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2015-16 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 2015-16. 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 6,925 employees 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 15.92 full-time equivalents 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 applicants in a timely manner.

Resources

An estimated $895K in salary costs and $63.6K in operating costs were incurred by the ATIP Office to administer the Access to Information Act for the reporting period. These costs do not include resources within each Branch such as the ATIP Advisors, nor any other expenditures incurred by the Branches and program areas to meet the requirements of the Act.

In this reporting period, the operating costs decreased by 38% due to the non-renewal of external resources. Although the operating costs decreased, the ATIP Office was able to process a very high percentage of requests, i.e. 99% in time, and did not carry-forward any late requests to the new reporting period.

Staff Training and Awareness

The ATIP Office provided 12 training sessions to 189 employees in the National Capital Region and in the four Areas during fiscal year 2015-16. 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 addition to the training delivered by the ATIP Office, Branch ATIP Advisors provide awareness sessions.

The CFIA implemented an interactive training program which includes an access to information component for newly hired inspectors, as part of their intensive training program. The program integrates activities tailored to the working environment of inspectors. The program was successfully delivered on four occasions during fiscal year 2015-16.

Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

The CFIA continued to work on process improvements for ATIP in order to provide greater oversight and accountability. The activities related to access to information and privacy are reviewed quarterly by the Senior Management Committee.

As part of Canada's commitment to "Open Government", the ATIP Buy-online was implemented at the CFIA in January 2014. It enables Canadians to make access to information requests online for information held by the Agency. From April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, the Agency received 207 access requests through this system, which represents an increase of 61% from the last reporting period; positive feedback was received from the applicants.

For this reporting period no new policies, guidelines or procedures were implemented. However, the ATIP Office launched a new initiative that will enable the electronic retrieval of records in their native format. This project will reduce paper and improve quality and delivery time.

2) How Requests Were Processed Under the Act

The CFIA received 339 new requests under the Act between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. There were 69 outstanding requests from the previous year, bringing the total to 408 requests. From the 408 requests, 356 were processed during the reporting period and 52 were carried forward to 2016-17. No carry-forward requests were in deemed refusal. It is also important to note that of the 356 requests completed, 44 exceeded 1,000 pages. The ATIP Office maintained throughout the reporting period a very high service standard with 99% of the new requests closed on time in the reporting period.

The following table outlines the cycle of ATI requests at CFIA for the last five fiscal years:
Fiscal Year 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Received 289 405 284 271 339
Completed 329 355 273 358 356
Outstanding from previous FY 135 96 145 156 69
Carried forward 96 145 156 69 52

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

The ATIP Office reviewed a total of 111,346 pages during the fiscal year for requests that were completed pursuant to the Act, of which 67,981 were released.

Consultations

During the reporting period, the CFIA received 77 consultations from other government institutions concerning the release of Agency records. This represents an increase of 16 consultation requests (26%) over last year, in which 61 consultations were received. The Agency completed 76 consultations that resulted in the review of 4,204 pages, an increase of 1,951 pages (87%) over last fiscal year.

Fiscal Year 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Consultations 75 99 106 61 77
Pages Reviewed 7,433 8,218 5,843 2,253 4,204

Completion Times and Extensions

The 356 completed requests in 2015-16 were processed within the following timeframes:

The CFIA was able to close requests within the first 30 days for 58% of requests, which is an increase of 24% in comparison to the last reporting period.

In 174 instances, the CFIA found it necessary to extend the original time limit of 30 calendar days as prescribed in the Act. This constitutes 49% of the requests, in comparison to 72% for the last reporting period. Of these extensions, 116 were required for third-party consultations pursuant to section 27 of the Act, 23 for interference with operations and another 35 for consultations with federal or provincial authorities. The CFIA monitors the performance of responding to requests by reporting quarterly to the senior officials of the Agency.

Disposition of Completed Requests

There were 356 requests completed in 2015-16. The disposition of the requests is as follows:

Exemptions and Exclusions

The CFIA invoked exemptions pursuant to the Act a total of 699 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 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Total 674 431 458 776 669
Section 19 205 170 140 219 204
Section 20 175 148 121 227 211
Section 21 122 55 91 155 113
Other exemptions 172 58 106 175 171

Exclusions were invoked three (3) times during the reporting period for published materials, and none for Confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

Fees

During the reporting period, the CFIA collected a total of $3,810 in fees under the Act, of which $1,705 was collected in application fees and $2,105 in search costs. The Agency waived fees in the amount of $4,500 in cases where search fees were under $25, when the request was for less than 125 pages, or when legislated timeframes were not met. This also includes a waiver/refund of $2,300 for an old request that was abandoned after an interim release.

3) Complaints and Investigations

The CFIA received four (4) complaints from the Office of the Information Commissioner in 2015-16. This represents a decrease of five (5) complaints (56%) over the previous reporting period, in which nine (9) complaints were received. The reasons cited for the new complaints are as follows:

These four (4) complaints are currently under review and have yet to be resolved.

