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2017-18 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 Actand describes how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administered the Act for fiscal year 2017 to 2018. 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 one of Canada's largest science-based regulatory agencies. It has over 6,811 employees working across Canada in five operational Areas including the National Capital Region (NCR) Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and West. The CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food safety, animal and plant health, which enhances Canada's environment, economy, and the health and well-being of Canada's people.

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

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 37 regulations that govern the safety and labelling of food sold in Canada and 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 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 allocates and manages its resources to achieve the corresponding expected results. The CFIA is led by its President who reports to the Minister of Health.

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 13.76 full-time equivalents and 1.42 persons (consultants) dedicated to the ATIP Office.

In addition to the ATIP Office resources, there are also dedicated ATIP Advisor positions in the core Branches who report 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 $856K in salary costs and $296K 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.

Staff training and awareness

The ATIP Office provided 26 training sessions to 393 employees in the five operational Areas during fiscal year 2017 to 2018. 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 provided awareness sessions. Finally, open-mic sessions were held to deploy the ATIP Paperless initiative and respond to employees' questions and concerns about the changes.

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. Adherence of Canadians to Buy-online services continues to increase. From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 the Agency received 240 access requests through this system.

For this reporting period, the ATIP Office launched a new initiative, ATIP Paperless that enables the electronic retrieval of records in their native digital format. This initiative has streamlined the retrieval process, reduced the use of paper, and improved quality and delivery time for retrieval of records within the Agency. The eRetrieval pilot project, a component of the ATIP Paperless initiative, has been recognized for an award of excellence in ATIP services by the Conference Board's Council of Chief Information Officers of Canada.

2) How requests were processed under the Act

The CFIA received 387 new requests under the Act between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018. There were 67 outstanding requests from the previous year, bringing the total to 454 requests. From the 454 requests, 385 were processed during the reporting period and 69 were carried forward to 2018 to 2019. It is also important to note that of the 385 requests completed, 46 exceeded 1,000 pages with one request over 13,360 pages.

The ATIP Office reviewed a total of 148,743 pages during the fiscal year for requests that were completed pursuant to the Act, of which 81,040 were released. This corresponds to a 55 % increase in the number of page reviewed from last reporting period.

The ATIP Office maintained throughout the reporting period a very high service standard with 96 % of the requests closed on time, increasing the number of closed requests by 21 % from last reporting period.

The following table outlines the cycle of ATI requests at CFIA for the last five fiscal years:
Fiscal Year 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Received 284 271 339 334 387
Completed 273 358 356 319 385
Outstanding from previous FY 145 156 69 52 67
Carried forward 156 69 52 67 69

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

Consultations

During the reporting period, the CFIA received 105 consultations from other government institutions concerning the release of Agency records. This represents an increase of 22 consultation requests (21 %) over last year, in which 83 consultations were received. The Agency completed 107 consultations that resulted in the review of 4,891 pages.

Fiscal Year 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Consultations 106 61 77 83 105
Pages Reviewed 5,843 2,253 4,204 9,147 4,891

Completion times and extensions

The 385 completed requests in 2017 to 2018 were processed within the following timeframes:

The CFIA was able to close 58 % of requests within the first 30 days; this is very similar to the last reporting period.

In 206 instances, the CFIA found it necessary to extend the original time limit of 30 calendar days as prescribed in the Act. This constitutes 53 % of the requests, in comparison to 44 % for the last reporting period. Of these extensions, 93 were required for third-party consultations pursuant to section 27 of the Act, 59 for interference with operations and another 54 for consultations with federal or provincial authorities. The CFIA monitors performance through quarterly reports to senior Agency officials.

Disposition of completed requests

There were 385 requests completed in 2017 to 2018. The disposition of the requests is as follows:

Exemptions and exclusions

The CFIA invoked exemptions pursuant to the Act a total of 801 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 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Total 458 776 699 640 801
Section 19 140 219 204 191 198
Section 20 121 227 211 231 295
Section 21 91 155 113 98 145
Other exemptions 106 175 171 120 163

No exclusions were invoked during the reporting period for published materials, and 11 were invoked for Confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

Fees

During the reporting period, the CFIA collected a total of $1,845 in fees under the Act, which were all for application fees. The Agency waived fees in the amount of $680.00 when the request was for less than 125 pages, or when it was disclosed electronically.

3) Complaints and investigations

The CFIA received 10 complaints from the Office of the Information Commissioner in 2017 to 2018. This represents a decrease of four (4) complaints (28 %) over the previous reporting period, in which 14 complaints were received. The reasons cited for the new complaints are as follows:

Between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, 8 complaints were resolved, including complaints carried forward from previous years. Of the eight (8) complaints resolved, two (2) were discontinued, two (2) were resolved and four (4) were well founded.

