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2015-2016 Annual Report to Parliament - Privacy Act

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The Privacy Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. P-21) came into force on July 1, 1983. The Act governs how the federal government may collect personal information, restricts the use and disclosure of this information, and gives individuals a right to review and correct their personal information. Section 72 requires every head of a federal government institution to submit a report to Parliament on the administration of the Act within their institution during the fiscal year.This report is submitted in accordance with section 72 of the Act. It presents an overview of activities related to the Privacy Act carried out within Environment and Climate Change Canada during the reporting period of April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.  Further, since the Canada Emission Reduction Incentives Agency was not operational during this reporting period, an Agency report will not be prepared for this period.The Department of the Environment was established by the Government Reorganization Act (1970-71-72, c. 42) on June 10, 1971. A number of acts and regulations provide the Department with its mandate and allow it to carry out its programs. Under the Department of the Environment Act, the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of the Environment extend to and include matters relating to:
  • the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment, including water, air and soil quality;
  • renewable resources, including migratory birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna;
  • water;
  • meteorology;
  • the enforcement of any rules or regulations made by the International Joint Commission relating to boundary waters; and
  • the coordination of the policies and programs of the Government of Canada respecting the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment.

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Organizational structure

The Director General of the Corporate Secretariat is Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator, and has delegated authority on all matters concerning Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP). The ATIP Division, which is a part of the Corporate Secretariat, is the central coordinating body for all requests received by Environment and Climate Change Canada under the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

The ATIP Division directs all activities within Environment and Climate Change Canada relating to the administration, application and promotion of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. It provides advice to senior management on the implementation of the statutes and prepares reports to Parliament, the Treasury Board Secretariat and senior management. The ATIP Division represents the Department in complaints and investigations conducted by the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and in any Federal Court applications arising from ATIP matters.

The ATIP Division is currently comprised of 19 officers.

Capacity Development

Environment and Climate Change Canada remains committed to recruiting, training and maintaining a workforce that possesses specialized skills and that will continue to provide the best possible service to both internal and external clients.

During the reporting period, Environment and Climate Change Canada undertook several staffing activities to fill new positions that were created in 2014-2015.  In addition, efforts continued to staff vacant positions within the Division.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is also continuing to focus on developing capacity through its ATIP Professional Development Program. The program aims to train employees over a period of three to five years through a combination of competency-based training, professional development training and work assignments. Candidates enter the program at the PM-01 or PM-02 level and graduate as Senior ATIP Advisors at the PM-04 level. Current participants are progressing through the program.

The Professional Development Program is enabling the ATIP Division to better manage increasing workloads while facilitating succession planning through the transfer of corporate memory. The program also encourages staff to remain with the Department for a longer period of time.  A new intake into the Professional Development Program, at both the PM-01 and PM-02 levels is planned for early in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

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Delegation of authority

Decision-making responsibility for the application of the various provisions of the Privacy Act has been formally established and is outlined in the departmental Delegation of Authority Instrument. The current Designation Orders were approved by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, former Minister of the Environment, on September 17, 2013. A copy of the designation order pertaining to the Privacy Act can be found in Appendix B of this report.

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Interpretation of the statistical report

Environment Canada's Statistical Report on the Privacy Act is included in Appendix A of this report.

Between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada received 76 requests under the Privacy Act. There were also 7 requests carried forward from the 2014–2015 reporting period, for a total of 83 active requests. In 2015–2016, a total of 73 requests were completed.  Ten (10) requests were carried forward to the next reporting period.

Trends

Environment and Climate Change Canada received 49 more requests under the Privacy Act in 2015–2016 than in the previous fiscal year; this represents an increase of 181% in the number of privacy requests received.  Over half of the requests received this year pertain to one issue and represents a surge in privacy related workload for the department.  

The number of requests under the Privacy Act received by Environment and Climate Change Canada from 2010–2011 to 2015–2016 is found in figure 1.

Figure 1 - Privacy Requests Received Privacy Act 2010 – 2016

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Figure 1 shows a bar chart which provides a visual representation of the number of privacy requests that were received by the ATIP Secretariat from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

During the 2010-2011, 26 requests were received; in 2011-2012, 11 requests were received; in 2012-2013, 29 requests were received; in 2013-2014, 20 requests were received; in 2014-2015, 27 requests were received; and in 2015-2016, 76 requests were received.

 

Environment and Climate Change Canada completed 73 requests under the Privacy Act in 2015–20156. Figure 2 displays the number of requests under the Privacy Act completed by Environment and Climate Change Canada from 2010–2011 to 2015–2016.

Figure 2 - Privacy Requests Closed Privacy Act 2010 – 2016

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Figure 2 shows a bar chart which provides a visual representation of the number of privacy requests that were closed by the ATIP Secretariat from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

During the 2010-2011 period, 23 requests were closed; in 2011-2012, 16 requests were closed; in 2012-2013, 28 requests were closed; in 2013-2014, 19 requests were closed; in 2014-2015, 24 requests were closed; and in 2015-2016, 73 requests were closed.

 

Figure 3 shows the number of pages processed by the ATIP Division in processing requests under the Privacy Act from 2010–2011 to 2015–2016.

Figure 3 - Pages Processed, Privacy Act 2010–2016.

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Figure 3 shows a bar chart which provides a visual representation of the number of pages processed by the ATIP Secretariat in processing privacy requests under the Privacy Act from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

During the 2010-2011 period, 24,568 pages were processed; in 2011-2012, 18,046 pages were processed; in 2012-2013, 20,698 pages were processed; in 2013-2014, 10,803 pages were processed; in 2014-2015, 4,035 pages were processed; and in 2015-2016, 15,042 pages were processed.

 

In the 2015–2016 reporting period, 15,042 pages of records were retrieved and reviewed in response to Privacy requests which represents a significant increase of 273% over the 2014–2015 fiscal year. 

The number of pages disclosed by the ATIP Division in processing requests under the Privacy Act from 2010–2011 to 2015–2016 is found in figure 4.

Figure 4 - Pages Disclosed, Privacy Act 2010–2016.

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Figure 4 shows a bar chart which provides a visual representation of the number of pages disclosed by the ATIP Secretariat in processing privacy requests under the Privacy Act from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

During the 2010-2011, 4,074 pages were disclosed; in 2011-2012, 12,790 pages were disclosed; in 2012-2013, 8,497 pages were disclosed; in 2013-2014, 4,337 pages were disclosed; in 2014-2015, 1,814 pages were disclosed and in 2015-2016, 7,037 pages were disclosed.

Corrections

Paragraph 12(2)(a) of the Privacy Act gives individuals a right to request a correction of personal information about them held by the federal government.

No corrections were requested or made in the 2015–2016 reporting period.

 

Disclosure under Subsection 8(2)

Paragraphs 8(2)(e), (f), (g), and (m) of the Privacy Act permit the disclosure of personal information to various investigative/regulatory bodies or to Members of Parliament, or if disclosure is in the public interest.

No disclosures under subsection 8(2), including under paragraph 8(2)(m), were completed in the 2015–2016 reporting period.

 

Consultations

In 2015–2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada received 2 privacy consultations from other government institutions and organizations. Both consultations were completed during the 2015–2016 reporting period.

 

Costs

In 2015–2016, the total cost of administering the Privacy Act was $203,770. This included $178,770 for salaries and $25,000 for goods and services.

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Training activities

The ATIP Division provides daily advice to departmental officials on the processing of ATIP requests as well as the interpretation of the Acts to ensure the efficient and consistent processing of all requests received by the Department.

The ATIP Division further continued its formal training and development activities in the 2015–2016 reporting period. Fifteen (15) information and training sessions were held, attended by approximately 262 Environment and Climate Change Canada employees. The sessions included an overview of the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act as well as a description of internal procedures and associated deadlines for responding to requests. Information and training activities will continue throughout the 2016–2017 reporting period.

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Policies, guidelines, procedures and reporting

Policy Framework

Environment Canada’s access to information policy framework was approved in November 2012. 

During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Environment and Climate Change Canada drafted departmental guidance on the collection, use and disclosure of the Social Insurance Number.  This guidance document will be finalized in early 2016-2017.

Reporting

The ATIP Division regularly monitors the timeliness and trends associated with the processing of requests through ongoing communication with Branch and Directorate liaison contacts. In addition, regular ATIP updates are provided to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Executive Management Committee.

Publicly Accessible Information and Inquiry Points

Info Source is a series of publications containing information on the Government of Canada and on the government’s data collection activities. Info Source is intended to help the public access government information and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act and Access to Information Act.

Each year, the ATIP Division prepares updates on Environment Canada’s activities and information holdings for publication in Info Source which is published on the Department’s website. In 2015-2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada completed a major revision of its Info Source chapter based on the Department’s updated Program Activity Architecture.

Environment Canada’s comprehensive website provides information on the Department’s policies, its organizational structure and the means to contact Department officials. In accordance with the federal government’s policy of proactive disclosure, the Department’s website also allows access to internal evaluations and audits, as well as information on hospitality expenses, contracts and grants.

Environment Canada’s website also has an Access to Information and Privacy webpage that provides background information on both the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It also contains a Frequently Asked Questions section and links to access to information request forms, personal information request forms and summaries of completed access to information requests.

In order to facilitate public access to information and to comply with the Act, the Environment and Climate Change Canada Library has been designated a public reading room. The Library is located on the 1st floor of the Place Vincent Massey Annex, 351 St. Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau, Quebec.

Online Request Service

Since April 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada has participated in the Treasury Board Secretariat Online Request Service Pilot Project. This initiative makes the process of requesting government records simpler and more convenient by enabling Canadians to submit their ATIP requests and application fees online.  Environment and Climate Change Canada received 67 Privacy requests online during the 2015–2016 reporting period.  This represents a significant increase over the 2014-2015 fiscal year, as applicants have become more familiar with the online service.

DataSharing Activities

The Department did not undertake any new internal or external data sharing activities in 2015–2016.

Exempt Personal Information Banks

Environment and Climate Change Canada has no exempt Personal Information Banks.

Privacy Impact Assessments

To fulfill its mandate, some of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s responsibilities require the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. As a trusted custodian of this information, the Department uses Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs), in accordance with Treasury Board policy, as a risk management tool. Although Environment and Climate Change Canada did not complete any Privacy Impact Assessments during the reporting period, the ATIP Division regularly provides advice to departmental employees on privacy matters.

Material Privacy Breaches

There was one material privacy breach during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.  The privacy breach involved the e-mail misdirection of a letter containing personal information of an Environment and Climate Change Canada employee. 

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Complaints, audits, investigations and appeals

Applicants have the right to register a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada regarding any matter relating to the processing of a request. 

During the 2015–2016 reporting period, there were 10 complaints filed against Environment and Climate Change Canada with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.  Five (5) of the complaints related to extensions and five (5) related to processing delays. Seventy percent (70%) of the complaints originated from the same source.

Nine (9) complaints were closed during the reporting period.   Table 1 provides a breakdown of the reasons and results of the complaints that were completed in 2015-2016

Table 1
 Reason for ComplaintNumber of DecisionsResults of Investigations Well founded, resolved without recommendationsResults of Investigations
Well founded, with recommendations – resolved
Results of Investigations
Well founded, with recommendations – not resolved
Results of Investigations
Not well founded
Results of Investigations
Discontinued
Results of Investigations
Settled
Delay4300100
Extensions5000500
Total9300600

One complaint remains outstanding.

The department reviews the outcomes of all of the Privacy Commissioner investigations and where appropriate, incorporates lessons learned into business processes.

There were no recommendations raised by other Agents of Parliament during the reporting period.

Audits

In 2015-2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Audit and Evaluation Branch completed a Review and Benchmarking of Privacy Management within the department.  The results of the review and benchmarking confirmed that the department’s privacy practices were consistent with the other departments that participated in the benchmarking exercise.

The review of department’s privacy policies found that the required policies and processes for privacy management were in place within the department. The two areas identified for improvement were the approach to monitoring the implementation of Privacy Impact Assessments and reviewing ECCC's privacy policy framework to better define the requirements for collecting SINs.

As a result of the Audit, the ATIP Division has improved the monitoring of preliminary privacy impact assessment and privacy impact assessment activities within the department.    In addition, Environment and Climate Change Canada has drafted departmental guidance on the collection, use and disclosure of the Social Insurance Number.  This guidance document will be finalized and issued within the Department in early 2016-2017.

Applications/Appeals to the Federal Court or Federal Court of Appeal

There were no applications or appeals to the Federal Court or Federal Court of Appeal under the Privacy Act during the 2015–2016 reporting period.

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Appendix A: Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Reporting period: 01/04/2015 to 31/03/2016

Part 1: Requests Under the Privacy Act

Number of Requests
Received during reporting period76
Outstanding from previous reporting period7
Total83
Closed during reporting period73
Carried over to next reporting period10

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Part 2: Requests Closed During the Reporting Period

2.1 Disposition and completion time
Disposition of Requests1 to 15 Days16 to 30 Days31 to 60 Days61 to 120 Days121 to 180 Days181 to 365 DaysMore Than 365 DaysTotal
All disclosed12100004
Disclosed in part0919513138
All exempted02210005
All excluded01000001
No records exist3100000013
Request abandoned1001010012
Neither confirmed nor denied00000000
Total142423623173
2.2 Exemptions
SectionNumber 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
200
210
22(1)(a)(i)0
22(1)(a)(ii)0
22(1)(a)(iii)0
22(1)(b)5
22(1)(c)0
22(2)0
22.10
22.20
22.31
23(a)0
23(b)0
24(a)0
24(b)0
250
2642
2714
280
2.3 Exclusions
SectionNumber of Requests
69(1)(a)0
69(1)(b)0
69.10
70(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
70.10
2.4 Format of information released
DispositionPaperElectronicOther formats
All disclosed040
Disclosed in part9290
Total9330

2.5 Complexity

2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of RequestsNumber of Pages ProcessedNumber of Pages DisclosedNumber of Requests
All disclosed18184
Disclosed in part12149701938
All exempted287505
All excluded001
Request abandoned0012
Neither confirmed nor denied000
Total15042703760
2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
DispositionLess Than 100
Pages Processed
Number of Requests
Less Than 100
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
101-500
Pages Processed Number of Requests
101-500
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
501-1000
Pages Processed
Number of Requests
501-1000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
1001-5000
Pages Processed Number of Requests
1001-5000
Pages Processed Pages Disclosed
More Than 5000
Pages Processed Number of Requests
More than 5000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
All disclosed41800000000
Disclosed in part20539121454312813374500
All exempted4000001000
All excluded1000000000
Request abandoned12000000000
Neither confirmed nor denied0000000000
Total41557121454312814374500
2.5.3 Other complexities
DispositionConsultation RequiredLegal Advice SoughtInterwoven InformationOtherTotal
All disclosed00000
Disclosed in part30317
All exempted00303
All excluded00000
Request abandoned00202
Neither confirmed nor denied00000
Total308112

2.6 Deemed refusals

2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Number of Requests Closed Past the Statutory DeadlinePrincipal Reason WorkloadPrincipal Reason External ConsultationPrincipal Reason Internal ConsultationPrincipal Reason Other
1110100
2.6.2 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 days000
16 to 30 days033
31 to 60 days112
61 to 120 days022
121  to 180 days022
181 to 365 days011
More than 365 days011
Total11011
2.7  Requests for translation
Translation RequestsAcceptedRefusedTotal
English to French000
French to English000
Total000

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Part 3: Disclosures Under Subsections 8(2) and 8(5)

Disclosures Under Subsections 8(2) and 8(5)
Paragraph 8(2)(e)Paragraph 8(2)(m)Subsection 8(5)Total
0000

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Part 4: Requests for Correction of Personal Information and Notations

Requests for Correction of Personal Information and Notations
Disposition for Correction Requests ReceivedNumber
Notations attached0
Requests for correction accepted0
Total0

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Part 5: Extensions

5.1  Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Disposition of Requests Where an Extension Was Taken15(a)(i)
Interference With Operations
15(a)(ii) Consultation Section 7015(a)(ii) Consultation Other15(b)
Translation or Conversion
All disclosed1000
Disclosed in part26010
All exempted2000
All excluded0000
No records exist0000
Request abandoned2000
Total31010
5.2 Length of extensions
Length of Extensions15(a)(i)
Interference with operations
15(a)(ii) Consultation Section 7015(a)(ii) Consultation Other15(b)
Translation purposes
1 to 15 days1000
16 to 30 days30010
Total31010

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Part 6: Consultations Received From Other Institutions and Organizations

6.1 Consultations received from other Government of Canada institutions and other organizations
ConsultationsOther Government of Canada InstitutionsNumber of Pages to ReviewOther OrganizationsNumber of Pages to Review
Received during the reporting period218600
Outstanding from the previous reporting period0000
Total218600
Closed during the reporting period218600
Pending at the end of the reporting period0000
6.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other Government of Canada institutions
RecommendationNumber of Days Required to Complete Consultation Requests
1 to 15 Days
Number of Days Required to Complete Consultation Requests
16 to 30 Days
Number of Days Required to Complete Consultation Requests
31 to 60 Days
Number of Days Required to Complete Consultation Requests
61 to 120 Days
Number of Days Required to Complete Consultation Requests
121  to 180 Days
Number of Days Required to Complete Consultation Requests
181 to 365 Days
Number of Days Required to Complete Consultation Requests
More Than 365 Days
Total
All disclosed00000000
Disclosed in part11000002
All exempted00000000
All excluded00000000
Consult other institution00000000
Other00000000
Total11000002
6.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
RecommendationNumber of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 Days
Number of days required to complete consultation requests
16 to 30 Days
Number of days required to complete consultation requests
31 to 60 Days
Number of days required to complete consultation requests
61 to 120 Days
Number of days required to complete consultation requests
121  to 180 Days
Number of days required to complete consultation requests
181 to 365 Ddays
Number of days required to complete consultation requests
More Than 365 Days
Total
All disclosed00000000
Disclosed in part00000000
All exempted00000000
All excluded00000000
Consult other institution00000000
Other00000000
Total00000000

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Part 7: Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

7.1 Requests with Legal Services
Number of DaysFewer Than 100 Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
101-500 Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
101-500 Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
501-1000
Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
501-1000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
1001-5000
Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
1001-5000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
More than 5000
Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
More than 5000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
1 to 150000000000
16 to 300000000000
31 to 600000000000
61 to 1200000000000
121 to 1800000000000
181 to 3650000000000
More than 3650000000000
Total0000000000
7.2 Requests with Privy Council Office
Number of DaysFewer Than 100 Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
Fewer Than 100 Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
101-500 Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
101-500 Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
501-1000
Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
501-1000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
1001-5000
Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
1001-5000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
More than 5000
Pages Processed
Number of
Requests
More than 5000
Pages Processed
Pages Disclosed
1 to 150000000000
16 to 300000000000
31 to 600000000000
61 to 1200000000000
121 to 1800000000000
181 to 3650000000000
More than 3650000000000
Total0000000000

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Part 8: Complaints and Investigations Notices Received

Complaints and Investigations Notices Received
Section 31Section 33Section 35Court actionTotal
1093022

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Part 9: Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)
Number of PIA(s) completed0

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Part 10: Resources Related to the Privacy Act

10.1  Costs
ExpendituresAmount
Salaries$178,770
Overtime$0
Goods and Services$25,000
  • Professional services contracts
$25,000 
  • Other
$0
Total$203,770
10.2  Human Resources
ResourcesPerson Years Dedicated to Privacy Activities
Full-time employees1.00
Part-time and casual employees1.50
Regional staff0.00
Consultants and agency personnel0.20
Students0.00
Total2.70

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

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Appendix B: Designation Order Instrument

Access to Information Act and Privacy Act Delegation Order

The Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act and section 73 of the Privacy Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, or the persons occupying on an acting basis those positions, to exercise the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of the Environment as the head of Environment Canada, under the provisions of the Act and related regulations set out in the schedule opposite each position. This designation replaces all previous delegation orders.

Schedule
PositionAccess to Information Act and RegulationsPrivacy Act and Regulations
Deputy Minister of the EnvironmentFull authorityFull authority
Associate Deputy Minister of the EnvironmentFull authorityFull authority
Director General, Corporate SecretariatFull authorityFull authority
Director, Access to Information and PrivacyFull authorityFull authority
Manager, Access to Information and PrivacyFull authorityFull authority

Dated, at the City of Gatineau, Quebec, this 17th day of September 2013

(signed)

Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of the Environment

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