Impact of Adding Revenue Canada Databases Under FOAEA—Part 1 Tracing For Locating Persons
Final Report



8.1   Types of Trace Requests and Receipts

Pilot Phase results clearly indicated that employer results and locations were of the most interest to FMEP and FAMS. Search requests were designated "employer only" in the majority of cases. However, since the FOAEA Unit sends back location and employer information no matter what is requested or required, initial search specifications have lost their importance and accuracy. In addition, changes to the search request fields have reduced the number of requests designated as "employer only" and added broader categories (driver's license) that do not indicate trace data preference. However, a broad interpretation of these data suggests that employer data is still considered a priority over payor residential address data.

Table 23   Search requests and receipts
Search request designation Number of requests % Number received %
Employment data only 56 18% 0 0
Payor location data only 13 4% 144 46%
Employment and location 242 77% 168 53%
No data / other 4 1% 3 1%
Total 315 100% 315 100%

Data describing trace returns indicates that payor residential address data dominates returns. In no cases was "employer only" data returned; it was always sent in combination with payor residential address data. This is despite the fact the employer data is more clearly identified as being required by FMEP.

This data suggests that there is not a clear "fit" between trace requests and returns. A large proportion of the data returned to FMEP is not required, and because of this, is likely to be of little value. When this is added to time pressures faced by FMEP staff, and the volume of data that is available to be reviewed (from FAMS and other sources), it is likely to lead to the overall "devaluing" of FOAEA data.

8.2   Time Durations Between Trace Intervals

Data was collected on the intervals between different stages of the trace request process. Specific time markers were not available for all intervals (see Section 4.5.7). In these cases, the closest approximate time definitions were used.[6]

Table 24   Time intervals between trace request processes (all cases)
Time intervals Amount of time between FMEP request and Province Closed Amount of time between Province Closed and application legal date (for FOAEA) Number of weeks between legal application and Federal Closed
Less than 2 weeks 2 (1%) 132 (42%) 15 (5%)
From 2 weeks to under 4 weeks 27 (9%) 45 (14%) 68 (22%)
From 4 weeks to under 8 weeks 27 (9%) 44 (14%) 48 (15%)
From 8 weeks to under 12 weeks 25 (8%) 12 (4%) 153 (49%)
From 12 weeks to under 16 weeks 32 (10%) 8 (3%) 18 (6%)
Over 16 weeks 201 (64%) 74 (23%) 13 (4%)
No data 1 (0%)    
Totals 315 (101%) 315 (100%) 315 (101%)

Table 24 indicates that the longest time delays were in the period between FMEP request and Province Closed. This is during the period when FAMS searches provincial databases for payor residential and employer address data. Sixty-four percent of the cases took over four months for FAMS to review its search data and identify the need for a federal trace. There were also significant delays in the period between legal application date and the Federal Closed date. Almost 60 percent of the files took over eight weeks to complete this task.

Altogether the total tracing time from FMEP request to Federal Closed was lengthy; in 76 percent (241/315) of cases it took six or more months for all stages of the process to be completed and data to be returned (Table 25).

It is recognized that time delays are affected by other administrative issues such as the affidavit submission process. This affected trace requests to the end of 1998. A review of total trace duration times (FMEP request to Federal Closed) during three separate time periods (June to December 1998, January to June 1999 and July to December 1999) showed changes in the total time it took to complete a trace. For example, the number of cases taking six months or more dropped from 77 percent to 59 percent. These differences clearly show the impact of administrative issues on the duration required to complete a trace.

Table 25   Time durations of trace process to obtain FOAEA data in three distinct time periods
Time period Jun 1998 – Dec 31, 1998 Jan 1, 1999 – Jun 30, 1999 /div> Jul 1, 1999 – Dec 31, 1999 Total time period
Less than 2 months 2 (3%) 5 (5%) 8 (6%) 15 (5%)
2 months to under 4 0 (0%) 4 (4%) 21 (15%) 25 (8%)
4 months to under 6 1 (1%) 4 (4%) 29 (21%) 34 (11%)
6 months or more 64 (96%) 95 (88%) 82 (59%) 241 (76%)
Total 67 108 140 315

A closer look at time specific intervals related to these time periods reveals the following:

8.3   Quality of Trace Data

The overall quality of trace data sent by the FOAEA Unit is an important issue to assess both in terms of the utility of the data and the value that is attached to it. It was recognized that a high proportion of incomplete or outdated addresses returned by FOAEA would not inspire confidence in the overall value of the trace results.

Four aspects of data quality were considered:

8.3.1    Completeness and Duplication of Trace Data

Files were assessed in terms of completeness of the address data provided by the FOAEA Unit. An address was considered to be complete if it included enough information to be traceable (postal code not required). It was considered incomplete if some information was provided (e.g. postal code) but the information was not sufficient to result in a completed trace.

