ARCHIVED - 2011–12 Annual Report on the Privacy Act

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1) 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 Privacy Act requires the heads of federal government institutions to submit a report to Parliament on their institutions' administration of the Act each fiscal year. This report, along with all Privacy annual reports, is tabled in Parliament in accordance with section 72 of the Act. This report describes how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administered the Privacy Act for fiscal year 2011–12 and was prepared in accordance with the reporting requirements outlined by Treasury Board Secretariat.

The CFIA is mandated to safeguard Canada's food supply and the plants and animals upon which safe and high-quality food depends. The CFIA ensures that food is as safe as possible for Canadian families and that consumers are protected by targeting unsafe practices.

About the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is Canada's largest science-based regulatory agency. It has over 7 300 employees working across Canada in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in four operational areas (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Western). The CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment, and economy.

CFIA develops legal requirements and delivers inspection and other services to:

  • prevent and manage food safety risks;
  • protect plant resources from pests, diseases and invasive species;
  • prevent and manage animal diseases;
  • contribute to consumer protection; and
  • contribute to market access for Canada's food, plants, and animals.

CFIA bases its activities on science, effective management of risk, commitment to service and efficiency, and collaboration with domestic and international organizations that share its mandate.

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), and 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; with provincial, territorial and municipal authorities; and with other stakeholders.

Within a complex operating environment, the Agency works with its partners to implement food safety measures; to manage food, animal and plant risks and emergencies; and to 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 NCR, 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-governmental 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 the Integrity and Redress Secretariat. 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 Chief Redress Officer, Integrity and Redress Secretariat. As of March 31, 2012, there were 12 full-time employees working in the ATIP Office.

Dedicated ATIP Advisor positions have been established in the core Branches, who report directly to the Branch Head on Branch–related ATIP issues and activities. These Branch Advisors work with the ATIP Office to ensure an efficient and effective process.

Resources

An estimated $116 448 in salary costs and $147 347 in operating costs were incurred by the ATIP Office to administer the Privacy Act for the reporting period. These costs do not include resources expended by CFIA program areas to meet the requirements of the Act.

Staff Training and Awareness

The ATIP Office provided 25 training sessions to 376 employees in the National Capital Region during the 2011–12 Fiscal Year. ATIP officials also participated in 2 CFIA orientation sessions targeted at new employees. Approximately 60 employees received ATIP training during these sessions. Overall, 436 employees received ATIP training during 2011–12. During the year, work was undertaken on creating an online course to raise awareness of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

The CFIA has implemented a set of process improvements for ATIP in order to provide greater oversight and accountability. The process improvements include the following: the creation of an ATIP Advisor function in the core Branches; a streamlined approval process; more senior management engagement at the beginning of the ATIP process; new internal control processes, and a requirement by subject matter experts in the Branches to provide recommendations and identify sensitivities when providing records to the ATIP Office. These enhanced procedures provide a more focused approach to the tasking of ATIP requests. CFIA also created a Privacy Unit within the ATIP Office, as part of its commitment to ATIP Modernization, and establish policies and procedures inline with TBS requirements.

2) How Requests Were Processed Under the Act

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 and the need to address a backlog of requests, 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.

The CFIA received 66 new privacy requests under the Privacy Act between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012. There were 20 outstanding requests from the previous year, bringing the total to 86 requests that required processing. Of this total, 58 were completed during the reporting period and 28 were carried forward to 2012–13. The total completed requests over the last two fiscal years remain almost constant at 57 followed by 58. A total of 27 719 pages were reviewed and 23 536 were released pursuant to Act.

The following table outlines the cycle of Privacy requests at CFIA for the last five Fiscal Years (FYs).
Fiscal Year 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Received 29 32 16 63 66
Completed 28 27 9 57 58
Outstanding from previous FY 1 2 7 14 20
Carried forward 2 7 14 20 28

The ATIP Office also received 84 informal requests for personal information and reviewed 4 450 pages during 2011–12. This is an increase of 1 request and a decrease of 619 pages over the previous year.

The following table outlines the cycle of informal Privacy requests received at CFIA for the last five Fiscal Years (FYs).
Informal requests 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Received 61 79 60 83 84

Consultations

There was one consultations received from another institution during the reporting period, involving the review of 3 pages.

Completion Times and Extensions

The 58 requests completed in 2011–12 were processed in the following time frames:

  • 24 within 30 days or less (41%);
  • 16 within 31 to 60 days (28%);
  • 14 within 61 to 120 days (24%); and
  • 4 within 121 days or over (7%).

Disposition of Completed Requests

The following represents the disposition of the 58 completed requests:

  • 1 was fully disclosed (2%);
  • 39 were partially disclosed (67%);
  • 13 could not be processed (22%); and
  • 5 were abandoned (9%).

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

Exemptions and Exclusions

The CFIA invoked exemptions pursuant to the Act a total of 57 times. The exemptions were invoked as follows:

  • 4 for personal information obtained in confidence (s. 19);
  • 4 for Federal/provincial affairs (s. 20);
  • 1 for International affairs and Defence (s.21);
  • 40 for personal information (s. 26);
  • 7 for solicitor-client privilege (s. 27); and
  • 1 for medical records (s. 28).

The Agency did not exclude any information under the Act.

3) Complaints and Investigations

The CFIA received 2 complaints from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in 2011–12. This represents a decrease of 5 complaints (72%) over the previous reporting period, in which 7 complaints were received. The reason cited for the new complaints was the improper disclosure of personal information.

During the 2011–12 Fiscal Year, 2 complaints were completed, and the conclusions were as follows:

  • 1 complaint was discontinued; and
  • 1 complaint was resolved and deemed not well-founded.

4) Court Cases

There were no applications filed with the Federal Court of Canada for the 2011–12 Fiscal Year.

5) Other Reporting Requirements Under the Act

Privacy Impact Assessments

There were no Privacy Impact Assessments completed during the reporting period.

Disclosures Under Section 8(2) (m) of the Act

There were no disclosures made pursuant to section 8(2) (m) of the Privacy Act during the 2011–12 Fiscal Year.

Appendix A: Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Privacy Act

Name of institution: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Reporting Period: 2011/04/01 to 31-Mar-12

PART 1 - Requests under the Privacy Act

Number of Requests
Received during the reporting period 66
Outstanding from previous reporting period 20
Total 86
Closed during reporting period 58
Carried over to next reporting period 28

PART 2 - Requests closed during the reporting period

2.1 Disposition and completion time
Disposition of requests Completion Time
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 Total
All disclosed 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Disclosed in part 1 9 14 12 2 0 1 39
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 4 7 1 1 0 0 0 13
Request abandoned 2 0 1 1 0 0 1 5
Total 7 17 16 14 2 0 2 58
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of Requests
18(2) 0
19(1)(a) 0
19(1)(b) 0
19(1)(c) 4
19(1)(d) 0
19(1)(e) 0
19(1)(f) 0
20 4
21 1
22(1)(a)(i) 0
22(1)(a)(ii) 0
22(1)(a)(iii) 0
22(1)(b) 0
22(1)(c) 0
22(2) 0
22.1 0
22.2 0
22.3 0
23(a) 0
23(b) 0
24(a) 0
24(b) 0
25 0
26 40
27 7
28 0
2.3 Exclusions
Section Number of Requests
69(1)(a) 0
69(1)(b) 0
69.1 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
70.1 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 1 0 0
Disclosed in part 37 2 0
Total 38 2 0
2.5 Complexity
2.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Disposition of requests Number of pages processed Number of pages disclosed Number of requests
All disclosed 16 16 1
Disclosed in part 24862 23520 39
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 2841 0 5
2.5.2 Relevant pages processed and disclosed by size of requests
Disposition Less than 100 pages processed 101-500 pages processed 501-1000 pages processed 1001-5000 pages processed More than 5000 pages processed
No. of requests Pages dis- closed No. of requests Pages dis- closed No. of requests Pages dis- closed No. of requests Pages dis- closed No. of requests Pages dis- closed
All disclosed 1 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 13 540 14 2863 4 2863 7 12067 1 5177
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Total 18 556 14 2863 4 2873 8 12067 1 5177
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Legal Advice Sought Interwoven Information Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 16 0 0 24 40
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Abandoned 1 0 0 0 1
Total 17 0 0 24 41
2.6 Deemed refusals
2.6.1 Reasons for not meeting statutory deadline
Number of requests closed past the statutory deadline Principal Reason
Workload External consultation Internal consultation Other
17 14 2 1 0
2.6.2 Number of days past deadline
Number of days past deadline Number of requests past deadline where no extension was taken Number of requests past deadline where an extension was taken Total
1 to 15 days 3 2 5
16 to 30 days 0 6 6
31 to 60 days 0 2 2
61 to 120 days 0 1 1
121 to 180 days 1 0 1
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 2 0 2
Total 6 11 17
2.7 Requests for translation
Translation Requests Accepted Refused Total
English to French 0 0 0
French to English 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0

PART 3 - Disclosures under subsection 8(2)

Paragraph 8(2)(e) Paragraph 8(2)(m) Total
1 0 1

PART 4 - Requests for correction of personal information and notations

Number
Requests for correction received 0
Requests for correction accepted 0
Requests for refused 0
Notations attached 0

PART 5 - Extensions

5.1 Reasons for extensions and dispositions of requests
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 15(a)(i) Interference with operations 15(a)(ii) Consultation 15(b) Translation or conversion
Section 70 Other
All disclosed 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 15 0 10 0
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 2 0 0 0
Request abandoned 1 0 0 0
Total 18 0 10 0
5.2 Length of extensions
Length of extensions 15(a)(i) Interference with operations 15(a)(ii) Consultation 15(b) Translation or conversion
Section 70 Other
1 to 15 days 1 0 0 0
16 to 30 days 17 0 10 0
Total 18 0 10 0

PART 6 - Consultation received from other institution and organizations

6.1 Consultations received from other government institutions and organizations
Consultations Other government institutions Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period 1 3 0 0
Outstanding from the previous report 0 0 0 0
Total 1 3 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 1 3 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 0 0 0 0
6.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other government institutions
Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 Total
Disclose entirely 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
6.3 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other organizations
Recommendation Number of days required to complete consultation requests
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days 181 to 365 days More than 365 Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exempt entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

PART 7 - Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

Number of days Number of responses received Number of responses received past deadline
1 to 15 0 0
16 to 30 0 0
31 to 60 0 0
61 to 120 0 0
121 to 180 0 0
181 to 365 0 0
More than 356 0 0
Total 0 0

PART 8 - Resources related to the Privacy Act

8.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $116,448
Overtime $37
Goods and Services $147,310
Contracts for privacy impact assessments   $0
Professional services contracts   $134,517
Other   $12,793
Total $263,795
8.2 Human Resources
Resources Dedicated full-time Dedicated part-time Total
Full-time employees 1.74 0.00 1.74
Part-time and casual employees 0.00 0.00 0.00
Regional staff 0.00 0.00 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.64 0.00 0.64
Students 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 2.38 0.00 2.38

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.

Date: October 6, 2009, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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 Position / Titles
Manager ATIP Team Leader ATIP 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 on 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 personal information re: law enforcement, investigations, security and policing services X X -
22.3 To refuse disclosure of personal information re: Public Servants Disclosure Act X X -
23 To refuse disclosure of personal information re: security clearances. X X -
24 To refuse disclose 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 to be held in the National Capital Regional X X -
51(3) To request and be given the opportunity to make representations 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 ATIP: Team Leader, Access to Information and Privacy
X: Authority has been delegated
-: Authority has not been delegated

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