4) Court cases

Three (3) new applications were filed with the Federal Court of Canada and no court case was 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: 2017/04/01 to 2018/03/31

Part 1 – Requests under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of Requests
Number of Requests
Received during the reporting period 387
Outstanding from previous reporting period 67
Total 454
Closed during reporting period 385
Carried over to next reporting period 69
1.2 Sources of requests
Source Number of Requests
Media 46
Academia 8
Business (private sector) 174
Organization 31
Public 128
Decline to identify 0
Total 387
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
88 26 14 13 0 0 0 141

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 3 23 6 2 0 0 0 34
Disclosed in part 8 48 28 79 25 13 2 203
All exempted 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
No records exist 88 21 3 0 0 0 0 112
Request transferred 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Request abandoned 23 4 2 0 1 1 1 32
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 124 97 30 81 26 14 3 385
2.2 Exemptions
Section Number of Requests
13(1)(a)

17

13(1)(b)

3

13(1)(c)

14

13(1)(d)

3

13(1)(e)

0

14

0

14(a)

6

14(b)

2

15(1)

21

15(1) - I.A.Table Note 1

2

15(1) - Def.Table Note 2

0

15(1) - S.A.Table Note 3

0

16(1)(a)(i)

1

16(1)(a)(ii)

0

16(1)(a)(iii)

0

16(1)(b)

0

16(1)(c)

11

16(1)(d)

0

16(2)

0

16(2)(a)

0

16(2)(b)

1

16(2)(c)

35

16(3)

0

16.1(1)(a)

0

16.1(1)(b)

0

16.1(1)(c)

1

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

11

18(a)

3

18(b)

2

18(c)

0

18(d)

0

18.1(1)(a)

0

18.1(1)(b)

0

18.1(1)(c)

0

18.1(1)(d)

0

19(1)

198

20(1)(a)

23

20(1)(b)

95

20(1)(b.1)

0

20(1)(c)

101

20(1)(d)

76

20.1

0

20.2

0

20.4

0

21(1)(a)

56

21(1)(b)

64

21(1)(c)

19

21(1)(d)

6

22

0

22.1(1)

1

23

23

24(1)

5

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)

0

68(b)

0

68(c)

0

68.1

0

68.2(a)

0

68.2(b)

0

69(1)

2

69(1)(a)

1

69(1)(b)

0

69(1)(c)

0

69(1)(d)

1

69(1)(e)

1

69(1)(f)

2

69(1)(g) re (a)

1

69(1)(g) re (b)

0

69(1)(g) re (c)

1

69(1)(g) re (d)

0

69(1)(g) re (e)

0

69(1)(g) re (f)

2

69.1(1)

0

2.4 Format of information released
Disposition Paper Electronic Other formats
All disclosed

10

24

0

Disclosed in part

51

152

0

Total

61

176

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 9741 9560 34
Disclosed in part 118432 71480 203
All exempted 199 0 1
All excluded 30 0 1
Request abandoned 17589 0 32
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 22 296 7 1691 1 582 4 6994 0 0
Disclosed in part 85 2377 56 10997 24 11612 35 41631 3 4863
All exempted 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All excluded 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 27 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 1 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 135 2673 66 12688 25 12194 41 48622 4 4863
2.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation required Assessment of the fees Legal advice sought Other Total
All disclosed 3 0 0 0 3
Disclosed in part 129 1 0 4 134
All exempted 1 0 0 1 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 4 0 0 0 4
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 137 1 0 4 142
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
16 11 3 2 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 2 1 3
16 to 30 days 1 3 4
31 to 60 days 0 1 1
61 to 120 days 0 2 2
121 to 180 days 0 4 4
181 to 365 days 0 1 1
More than 365 days 0 1 1
Total 3 13 16
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 2
Disclosed in part 53 1 48 80
All exempted 0 0 0 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 1 0 1 0
Request abandoned 3 0 3 1
Total 59 1 53 93
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 21 0 4 1
31 to 60 days 16 1 17 78
61 to 120 days 14 0 25 14
121 to 180 days 4 0 6 0
181 to 365 days 4 0 1 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 59 1 53 93

Part 4 – Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of requests Amount Number of requests Amount
Application 369 $1,845 14 $70
Search 0 $0 1 $0
Production 0 $0 0 $0
Programming 0 $0 0 $0
Preparation 0 $0 0 $0
Alternative format 0 $0 0 $0
Reproduction 0 $0 117 $610
Total 369 $1,845 131 $680

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

99

4641

6

195

Outstanding from the previous report

6

799

0

0

Total

105

5440

6

195

Closed during the reporting period

101

4696

6

195

Pending at the end of the reporting period

4

744

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 49 40 0 1 0 0 0 90
Disclose in part 1 7 1 2 0 0 0 11
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 450 47 1 3 0 0 0 101
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 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
Disclose in part 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
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 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 6

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 0 0 0 0 0 1 11 0 0
16 to 30 1 10 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 2 10 0 0 0 0 1 11 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
10 0 0 10

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 $848,462
Overtime $7,545

Goods and Services
Professional services contracts ($234,075)
Other ($61,844)

$295,919
Total $1,151,926
9.2 Human Resources
Resources Person years dedicated to Access to Information activities
Full-time employees 12.30
Part-time and casual employees 0.16
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 1.30
Students 0.00
Total 13.76

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: May 15, 2017, 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: