
Full-time employees 1.50
Part-time and casual employees 0.50
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 1.50
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