ARCHIVED - 2009-10 Annual Report on the Privacy Act

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Table of Contents

Introduction

The Privacy Act gives Canadian citizens as well as individuals present in Canada the right to access personal information about themselves held by the Government. The Act also protects the privacy of individuals by setting out parameters in relation to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information held by federal government institutions.

Section 72 of the Act requires the head of every federal government institution to submit a report to Parliament on the administration of the Act for their institution each fiscal year. This report describes how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency administered the Privacy Act for the fiscal year 2009-10, and it was prepared in accordance with the reporting requirements outlined by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Overview of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the largest science-based regulatory agency in Canada. It has close to 7,200 professionals working across Canada, in the National Capital Region and in the four operational Areas (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and the West). The CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which contributes to a safe and accessible food supply and plant and animal resource base, thereby enhancing the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.

The CFIA's activities help protect Canadian and international food consumers, Canadian agricultural production (including forestry), and our environment. This benefits all people in the agriculture-food continuum, such as farmers, fishers, foresters, processors and distributors (including importers and exporters), as well as consumers.

The CFIA is responsible for administering and enforcing 13 federal statutes and 38 regulations that govern the safety and labelling of food sold in Canada and that support a sustainable plant and animal resource base. The CFIA shares many areas of responsibility with other federal departments and agencies; provincial, territorial and municipal authorities; and other stakeholders.

Within a complex operating environment, the Agency works with its partners to implement food safety measures; manage food, animal and plant risks and emergencies; and promote the development of food safety and disease control systems to maintain the safety of Canada's high-quality agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, and agri-food products. The Agency's activities include verifying domestic and foreign industry compliance; registering and inspecting establishments; testing food, animals, plants and their related products; and approving the use of many agricultural inputs.

The CFIA is led by its President, who reports to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The Agency is structured so that all branch heads have specific accountabilities that contribute to achieving each of the CFIA's strategic objectives.

With its headquarters in the National Capital Region, the CFIA is organized into four operational Areas (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and the West) that are subdivided into 18 regional offices, 185 field offices (including border points of entry) and 408 offices in non-government establishments (such as processing facilities). The Agency also works in 14 laboratories that provide scientific advice, develop new technologies, provide testing services and conduct research.

Administration of the Act

The administration of the Privacy Act is the primary responsibility of the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office of Corporate Secretariat Branch. The ATIP Office processes all requests for information and coordinates all activities related to the Act, associated regulations, directives and guidelines. The ATIP Office is headed by a Manager who reports to the Director of Executive Support and Coordination Directorate. There were 8 full-time employees and 7 consultants working in the ATIP Office during the reporting period.

Resources

An estimated $16,928.00 in salary costs and $13,404.00 in administrative costs were incurred by the ATIP Office to administer the Privacy Act for the reporting period. These costs do not include resources expended by the program areas of the Agency to meet the requirements of the Act.

Staff Training and Awareness

The ATIP Office provided 2 training sessions to 35 employees in the National Capital Region during the 2009-10 fiscal year. ATIP Officials also participated in 3 CFIA orientation sessions targeted at new employees. Approximately 99 employees received ATIP training during these sessions. Overall, 134 employees received ATIP training during 2009-10.

Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

The Agency developed and is implementing new procedures for processing ATIP requests, in order to provide greater oversight and accountability. The new procedures provide a more focused approach to the tasking of ATIP requests.

Approval procedures were also streamlined and the delegation order updated to give the ATIP Manager and Team Leaders full authority to release information under the Act.

Requests under the Act

The CFIA received a total of 16 new requests under the Privacy Act between April 1, 2009, and March 31, 2010. There were 7 outstanding requests from the previous year, bringing the total to 23 requests that required processing. Of this total, 9 were completed during the reporting period and 14 were carried forward to 2010-11. This represents a decrease of 18 requests (67%) processed over last year in which 27 requests were completed. A total of 1,102 pages were reviewed and 807 pages were released pursuant to Act.

