Language selection

Search

2014-15 Annual Report on the Access to Information Act

Table of Contents

1) Introduction

The Access to Information Act (hereafter referred to as the Act) gives Canadian citizens, as well as people and corporations present in Canada, the right to access records under the control of federal government institutions with limited and specific exceptions. The Act is intended to complement existing procedures for access to government information and not to limit, in any way, information that is normally available to the public.

Section 72 of the Act requires the heads of federal government institutions to submit a report to Parliament on their institution's administration of the Act for each fiscal year. This report, along with all Access to Information annual reports, is tabled in Parliament in accordance with section 72 of the Act and describes how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administered the Act for fiscal year 2014-15. It 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. As part of its commitment to openness and transparency, the CFIA recognizes the right to access information in government records and is making every reasonable effort to help anyone making an access to information request.

About the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is Canada's largest science-based regulatory agency. It has over 6,700 employees (as of March 2015) working across Canada in the National Capital Region (NCR) and 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.

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

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

The CFIA is responsible for administering and enforcing 14 federal statutes and 34 regulations that govern the safety and labelling of food sold in Canada and that support a sustainable plant and animal resource base. In November 2012, the Safe Food for Canadians Act received Royal Assent. This new legislation consolidates and modernizes existing laws and makes them simpler and more consistent. For Canadians, this means safer food and better protection from risks to food safety as it will improve oversight, streamline and strengthen legislative authorities, and enhance international market opportunities for Canadian industry.

The CFIA shares many areas of responsibility with other federal departments and agencies, provincial, territorial and municipal authorities, and other stakeholders. Within this 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, agri-food, aquaculture and fishery products. The Agency's activities include: verifying the compliance of imported products; registering and inspecting establishments; testing food, animals and plants, and their related products; and approving the use of many agricultural inputs. The Agency also provides scientific advice, develops new technologies, provides testing services, and conducts regulatory research.

The CFIA's responsibilities and strategic outcomes are illustrated in its Program Alignment Architecture, which reflects how the Agency plans to allocate and manage its resources to achieve the corresponding expected results. The CFIA is led by its President who reports to the Minister of Health. The Agency is structured so that all Branch Heads have specific accountabilities that contribute to achieving each of the CFIA's strategic outcomes.

Administration of the Act

Administration of the Act is the primary responsibility of the ATIP Office, which is part of the Integrity and Redress Secretariat. The ATIP Office processes all requests for information and coordinates all activities related to the Act, along with associated regulations, directives and guidelines. The ATIP Office is headed by a Director who reports to the Chief Redress Officer. During the reporting period, there were 13.2 full-time or part-time employees working in the ATIP Office.

In addition to the ATIP Office resources, there are also dedicated ATIP Advisor positions in the core Branches who report directly to their Branch Head on Branch-related ATIP issues and activities. These Branch Advisors work with the ATIP Office to ensure an efficient and effective process to respond to the applicant in a timely manner.

Resources

An estimated $890.4K in salary costs and $668.8K in operating costs were incurred by the ATIP Office to administer the Act for the reporting period. These costs do not include resources within each Branch such as the Branch ATIP Advisors, nor any other expenditures incurred by the Branches and program areas to meet the requirements of the Act. However, these costs include an investment in January 2014 in the hiring of six external access to information experts to address a backlog of access to information requests. From April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 the experts closed 73 requests of which 54 were late requests and helped eliminate most of the backlog.

Staff Training and Awareness

The ATIP Office provided 23 training sessions to 241 employees in the National Capital Region and in the four Areas during fiscal year 2014-15. The aim of the training sessions was to increase awareness of the Act, clarify requirements under the Act, and highlight processes that facilitate the CFIA in meeting its obligations.

In December 2013, the CFIA implemented a new interactive pilot program which includes an access to information component for newly hired inspectors, as part of their intensive training program. The pilot was designed to integrate activities tailored to the working environment of inspectors. The pilot was successfully delivered on three occasions during fiscal year 2014-15 and is now fully integrated into the intensive training program.

Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

The CFIA continued to work on process improvements for ATIP in order to provide greater oversight and accountability. The Outstanding ATIP Task Process was implemented at the end of last fiscal year to establish greater accountability with respect to the timely completion of search and retrieval tasks. In addition, in March 2014 the ATIP Office undertook an internal business process review in order to identify opportunities to gain efficiencies and improve its client services. The investment in this project has proven to be beneficial as the Agency as reduced the amount of time required to complete search and retrieval tasks.

As part of Canada's commitment to "Open Government", the federal government launched a new pilot project in early 2013 which enables Canadians to request internal documents under the Access to Information Act via the internet. This initiative provides the public with a convenient way to request information more quickly and easily, while simplifying the application process. The ATIP Buy-online was implemented at the CFIA in January 2014 as part of the third wave. It enables Canadians to make access to information requests online for information held by the Agency. From April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, the Agency received 140 access requests through this system; positive feedback was received from the applicants.

2) How Requests Were Processed Under the Act

The CFIA received 271 new requests under the Act between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. There were 156 outstanding requests from the previous year, bringing the total to 427 requests. This led to delays in the release of requested information. From the 427 requests, 358 were processed during the reporting period and 69 were carried forward to 2015-16. It is also important to note that of the 358 requests completed, 63 exceeded 1,000 pages.

The following table outlines the cycle of ATI requests at CFIA for the last five fiscal years:
Fiscal Year 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Received 351 289 405 284 271
Completed 424 329 355 273 358
Outstanding from previous FY 208 135 95 145 156
Carried forward 135 96 145 156 69

The following represents a breakdown of the sources of requests received during the fiscal year:

The ATIP Office reviewed a total of 102,729 pages during the fiscal year for requests that were completed pursuant to the Act, of which 66,109 were released.

Consultations

During the reporting period, the CFIA received 61 consultations from other government institutions concerning the release of Agency records. This represents a decrease of 45 consultation requests (42%) over last year, in which 106 consultations were received. The Agency completed 62 consultations that resulted in the review of 2,253 pages, a decrease of 3,590 pages (61%) over last fiscal year.

Fiscal Year 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Consultations 77 75 99 106 61
Pages Reviewed 3,566 7,433 8,218 5,843 2,253

Completion Times and Extensions

The 358 completed requests in 2014-15 were processed within the following timeframes:

In 257 instances, the CFIA found it necessary to extend the original time limit of 30 calendar days as prescribed in the Act. Of these extensions, 137 were required for third-party consultations pursuant to section 27 of the Act, 57 for interference with operations and another 63 for consultations with federal or provincial authorities.

Disposition of Completed Requests

There were 358 requests completed in 2014-15. The disposition of the requests is as follows:

Exemptions and Exclusions

The CFIA invoked exemptions pursuant to the Act a total of 776 times. The exemptions were invoked as follows:

The following table outlines the use of exemptions invoked by CFIA over the last five fiscal years. It shows the total number of exemptions and highlights the frequency of use of the sections used most frequently by CFIA.

Fiscal Year 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Total 654 674 431 458 776
Section 19 237 205 170 140 219
Section 20 180 175 148 121 227
Section 21 96 122 55 91 155

Exclusions were invoked 12 times during the reporting period for published materials or Confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

Fees

During the reporting period, the CFIA collected a total of $6,956 in fees under the Act, of which $1,665 was collected in application fees and $5,291 in search costs. The Agency waived fees in the amount of $5,076 in cases where search fees were under $25, when the request was for less than 125 pages, or when legislated timeframes were not met.

3) Complaints and Investigations

The CFIA received 9 complaints from the Office of the Information Commissioner in 2014-15. This represents a decrease of 2 complaints (18%) over the previous reporting period, in which 11 complaints were received. The reasons cited for the new complaints are as follows:

During fiscal year 2014-15, 8 complaints were addressed and the conclusions are as follows:

4) Court Cases

Three new applications were filed with the Federal Court of Canada and three court cases were closed during the reporting period. The new applications were filed pursuant to section 44 of the Act.

Appendix A: Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Reporting Period: 2014/04/01 to 2015/03/31

Part 1 – Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests
Number of Requests
Received during the reporting period 271
Outstanding from previous reporting period 156
Total 427
Closed during reporting period 358
Carried over to next reporting period 69
1.2 Sources of requests
Source Number of Requests
Media 48
Academia 4
Business (private sector) 104
Organization 25
Public 90
Decline to identify 0
Total 271
1.3 Informal 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 days Total
27 5 5 5 2 2 10 56

Note: All requests previously recorded as "treated informally" will now be accounted for in this section only.

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 2 23 4 10 0 2 2 43
Disclosed in part 6 35 25 71 22 32 37 228
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1
No records exist 10 10 4 0 1 0 0 25
Request transferred 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Request abandoned 28 6 2 1 0 4 17 58
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 49 74 35 83 23 38 56 358
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of Requests
13(1)(a) 16
13(1)(b) 16
13(1)(c) 7
13(1)(d) 2
13(1)(e) 0
14 0
14(a) 12
14(b) 2
15(1) 0
15(1) - I.A. Table Note 1 34
15(1) - Def. Table Note 2 0
15(1) - S.A. Table Note 3 0
16(1)(a)(i) 0
16(1)(a)(ii) 0
16(1)(a)(iii) 0
16(1)(b) 0
16(1)(c) 0
16(1)(d) 0
16(2) 0
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 1
16(2)(c) 38
16(3) 0
16.1(1)(a) 0
16.1(1)(b) 0
16.1(1)(c) 0
16.1(1)(d) 0
16.2(1) 0
16.3 0
16.4(1)(a) 0
16.4(1)(b) 0
16.5 1
17 5
18(a) 1
18(b) 0
18(c) 0
18(d) 1
18.1(1)(a) 0
18.1(1)(b) 0
18.1(1)(c) 0
18.1(1)(d) 0
19(1) 219
20(1)(a) 10
20(1)(b) 60
20(1)(b.1) 0
20(1)(c) 106
20(1)(d) 51
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 63
21(1)(b) 73
21(1)(c) 14
21(1)(d) 5
22 2
22.1(1) 0
23 34
24(1) 2
26 1

Table Notes

Table Note 1

I.A.: International Affairs

Return to table note 1  referrer

Table Note 2

Def.: Defence of Canada

Return to table note 2  referrer

Table Note 3

S.A.: Subversive Activities

Return to table note 3  referrer

2.3 Exclusions
Section Number of Requests
68(a) 5
68(b) 0
68(c) 0
68.1 0
68.2(a) 0
68.2(b) 0
69(1) 0
69(1)(a) 0
69(1)(b) 0
69(1)(c) 0
69(1)(d) 0
69(1)(e) 0
69(1)(f) 1
69(1)(g) re (a) 2
69(1)(g) re (b) 0
69(1)(g) re (c) 0
69(1)(g) re (d) 0
69(1)(g) re (e) 2
69(1)(g) re (f) 2
69.1(1) 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 29 13 0
Disclosed in part 147 79 1
Total 176 92 1
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 8612 8268 43
Disclosed in part 81973 57841 228
All exempted 0 0 0
All excluded 8 0 1
Request abandoned 12136 0 58
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0
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
Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed
All disclosed 32 446 8 1530 1 569 2 5723 0 0
Disclosed in part 114 3606 73 14361 21 11596 19 24629 1 3649
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 31 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 192 4052 85 15891 26 12165 26 30352 1 3649
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of the fees Legal advice sought Other Total
All disclosed 12 7 0 0 19
Disclosed in part 160 24 0 1 185
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 14 17 0 0 31
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 186 48 0 1 235
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
115 101 7 6 1
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 5 8 13
16 to 30 days 0 1 1
31 to 60 days 1 10 11
61 to 120 days 2 11 13
121 to 180 days 1 7 8
181 to 365 days 7 22 29
More than 365 days 12 28 40
Total 28 87 115
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 – Extensions

3.1 Reasons for extensions and disposition of requests
Disposition of requests where an extension was taken 9(1)(a) Interference with operations 9(1)(b) Consultation 9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69 Other
All disclosed 3 0 4 8
Disclosed in part 40 1 49 120
All exempted 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 1 0 0
No records exist 1 0 0 0
Request abandoned 13 0 8 9
Total 57 2 61 137
3.2 Length of extensions
Length of extensions 9(1)(a) Interference with operations 9(1)(b) Consultation 9(1)(c) Third party notice
Section 69 Other
30 days or less 25 0 12 0
31 to 60 days 12 0 13 110
61 to 120 days 9 1 26 26
121 to 180 days 6 1 8 1
181 to 365 days 5 0 2 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 57 2 61 137

Part 4 – Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of requests Amount Number of requests Amount
Application 333 $1,665 24 $120
Search 24 $5,291 22 $1,585
Production 0 $0 0 $0
Programming 0 $0 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0 0 $0
Reproduction 0 $0 184 $3,371
Total 357 $6,956 230 $5,076

Part 5 – Consultations received from other institutions and organizations

5.1 Consultations received from other Government of Canada institutions and organizations
Consultations Other Government of Canada institutions Number of pages to review Other organizations Number of pages to review
Received during reporting period 60 1787 1 10
Outstanding from the previous report 2 289 1 221
Total 62 2076 2 231
Closed during the reporting period 60 2022 2 231
Pending at the end of the reporting period 2 54 0 0
5.2 Recommendations and completion time for consultations received from other Government of Canada 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 30 9 1 0 0 0 0 40
Disclose in part 6 12 2 0 0 0 0 20
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 36 21 3 0 0 0 0 60
5.3 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 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Disclose in part 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
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 1 0 0 0 0 2

Part 6 – Completion time of consultations on Cabinet confidences

6.1 Requests with Legal Services
Number of days Fewer than 100 pages processed 101-500 pages processed 501-1000 pages processed 1001-5000 pages processed More than 5000 pages processed
Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed
1 to 15 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6.2 Requests with Privy Council Office
Number of days Fewer than 100 pages processed 101-500 pages processed 501-1000 pages processed 1001-5000 pages processed More than 5000 pages processed
Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed Number of requests Pages dis- closed
1 to 15 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 to 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
61 to 120 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
121 to 180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
181 to 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More than 365 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Part 7 – Complaints and Investigations

Section 32 Section 35 Section 37 Total
9 0 0 9

Part 8 – Court Action

Section 41 Section 42 Section 44 Total
0 0 3 3

Part 9 – Resources related to the Access to Information Act

9.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $874,263
Overtime $16,110

Goods and Services
Professional services contracts ($599,365)
Other ($69,412)

$668,777
Total $1,559,150
9.2 Human Resources
Resources Person years dedicated to Access to Information activities
Full-time employees 10.99
Part-time and casual employees 0.75
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 2.52
Students 0.00
Total 14.26

Appendix B: Delegation Order

Access to Information Act and Privacy Act Delegation Orders

The President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency pursuant to section 73 of the Access to Information Act, and section 73 of the Privacy Act, hereby designates the persons holding the positions set out in the schedule hereto, or the persons occupying on an acting basis those positions, to exercise the powers, duties and functions of the President as the head of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, under the provisions of the Act and related regulations set out in the schedule opposite each position. This designation replaces all previous delegation orders.

Date: March 5, 2014, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Delegation Schedule

Position/Titles

Schedule

Access to Information Act and Regulations

Schedule

Privacy Act and Regulations

Executive Vice-President Full authority Full authority
Chief Redress Officer, Integrity and Redress Secretariat (IRS) Full authority Full authority
Director, Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP), IRS Full authority Full authority
Manager, ATIP, IRS Full authority Full authority
Team Leader, ATIP, IRS Full authority Full authority
Senior Analyst and Analyst, ATIP, IRS

Sections of the Access to Information Act:

4(2.1), 7, 9, 11(2), 11(3), 11(4), 11(5), 27(1), 27(4), 28(1)(b), 33 and 35(2)(b).

Sections of the Access to Information Regulations:
7(2) and 7(3)

Sections of the Privacy Act:

8(4), 15 and 33(2)

Date modified: