Annual Report to Parliament 2012-2013
Privacy Act

PART II
REPORT ON THE PRIVACY ACT

REQUESTS UNDER THE PRIVACY ACT

I. Statistical Report

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

II. Interpretation of the Statistical Report

Overview of Requests Pursuant to the Privacy Act

Fiscal Year

# of Requests
Received

# of Requests
Completed

# of Pages
Processed

# of Pages
Released

2012-2013

89

88

38,888

14,170

2011-2012

84

74

36,829

15,119

Requests Received Pursuant to the Privacy Act

89 requests were received during the period under review. In addition, 22 requests were carried forward from previous years, for a total of 111 requests.

Request Completed Pursuant to the Privacy Act

88 requests were completed during the period under review. 23 requests were carried forward to be completed in fiscal year 2013-2014.

Of 88 requests, 66 (75%) were completed within the allowable time limits.

There was an increase in the number of requests completed and pages reviewed from those of the previous year. Responding to formal privacy requests involved the review of 38,888 pages, of which 14,170 pages were partially or entirely disclosed.

Disposition of Completed Requests

Of the 88 requests completed in fiscal year 2012-2013

  • 18 could not be processed as no relevant records existed under the control of the Department of Justice; and,
  • 15 requests were abandoned by the applicant. In the majority of cases, the applicant did not pursue the requests, either by withdrawing them or by not providing the clarification requested.

The remaining 55 requests were released in the following manner:

  • 13 were fully disclosed (24%);
  • 41 were partially disclosed (75%); and,
  • 1 was exempted in its entirety (1%).
Dispositions

[ Description ]

Completion Time and Extensions

Out of the 88 requests completed in 2012-2013, 63 (72%) were processed within 30 days or less.

Processing Timeframes

[ Description ]

In some instances the Department found it necessary to seek extensions to the prescribed time limits due to the need to consult with other government institutions (7 times).

Exemptions Invoked

The Department invoked exemptions under the PA for 42 requests. Section 26 was invoked the most (39 times), exempting personal information relating to an individual other than the requesters' information, followed by Section 27 (30 times) relating to solicitor-client privilege.

Exclusions Cited

The Department did not invoke any exclusion.

Method of Access

The Department offers the requesters the possibility of receiving the release package on CD-ROM at no charge, an option which tends to be more widely accepted.

A total of 44 requesters wanted copies and 10 requesters chose to receive information on CD-ROM, thus reducing the ATIP Office's paper footprint.

III. Consultations by other Federal Institutions or Departments

Overview of Consultations Requests Received from Other Government Institutions

Fiscal Year

# of Requests Received

# of Pages Received

# of Requests Completed

# of Pages Reviewed

2012-2013

151

7,780

160

8,725

2011-2012

201

29,758

191

17,923

During the period under review, the Department received 151 requests from other government institutions and organizations requesting our recommendations regarding records originating, pertaining to or of interest to the Department of Justice. In addition, 22 consultations were outstanding from previous years and carried over, for a total of 173. In total, the Department was asked to review 7,780 pages of information for these consultations.

Of the 173 consultations active throughout the reporting period, 160 were completed during the 2012-2013 fiscal year and the remaining amount, 13, were carried forward to be completed in fiscal year 2013-2014.

IV. Other Types of Requests

Advice

The ATIP Office also acted as a resource for Department officials, as well as those from other government institutions, offering advice and guidance on the provisions of the legislation. It was consulted on the disclosure and collection of information on a wide range of issues.

V. Complaints, Investigations and Federal Court Cases

Complaints Filed

14 complaints were filed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) during the reporting period. The reasons for the complaints were as follows:

  • 5 related to time limits;
  • 4 concerned the exemption or exclusion of information; and,
  • 5 concerned the handling of the request;
Completed Investigations

Complaint findings are defined as follows:

  • Well founded: The OPC found evidence of the complainant's rights being denied under the PA.
  • Not well founded: The investigation uncovered no evidence leading the OPC to conclude that the Government institution violated the complainant's rights under the PA.
  • 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.
  • Settled during course of 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 OPC and does not wish to pursue the issue any further.
  • Discontinued: The complaint was withdrawn or abandoned by the complainant before allegations were fully investigated.

Four investigations were completed during the reporting period, some of which had been carried forward from previous years. Out of the four, one complaint was discontinued by the complainant, one was settled during the course of the investigation, and two were well-founded.

At the end of the fiscal year, 18 complaints were still under investigation by the OPC.

Review by the Federal Court of Canada

No applications were filed before the Federal Court pursuant to section 41 of the PA.

VI. Request for Correction of Personal Information

Paragraph 12(2)(a) of the PA 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 any request for correction of personal information during the reporting period.

VII. 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.

VIII. Disclosure under Paragraph 8(2)

Sub-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.

The Department did not disclose personal information pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(m) during the reporting period.

IX. Exempt Banks

The Department of Justice has no exempt banks under the PA.

X. Audits Conducted by the Privacy Commissioner

Pursuant to subsection 37(1) of the PA, 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

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) are a means 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 PIAs were completed during this reporting period.

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