Annual Report to Parliament 2011-2012
Privacy Act

Part II
Report on the Privacy Act

REQUESTS UNDER THE PRIVACY ACT

I. Statistical Report

The annual statistical report for fiscal year 2011-2012 is included at the end of this chapter.

II. Interpretation of the Statistical Report

1. Requests Processed

Eighty-four (84) requests were received and twelve (12) had been carried forward from the previous year, for a total of ninety-six (96) requests to be processed during the fiscal year.

2. Requests Completed

Seventy-four (74) requests were completed during the year and twenty-two (22) were carried forward to be processed during fiscal year 2012-2013.

3. Disposition of Requests Completed
 

Number of Requests

Percentage

All disclosed

10

13.51%

Disclosed in part

35

47.30%

All exempted

3

4.05%

All excluded

0

0.00%

No records exist

19

25.68%

Request abandoned

7

9.46%

 

74

100%

Delegation Order p.1

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a) No records exist

Nineteen (19) requests could not be processed as no relevant records existed under the control of the Department of Justice.

b) Request abandoned

In seven (7) cases, the applicants did not pursue the requests as a result of obtaining further clarification regarding the subject matter of their requests and the role of the Department.

4. Extensions

Of the nine (9) extended requests, four (4) included extensions under sub-paragraph 15(1)(a)(i) [unreasonable interference with the operations of the government institution] and five (5) included extensions under sub-paragraph 15(1)(a)(ii) [consultations with other institutions]. No extensions were claimed under paragraph 15(1)(b) [translation or conversion of the information into an alternative format].

Delegation Order p.1

[ Description image 3 ]

5. Completion Time

The completion time can be summarized as follows:

 

Number of Requests

Percentage

1 to 15 days

27

36.49%

16 to 30 days

24

32.43%

31 to 60 days

16

21.62%

61 to 120 days

3

4.05%

121 to 180 days

1

1.35%

181 to 365 days

1

1.35%

More than 365 days

2

2.70%

Total

74

100%

Delegation Order p.1

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6. Method of Access

Access to the relevant documents was given, in whole or in part, in response to forty-five (45) requests. Copies were provided in all cases on either CD-Rom or in paper form.

III. Consultations by Other Federal Institutions or Departments

Two hundred and one (201) privacy consultations were received during the period under review. In addition, twelve (12) privacy consultations were outstanding from previous years, for a total of two hundred and thirteen (213). Of those 213, one hundred and ninety-one (191) privacy consultations were completed during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and the remaining twenty-two (22) were carried forward to be completed in fiscal year 2012-2013.

Memoranda of Understanding created in 2008, strengthen our commitment towards better service delivery to the institutions that consult the Department of Justice.

IV. Complaints and Investigations

The complaint findings are defined as follows:

  • Not Well-Founded: A finding that a complaint is not well-founded means that the investigation uncovered no evidence leading the Privacy Commissioner to conclude that the Government institution violated the complainant's rights under the Privacy Act.
  • Well-Founded: A finding that a complaint is well-founded means that the Government institution failed to respect the PA rights of an individual. This would also be the Commissioner's finding in a situation where the Government institution refuses to grant access to personal information, despite a recommendation that it be released. In such a case, the next step could be for the requester or the Commissioner to seek a review by the Federal Court of Canada.
  • Well-Founded/Resolved: The Commissioner will find a complaint to be well-founded/resolved when the allegations are substantiated by the investigation and the Government institution has agreed to take corrective measures to rectify the problem.
  • Resolved: Resolved is a formal finding that reflects the Commissioner's role as an ombudsman. It is a designation for those complaints where well-founded would be too harsh to fit what essentially is a miscommunication or misunderstanding. It signifies that the Commissioner's Office, after a full and thorough investigation, has helped negotiate a solution that satisfies all parties.
  • Settled during the Course of the Investigation: This is not a formal finding, but an acceptable means to dispose of a complaint when the investigation has been completed, and the complainant is satisfied with the efforts of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and does not wish to pursue the issue any further. The complainant retains the right to request a formal finding. When that happens, the investigator re-opens the file, and submits a formal report. The Commissioner reports the findings in a letter to the complainant.
  • Discontinued: This signifies that the investigation was terminated before all the allegations were fully investigated. A case may be discontinued for any number of reasons - for instance, the complainant may no longer be interested in pursuing the matter or cannot be located to provide additional information critical to reaching a conclusion. The Commissioner does not issue a formal finding in discontinued complaints.

The following table summarizes the reasons for the complaints and the results of the investigations:

Reporting period
2011-2012
 

Received

Investigations Completed

On-going

Reason for complaint

 

Discontinued

Not well founded

Settled

Well founded

 

Delay

0

0

0

0

1

1

Extension

0

0

0

0

0

0

Fees

0

0

0

0

0

0

Language

0

0

0

0

0

0

Miscellaneous

3

4

0

0

1

2

Publications

0

0

0

0

0

0

Refusal – 70

1

0

0

0

0

1

Refusal - Exemption

2

0

3

0

1

4

Refusal - General

1

0

0

0

0

1

Subtotal

 

4

3

0

3

 

Total

7

10

9

1. Complaints filed

Seven (7) complaints were lodged with the Privacy Commissioner during the fiscal year.

2. Investigations Completed

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner completed the investigation of ten (10) complaints during the fiscal year. Many of these complaints had been carried forward from previous years.

The decision reached was in favour of the Department in three (3) cases. Three (3) complaints were well-founded and four (4) were discontinued.

3. On-going Investigations

At the end of the fiscal year, nine (9) complaints were still under investigation by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

4. Review by the Federal Court of Canada

No applications were filed before the Federal Court pursuant to section 41 of the Privacy Act during the reporting period.

V. Requests for Correction of Personal Information

Paragraph 12(2)(a) of the Act provides that every individual given access to personal information about himself or herself that has been used, is being used, or is available for use for an administrative purpose is entitled to request correction of such information where the individual believes there is an error or omission therein.

The Department of Justice has not received a request for correction of personal information during the reporting period.

VI. Use and Disclosure

It is the Department of Justice's policy that personal information be used solely for the purpose for which it is collected or for a consistent use as described in the Info Source publication.

VII. Disclosure under Paragraph 8(2)(d)

Sub-paragraph 8(2)(d) permits the disclosure of personal information to the Attorney General of Canada for use in legal proceedings involving the Crown in right of Canada or the Government of Canada.

The Department of Justice did not disclose personal information under paragraph 8(2)(d) during the reporting period.

VIII. Disclosure under Paragraph 8(2)(m)

Paragraph 8(2)(m) permits the disclosure of personal information in situations where the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure or when the disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates. The Privacy Commissioner must be informed of disclosures to be made under these provisions.

Two (2) communications were made pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(m).

In the first instance, the individual's name, date of birth, telephone number and the reason for the disclosure was done to the proper authorities before informing the Privacy Commissioner.

In the second instance, the individual's name and reason for disclosure was done to the proper authorities after informing the Privacy Commissioner.

IX. Exempt Banks

The Department of Justice has no exempt banks under the Privacy Act.

X. Audits Conducted by the Privacy Commissioner

Pursuant to subsection 37(1) of the Privacy Act, the Privacy Commissioner may carry out investigations in respect of personal information under the control of government institutions to ensure compliance with paragraphs 4 to 8.

No formal investigations by the Commissioner were conducted during the reporting period.

XI. Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA)

Privacy Impact Assessments are a mean to ensure that privacy principles are taken into account during the design, implementation and evolution of programs and services that involve personal information. Programs and services with potential privacy risks are required to undergo a PIA.

No Privacy Impact Assessments were completed during this reporting period.

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