Many trace requests received duplicate addresses and there was a high proportion of incomplete data that was duplicative.

Table 26 indicates that payor residential address data was most likely to be returned (96 percent). However, the quality of the data tended to be higher in the employer address category. Fewer employer traces were incomplete or duplicate.

While the higher proportion of payor residential address data returned may appear to have been positive, there was less demand for this data. Of greater concern was the large number of files (47 percent) that returned no employment data.

Table 26   Completeness and duplication of trace data
Trace data description Payor address data Employer name and location
No. of files where (at least 2) complete addresses returned 304 (96%) 168 (53%)
No. of files where no addresses returned 11 (3%) 147 (47%)
No. of files where incomplete address returned 117 (38%) 0 (0%)
No. of files where duplicate addresses returned 101 (32%) 3 (1%)

Most cases received more than one complete trace return, particularly those with payor residential addresses. Seventy percent of the cases had two or more complete addresses. In the case of employer data, 41 percent of the cases had two or more complete trace returns. Ninety-seven percent of the incomplete payor residential addresses came from CCRA. In most cases, these consisted of postal codes only. All employer data was obtained via CCRA and all were complete.

Table 27   Number of complete trace returns
Number of complete addresses per case Payor address data N=304 Employer name and location
1 complete trace returned 90 (30%) 95 (56%)
2 complete 179 (59%) 49 (29%)
3 complete 31 (10%) 14 (8%)
4 complete 4 (1%) 6 (4%)
5 or more complete   4 (2%)

8.3.2    Proportion of FOAEA Data that is "New" to FAMS and FMEP

Prior to the request for FOAEA data, FMEP and FAMS had already conducted extensive searches for the payor residential and employer address. Both recorded, to varying degrees, the addresses searched and discarded as invalid or outdated.

Existing FMEP and FAMS payor residential and employer addresses were compared with FOAEA results to determine whether FOAEA trace results were supplying new information to FAMS and FMEP. Most of the information sent by FOAEA was not new. Many addresses had already been reviewed and found to be inaccurate by FAMS and FMEP staff. There was a higher proportion of "new" information (43 percent or 135/315) on employer files than on payor files (25 percent or 79/315).

8.3.3   Currency of FOAEA Trace Results Dates

The dates of the most recent active date of FOAEA results for payor residential addresses ranged from 1992 to 1999 or earlier. Although data provided by HRDC extended further back in time, a higher proportion of CCRA data was outdated. Over 60 percent of the employer addresses provided (all by CCRA) were dated 1997 or earlier. This compared with 30 percent of the data for payor residential addresses.

Some research, conducted by FAMS after this study was completed, has suggested that the dates attached to FOAEA residential address and employer trace results sent to FMEP via FAMS may not be correct in all cases. It was, however, beyond the scope of this study to determine the validity of dates attached by CCRA, HRDC or by the FOAEA Unit prior to the sending of trace information to FAMS.

Table 28   Dated address of most current FOAEA return
Year Most current residential trace Most current employer trace
1999 129 (41%) 65 (39%)
1998 80 (25%) 2 (1%)
1997 40 (13%) 100 (60%)
1996 23 (7%) 1 (1%)
1995 7 (2%)  
1994 10 (3%)  
1993 6 (2%)  
1992 or earlier 9 (3%)  
Total 304 168

The currency of FOAEA data is also related to the time when a trace request was made. The study examined the date of the most current trace return in relation to the date the trace was requested by FMEP.

The results indicated that just over half of the most active payor residential addresses (56 percent or 171/304) were "current" (e.g. in the same year) in relation to the date of the initiation of the search request by FMEP.

Table 29   Comparison of dates of residential addresses with dates of FMEP trace requests
Payor residential addresses date of trace return compared to FMEP request date Number %
Most active trace return is in same year or is more recent than FMEP request date 171 56%
Most active trace return is 1 year out of date 55 18%
Most active trace return is 2 years out of date 38 12%
Most active trace return is 3 or more years out of date 40 13%
Total 304 99%

Using this framework for analysis, employer addresses were less current than the payor residential addresses provided by the FOAEA Unit. Only 39 percent of the most active traces were current in terms of the year of the FMEP request.

Table 30   Comparison of employer active date with date of FMEP trace initiation
Employer addresses dates of traces returned compared to FMEP request date Number %
Most active trace return is in same year or is more recent than FMEP request date 65 39%
Most active trace return is 1 year out of date 61 36%
Most active trace return is 2 years out of date 42 25%
Most active trace return is 3 years or more out of date    
Total 168 100%