In addition, during fiscal year 2015-16 three (3) complaints dating back to FY 2014-15 were reviewed and subsequently resolved as they were well founded.

4) Court Cases

Two new applications were filed with the Federal Court of Canada and five court cases were closed during the reporting period. The new applications were filed pursuant to section 44 of the Act. Section 44 allows a third party, to whom the head of a government institution must give notice regarding the disclosure of a record, to apply to the Court for a review of the matter.

Appendix A: Statistical Report

Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act

Name of institution: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Reporting Period: 2015/04/01 to 2016/03/31

Part 1 – Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests
Number of Requests
Received during the reporting period 339
Outstanding from previous reporting period 69
Total 408
Closed during reporting period 356
Carried over to next reporting period 52
1.2 Sources of requests
Source Number of Requests
Media 66
Academia 13
Business (private sector) 133
Organization 42
Public 85
Decline to identify 0
Total 339
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
65 3 1 1 0 2 0 72

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 7 36 5 0 0 0 0 48
Disclosed in part 9 70 26 82 8 14 4 213
All exempted 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
No records exist 35 23 1 0 1 0 0 59
Request transferred 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Request abandoned 18 5 3 2 1 4 2 31
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 72 135 35 85 9 14 6 356
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of Requests
13(1)(a) 17
13(1)(b) 15
13(1)(c) 12
13(1)(d) 1
13(1)(e) 0
14 0
14(a) 3
14(b) 2
15(1) 0
15(1) - I.A. Table Note 1 29
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) 1
16(1)(c) 5
16(1)(d) 5
16(2) 0
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 0
16(2)(c) 34
16(3) 1
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 0
17 9
18(a) 0
18(b) 1
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) 204
20(1)(a) 7
20(1)(b) 69
20(1)(b.1) 0
20(1)(c) 96
20(1)(d) 39
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 48
21(1)(b) 45
21(1)(c) 17
21(1)(d) 3
22 0
22.1(1) 1
23 26
24(1) 8
26 0

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) 3
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) 0
69(1)(g) re (a) 0
69(1)(g) re (b) 0
69(1)(g) re (c) 0
69(1)(g) re (d) 0
69(1)(g) re (e) 0
69(1)(g) re (f) 0
69.1(1) 0
2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed 39 9 0
Disclosed in part 121 92 0
Total 160 101 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 6014 4876 48
Disclosed in part 84250 63105 213
All exempted 294 0 2
All excluded 0 0 0
Request abandoned 20788 0 31
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 43 643 3 418 1 36 1 3779 0 0
Disclosed in part 114 3594 62 11953 11 5824 25 35158 1 6576
All exempted 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 25 0 1 0 1 0 3 0 1 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 183 4237 67 12371 13 5860 29 38937 2 6576
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of the fees Legal advice sought Other Total
All disclosed 2 1 0 0 3
Disclosed in part 135 10 0 0 145
All exempted 1 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 8 3 0 1 12
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 146 14 0 1 161
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
13 10 0 3 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 1 2 3
16 to 30 days 0 2 2
31 to 60 days 0 0 0
61 to 120 days 0 2 2
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 1 0 1
More than 365 days 2 3 5
Total 4 9 13
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 2 0 1 1
Disclosed in part 19 0 32 106
All exempted 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 2 0 2 8
Total 23 0 35 116
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 5 0 12 1
31 to 60 days 4 0 12 84
61 to 120 days 7 0 10 25
121 to 180 days 3 0 0 3
181 to 365 days 4 0 1 3
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 23 0 35 116

Part 4 – Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of requests Amount Number of requests Amount
Application 341 $1,705 10 $50
Search 9 $2,105 6 $2,544
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 $1,906
Total 350 $3,810 200 $4,500

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 71 10124 6 133
Outstanding from the previous report 2 54 0 0
Total 73 10178 6 133
Closed during the reporting period 71 4086 5 118
Pending at the end of the reporting period 2 6092 1 15
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 48 8 0 0 0 0 0 56
Disclose in part 8 3 1 0 0 0 0 12
Exempt entirely 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Exclude entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Consult other institution 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 58 12 1 0 0 0 0 71
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 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
Disclose in part 0 0 1 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 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 5

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 0 0 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 0 0 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 0 0 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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Part 7 – Complaints and Investigations

Section 32 Section 35 Section 37 Total
3 1 0 4

Part 8 – Court Action

Section 41 Section 42 Section 44 Total
0 0 2 2

Part 9 – Resources related to the Access to Information Act

9.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $895,037
Overtime $0

Goods and Services

  • Professional services contracts ($0)
  • Other ($63,647)
$63,647
Total $958,684
9.2 Human Resources
Resources Person years dedicated to Access to Information activities
Full-time employees 12.83
Part-time and casual employees 0.00
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 12.83

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: