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

Interpretation of the Statistical Report

Environment Canada’s Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act is included in Appendix A.

Between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013, Environment Canada received 1827 requests under the Access to Information Act. There were 168 requests carried forward from the 2011–2012 reporting period, for a total of 1995 active requests in the 2012–2013 reporting period. In 2012–2013, a total of 1810 requests were completed, and 185 were carried forward to the next reporting period.

The following is a percentage breakdown of the sources of access to information requests received in 2011–2012:

SourceNumberPercentage
Academia60.33%
Business115663.27%
Media41522.72%
Organization1176.40%
Public1337.28%
Total1827100%

Sources of Access to Information Requests 2012-2013

Text Description

The pie chart provides a visual representation of the percentage breakdown of the sources of access to information requests received in 2012–2013. 63.27% of access requests came from businesses, 22.72% from the media, 6.4% from organizations, 7.28% from the public and 0.33% from academia.

During the 2012–2013 reporting period, 80 requests were abandoned by applicants for various reasons, including the requirement to pay additional fees. In addition to the abandoned requests, 7 requests were received by Environment Canada for records under the control of other departments, and they were transferred to the organizations concerned.

There were 1013 requests for information for which there was no record. Environment Canada receives a number of requests each year for documents pertaining to the environmental compliance of properties. Most of these no-record requests consisted of environmental compliance requests where no records were located concerning the properties in question.

In 2012–2013, there was a substantial increase in the number of access to information requests received by Environment Canada. The 1827 access to information requests received in the 2012–2013 reporting period represent a 22.2% increase over the previous reporting period. In addition, the number of access requests completed during the 2012–2013 fiscal year increased by 21.3% compared with the previous reporting period.

The following graph displays the number of access to information requests that were received by the ATIP Secretariat from 2007–2008 to 2012–2013.

Access Requests Received Access to Information Act 2007-2013

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The bar chart provides a visual representation of the number of access requests that were received by the ATIP Secretariat from the 2007-2008 fiscal year to the 2012-2013 fiscal year. During the 2007-2008 period, 659 requests were received; in 2008-2009, 892 requests were received; in 2009-2010, 890 requests were received; in 2010-2011, 1,128 requests were received; in 2011-2012, 1,421 requests were received; and in 2012-2013, 1,827 requests were received.

This next graph displays the number of access to information requests that were closed by the ATIP Secretariat from 2007–2008 to 2012–2013.

Access Requests Closed Access to Info Act - 2007-2013

Text Description

The bar chart provides a visual representation of the number of access requests that were closed by the ATIP Secretariat from the 2007-2008 fiscal year to the 2012-2013 fiscal year. During the 2007-2008 period, 580 requests were closed; in 2008-2009, 914 requests were closed; in 2009-2010, 929 requests were closed; in 2010-2011, 1171 requests were closed; in 2011-2012, 1,425 requests were closed; and in 2012-2013, 1,810 requests were closed.

The number of pages processed in response to access to information requests during the 2012–2013 reporting period was lower than in the 2011–2012 reporting period: 120741 pages processed compared with 164777 pages during the previous period. This is a decrease of 26.7%.

This decrease can be attributed in part to the work undertaken by the ATIP Secretariat to consult with applicants in order to clarify the scope of requests to ensure applicants receive information of interest.

The following graph displays the number of pages processed by the ATIP Secretariat in processing access to information requests under the Access to Information Act from 2007–2008 to 2012–2013.

Pages Process for Access Consulatations Access to Information Act 2007-2013

Text Description

The bar chart provides a visual representation of the number of pages processed by the ATIP Secretariat in processing access to information requests under the Access to Information Act from the 2007-2008 fiscal year to the 2012-2013 fiscal year. During the 2007-2008 period, 120,681 pages were processed; in 2008-2009, 134,078 pages were processed; in 2009-2010, 169,241 pages were processed; in 2010-2011, 163,273 pages were processed; in 2011-2012, 164,777 pages were processed; and in 2012-2013, 120,741 pages were processed.

Exemptions and Exclusions

The Access to Information Act prescribes a number of exemptions and exclusions that allow or require the Department to refuse to disclose certain types of information. The two most common exemptions invoked by Environment Canada in 2012–2013 were for personal information (section 19) and government operations (section 21). In 2012–2013, exemptions and/or exclusions were cited in 27.2% of the completed requests.

Time Limitations

During the 2012–2013 reporting period, 1193 (65.9%) of the completed requests were processed within the initial 30-day period. This included 799 completed in the first 15 days, and 394 completed between 16 and 30 days.

The following graph displays the breakdown of completion times for requests completed during the 2012–2013 reporting period.

Completion Time for Access Requests 2012-2013

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The pie chart displays the breakdown of completion times for requests completed during the 2012–2013 reporting period. EC’s ATIP Secretariat closed 44.1% of requests in 1 to 15 days, 21.8% in 16 to 30 days, 10.7% in 31 to 60 days, 14.8% in 61 to 120 days, 4.4% in 121 to 180 days, 2.9% in 181 to 365 days and 1.3% in more than 365 days.

A total of 208 requests were completed beyond the legislated deadline. Of the 208 late requests, 69 requests were late as a result of the need to conduct external consultations.

Extension of Time Limits

Section 9 of the Access to Information Act allows government institutions to extend the deadline for responding to a request if the request requires the institution to search a large number of records, to consult with other government institutions, or to communicate with third parties.

In 2012–2013, 269 requests required extensions of 30 days or less, 290 required an extension of between 31 and 60 days, 156 required an extension of between 61 to 120 days, and one required an extension of 121 days or more. In total, 716 requests required an extension past the original deadline of 30 days. The main reason for extensions was due to the volume of records involved in completing requests or the need to conduct a large search.

Complexity of Files

A number of files were considered complex for various reasons. Out of the 1810 requests closed during the 2012–2013 reporting period, 481 were considered to be complex. There were 411 requests that were complex due to the need to conduct consultations, 54 requests were considered complex due to the assessment of fees, 4 requests required legal advice, and 12 requests were classified in the “other” category. The “other” category consists of files containing high-profile subject matter, records held in a region or another country, or records that are in a language other than French or English.

Consultations

As an integral part of departmental processing procedures, other government institutions are consulted if access requests contain issues of interest to them. Although formal consultations are undertaken in writing, additional discussions between ATIP offices are initiated as required in order to facilitate the completion of each case. Consultations are also regularly undertaken with third parties and other levels of government.

In 2012–2013, Environment Canada received 270 access to information consultations from other federal government institutions. This constitutes a 15.9% increase relative to the previous reporting period. In addition, 256 access consultations were completed during the 2012–2013 reporting period, an increase of 14.5% compared with the previous reporting period. There were 12 access consultations outstanding from the previous reporting period, and 26 access consultations were carried forward to the next reporting period.

The following graph displays the number of access to information consultations that were received by the ATIP Secretariat from 2007–2008 to 2012–2013.

Access Consultations Received Access to Info Act 2007-2013

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The bar chart provides a visual representation of the number of access to information consultations that were received by the ATIP Secretariat from the 2007–2008 fiscal year to the 2012–2013 fiscal year. During the 2007-2008 period, 200 requests were received; in 2008-2009, 186 requests were received; in 2009-2010, 117 requests were received; in 2010-2011, 159 requests were received; in 2011-2012, 227 requests were received; and in 2012-2013, 270 requests were received.

This next graph displays the number of access to information consultations that were closed by the ATIP Secretariat from 2007–2008 to 2012–2013.

Access Consultations Closed Access to Information Act 2007-2013

Text Description

The bar chart provides a visual representation of the number of access to information consultations that were closed by the ATIP Secretariat from the 2007–2008 fiscal year to the 2012–2013 fiscal year. During the 2007-2008 period, 216 requests were closed; in 2008-2009, 209 requests were closed; in 2009-2010, 134 requests were closed; in 2010-2011, 158 requests were closed; in 2011-2012, 219 requests were closed; and in 2012-2013, 256 requests were closed.

The number of pages processed in response to access to information consultations during the 2012–2013 reporting period increased over the 2011–2012 reporting period: 14768 pages were processed for consultations compared to 12671 pages during the previous period. This is an increase of 14.2%.

The following graph displays the number of pages processed by the ATIP Secretariat in response to access to information consultations received from 2007–2008 to 2012–2013.

Pages Processed for Access Consultatoins Access to Information Act 2007-2013

Text Description

The bar chart provides a visual representation of the number of pages processed by the ATIP Secretariat in processing access to information consultations under the Access to Information Act from the 2007–2008 fiscal year to the 2012–2013 fiscal year. During the 2007-2008 period, 12,185 pages were processed; in 2008-2009, 6,959 pages were processed; in 2009-2010, 7,563 pages were processed; in 2010-2011, 6,367 pages were processed; in 2011-2012, 12,671 pages were processed; and in 2012-2013, 14,768 pages were processed.

During the 2012–2013 reporting period, 174 (68%) of the completed access consultations were processed within the initial 30-day period. This included 78 completed in the first 15 days, and 96 completed between 16 and 30 days.

Environment Canada undertook 46 consultations with Privy Council Office, Legislation and House Planning in 2012–2013. 40 responses in 2012–2013 were received after the deadline. This resulted in delays of as many as 365 days or more to complete the processing of a request.

Informal Requests

Between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013, Environment Canada received 66 informal access to information requests. There were 14 informal requests carried forward from the 2011–2012 reporting period, for a total of 80 active informal requests in the 2012–2013 reporting period. In 2012–2013, a total of 76 informal requests were completed, and 4 were carried forward to the next reporting period.

This represents a decrease in the number of informal requests received compared to the 2011–2012 reporting period when 155 informal requests were received.

Fees

In the 2012–2013 reporting period, total fees of $10,835 were collected for the processing of 1729 requests. This consisted of search fees in the amount of $1,940 and application fees totalling $8,895. In addition, $1,575 in search fees was collected for ongoing files which have carried over to the 2013-2014 period. No other fees were charged for production, preparation or reproduction.

In accordance with Treasury Board Secretariat guidelines, Environment Canada waived fees that individually amounted to $25 or less, although no waiver is granted for the initial $5 application fee.

Costs

The cost involved in administering the Access to Information Act was $814,915 for salary and $574,493 for goods and services ($503,329 for professional service contracts and $71,164 for other costs). This brings the total cost to $1,389,408.

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