The following chart depicts the cycle of privacy requests at the Agency for the last 5 years:

Privacy Requests 2005-2006 to 2009-10

Privacy Requests by Source 2005-2006 to 2009-10

Description for bar graph - Privacy Requests 2005-2006 to 2009-10

The following chart depicts the cycle of privacy requests at the CFIA for the last 5 years:

2005-2006 number of privacy requests were as follows:

Received: 9
Completed: 12
Outstanding from previous period: 4
Carried forward: 1

2006-2007 number of privacy requests were as follows:

Received: 11
Completed: 11
Outstanding from previous period: 1
Carried forward: 1

2007-2008 number of privacy requests were as follows:

Received: 29
Completed: 28
Outstanding from previous period: 1
Carried forward: 2

2008-2009 number of privacy requests were as follows:

Received: 32
Completed: 27
Outstanding from previous period: 2
Carried forward: 7

2009-2010 number of privacy requests were as follows:

Received: 17
Completed: 9
Outstanding from previous period: 7
Carried forward: 14

The ATIP Office also processed 60 informal requests for personal informal during 2009-10. This is a decrease of 19 requests (24%) over last year in which 79 informal requests were completed.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the CFIA's information holdings resulting in a significant increase in the volume, size and complexity of ATIP requests. This growth, accelerated by certain high profile incidents, led to delays in the release of requested information. Processing of requests is also contingent on external factors, such as required consultations with other parties and the volume of records. These factors frequently lead to an extension of the deadlines for completing the processing of the requests. Given this operating environment, the CFIA embarked upon a series of initiatives in 2009-2010 including the completion of an internal study as well as an external expert review. Among the ongoing initiatives that the CFIA is pursuing is the hiring of additional resources, both on a permanent and contract basis, in order to reduce the backlog and improve overall Agency performance.

Consultations

There were no consultations received from other institutions during the reporting period.

Completion Times and Extensions

The 9 requests completed in 2009-10 were processed in the following time frames:

  • 4 within 30 days or less (45%);
  • 2 within 31 to 60 days (22%);
  • 1 within 61 to 120 days (11%); and
  • 2 within 121 days or over (22%).

Disposition of Completed Requests

The following represents the disposition of completed requests:

  • 6 were disclosed in part (67%);
  • 1 was unable to be processed (11%); and
  • 2 were abandoned (22%).

All requesters received copies of the requested information as opposed to reviewing the information on site.

Exemptions

The CFIA invoked exemptions 5 times pursuant to section 26 of the Act for personal information and 1 time pursuant to section 22 of the Act for law enforcement and investigation.

Complaints and Investigations

There were no complaints received from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada during the reporting period, and 3 complaints were closed and deemed resolved.

Court Cases

There were no applications filed with the Federal Court of Canada for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Privacy Impact Assessments

One Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) was initiated and one was completed during the reporting period.

The completed PIA was on Part XV (Animal Identification) Health of Animals Regulations. CFIA is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations, which establishes and governs a national identification program for animals. Under this authority, the CFIA has entered into an agreement with the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) for the administration of the animal identification program. As part of its role as Administrator, the CCIA maintains a database to track the sale and distribution of approved ear tags that are applied to animals species covered under the Regulations.

A copy of the PIA was submitted to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner during the reporting period, and steps are underway to post a summary of the PIA on the CFIA website.

Disclosures Under Section 8(2) of the Act

There was 1 disclosure made by the CFIA pursuant to section 8(2)(e) and no disclosures under 8(2)(f), 8(2)(g) or 8(2)(m) of the Privacy Act during the reporting period.

Data Matching and Sharing Activities

There were no data matching or sharing activities undertaken by the Agency for 2009-10.

Exempt Banks

The CFIA has no exempt personal information banks.

Appendix A: Statistical Report

Click on image for larger view
Statistical Report

Statistical Report

Additional Reporting Requirements

Privacy Act

Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessments initiated: 0

Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessments completed: 0

Privacy Impact Assessments initiated: 1

Privacy Impact Assessments completed: 1

Privacy Impact Assessments forwarded to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC): 1

Appendix B: Delegation Order

Privacy Act Delegation Order

The President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency pursuant to section 73 of the Privacy Act (Act), hereby delegates the persons holding the positions set out in the Schedule annexed hereto to exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the President as the head of the government institution under the sections of the Act as set out in the Schedule.

Appendix B: Delegation Order

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Delegation Schedule

Delegation of powers, duties and functions pursuant to section 73 of the Privacy Act
Sections Powers, Duties and Functions Positions/Titles
Manager ATIP
Positions/Titles
Team Leader ATIP
Positions/Titles
Analyst ATIP
8(2)(j) To disclose personal information for research or statistical purposes X - -
8(2)(m) To disclose personal information in the public interest or if disclosure would benefit an individual X - -
8(4) To retain a copy of every request made by investigative bodies and a record of any information disclosed and, on request, make them available to the Privacy Commissioner X X X
8(5) To notify the Privacy Commissioner of any disclosure of personal information made in the public interest X X -
9(1) To retain a record of use of personal information contained in a personal information bank or any use or purpose for which that information is disclosed where the use or purpose is not included in the statements of uses and purposes and to attach the record to the personal information X X -
9(4) To notify the Privacy Commissioner of consistent use of personal information and to update the index X X -
10 To include personal information in personal information banks X X -
14 To give notice to the applicant of a request and provide access to the personal information X X -
15

To extend the time limit and to give notice to the applicant

X X X
17(2)(b) To determine the necessity for translation or interpretation of record X X -
17(3)(b) To determine the necessity for giving access to the record in an alternative format and to cause the personal information to be converted X X -
18(2) To refuse to disclose any personal information contained in a personal information bank designated as an exempt bank X X -
19(1) To refuse disclosure of personal information that includes information obtained in confidence from another government, an organization or an institution X X -
19(2) To disclose personal information if the government, organization or institution from which the information was obtained either consent to its disclosure or makes it public X X -
20 To refuse disclosure of personal information re: federal-provincial affairs. X X -
21 To refuse disclosure of personal information re: international affairs and defence. X X -
22 To refuse disclosure of the personal information re: law enforcement, investigations, security and policing services X X -
22.3 To refuse disclosure of the personal information re: Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act X X -
23 To refuse disclosure of personal information re: security clearances. X X -
24 To refuse disclosure disclosure of personal information re: individuals sentenced for an offence X X -
25 To refuse to disclose personal information re: safety of individuals X X -
26 To refuse disclosure of personal information about another individual and prohibited under section 8 of the Act X X -
27 To refuse disclosure of personal information subject to solicitor-client privilege X X -
28 To refuse disclosure of personal information re: medical records X X -
31 To receive notice of intention to investigate from the Privacy Commissioner X X -
33(2) To make representations to the Privacy Commissioner during an investigation of a complaint X X X
35(1) To receive a report from the Privacy Commissioner and to respond to his/her recommendations X X -
35(4) To provide a complainant access to personal information pursuant to the Privacy Commissioner's recommendations X X -
36(3) To receive from the Privacy Commissioner a report containing findings of investigation and recommendations and to respond to his/her recommendations X X -
37(3) To receive from the Privacy Commissioner a report containing findings of an investigation and recommendations X X -
51(2)(b) To request that section 51 hearing be held in the National Capital Region X X -
51(3) To Request and be given the opportunity to make representation in s.51 hearings X X -
72(1) To prepare an annual report to Parliament X X -

Legend:

Analyst ATIP
Analyst, Access to Information and Privacy
Manager ATIP
Manager, Access to Information and Privacy
Team Leader
Team Leader, Access to Information and Privacy

X Authority has been delegated

- Authority has not been delegated

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