Publications & Reports
Annual Report to Parliament 2007-2008
The Administration of the Access to Information Act in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces
Table of Contents
- About National Defence and the Canadian Forces
- The Directorate Access to Information and Privacy (DAIP)
- Report on the Access to Information Act
- Appendix A - Statistical Report on the Access to Information Act
- Appendix B - Department of National Defence Ministerial Delegation Order
- Appendix to Designation Order
The Mission of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces
The mission of the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF) is to defend Canada, its interests and values, while contributing to international peace and security.
The Defence Portfolio
In many respects, the Department of National Defence is an organization like other departments of government. It is established by a statute, the National Defence Act which sets out the Minister's responsibilities, including the Minister's responsibility for the Department. The National Defence Act establishes DND and the CF as separate entities operating in close co-operation under the authority of the Minister of National Defence. The Minister of National Defence has specific responsibilities under that Act, and responsibilities for the administration of other statutes, regulations and orders.
The Defence Portfolio comprises the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces and eight distinct portfolio organizations including:
- National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS);
- Canadian Forces Grievance Board (CFGB);
- Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC);
- Office of the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman;
- Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC);
- Office of the Chief Military Judge (CMJ);
- Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner (OCSEC); and
- Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC).
The CF includes the Environmental Commands (Navy, Army and Air Force), and Operational Commands (CANADACOM, CEFCOM, CANSOFCOM, and CANOSCOM) as well as the following support organizations and services:
- A police service, comprising the Military Police and the National Investigation Service, operating under the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal;
- A justice system, administered under the superintendence of the Judge Advocate General;
- Chaplaincy services;
- Extensive communications networks in Canada and abroad;
- Firefighting services;
- Medical and dental services because CF members are excluded from both the Canada Health Act of 1984 and the Public Service Health Care Plan;
- The Canadian Cadet Program and the Junior Canadian Rangers;
- The Canadian Defence Academy;
- The Canadian Forces Grievance Authority;
- The Canadian Forces Housing Agency; and
- The Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency.
Together, the diverse elements of the Defence Portfolio provide the core services and capabilities required to defend Canada and Canadian interests, and form an important constituency within the broader Canadian national security community.
The relationship differs between DND and each of the Portfolio organizations, therefore, the level of service provided to each will vary accordingly. Each organization has varying needs and responsibilities so they must be treated fairly but differently from one another. These reporting arrangements are designed to ensure accountability while maintaining an “arm’s-length” relationship. This difference in associations is not unlike that of Portfolios in other government departments.
Treasury Board uses the Management Accountability Framework to place increased emphasis on Portfolio coordination. The Privy Council Office is also directing government-wide adherence to Portfolio coordination in accordance with the Federal Accountability Act. DND has a Portfolio Governance and Coordination section to address these requirements .
Accountability in DND and the CF is described in detail in Organization and Accountability: Guidance for Members of the Canadian Forces and Employees of the Department of National Defence. Specific accountability for results and associated performance measurements at the organizational level of the Assistant Deputy Ministers and the Environmental Chiefs of Staff are detailed in the Defence Plan On-Line.
The Departmental Organization and Structure
The DND/CF has a unique personnel structure made up of two separate components – one military and one civilian. This table depicts the number of personnel in each component:
|Departmental Personnel Figures by Component as of March 31, 2008|
Primary Reserve force:
|Civilian employees (Indeterminate):||25,966|
|Total Military and Civilian Personnel:||116,009|
The Chain of Command
National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in Ottawa provides broad direction for administration and operations, with specific execution being assigned to the various elements of the Department and the CF located across the country.
The DND/CF Ombudsman reports directly to and is accountable to the Minister of National Defence. His office was established to act as a direct source of information, referral and education to assist individuals to access existing channels of assistance and redress within DND/CF. To ensure the confidentiality of information brought to his attention, the Ombudsman has been given autonomy for Access to Information matters related to his office. Accordingly, a separate annual report will be tabled respecting the administration of the Access to Information Act (ATIA) within the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Canadian Forces Grievance Board, the Military Police Complaints Commission and the Office of the CSE Commissioner are institutions separate and apart from DND. Consequently, these institutions are not accounted for in this Annual Report.
The Organizational Chart
The Purpose of the Access to Information Act
The Access to Information Act was proclaimed on July 1, 1983. The Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents or any person or corporation present in Canada a general right of access to information that is contained in government records. This public right of access to information is balanced against the legitimate need to protect sensitive information and to permit the effective functioning of government while promoting transparency and accountability in government institutions.
The Mission of DAIP
The mission of DAIP is to deliver Access to Information and Privacy Services, professional advice and training within DND and the CF.
The Mandate of DAIP
The mandate of DAIP is to act on behalf of the Minister of National Defence in promoting awareness, enforcing compliance with legislation, regulations, and government policy and to create departmental directions, including standards, in all matters relating to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The Coordinator also acts as spokesperson for the organization in dealings with the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Information and Privacy Commissioners, and other government departments and agencies.
The DAIP authority in this regard extends to all elements of DND/CF – except for the Office of the Ombudsman, the Military Police Complaints Commission, the Office of the CSE Commissioner and the Canadian Forces Grievance Board who are separate institutions under the control of the Minister of National Defence and are responsible for their own Access to Information and Privacy administration.
The Delegation Authority
At DND/CF, a single Coordinator, the Director of DAIP, administers and coordinates both the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act within the organization. For organizational matters, DAIP comes under the authority of the Assistant Deputy Minister Finance and Corporate Services (ADM Fin CS), via the Director General Corporate and Shared Services (DGCSS). DAIP seeks advice on legal, public affairs, and policy matters from other organizations and specialists as required.
In accordance with section 73 of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, a delegation of authority, signed by the Minister of National Defence, designates the person holding the position of Director Access to Information and Privacy and the person(s) holding the position(s) of Deputy Director Access to Information and Privacy to exercise all powers and functions of the Minister as the Head of institution under the Acts. It also designates other specific powers and functions to employees within DAIP. A copy of the Delegation Order may be referred to at Appendix B.
The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) organization within DND/CF operates with a staff of 60
civilians, 2 military personnel and 4 consultants. The DAIP work force is divided into working groups
consisting of an Administration Support Service Group, a Privacy Group, three Access to Information (ATI)
Groups and a Strategic Planning Group that handles all ATIP policies, training and IT needs.
DAIP establishes an annual business plan and sets annual performance objectives, which are monitored monthly.
A description of the classes of institutional records held by DND/CF can be found in the Info Source publication.
The Info Source can be obtained through public and academic libraries, constituency offices of federal Members of Parliament, and on the Internet at http://www.infosource.gc.ca.
A reading room is available to individuals wanting to review DND/CF publications, and other public materials under the control of the institution. Individuals interested in visiting the reading room must phone ahead to make an appointment. The phone number to call is 613-992-9560.
The DND/CF reading room is located at:
Place de Ville, B Tower, 17th Floor
112 Kent Street
DAIP Internet Site
DAIP Internet Site may be viewed at
Requests under the Act
During this reporting period DAIP processed a significant number of Access to Information Act requests. The operational sensitivity of the corresponding records continues to require intense scrutiny and meticulous review at all levels.
In the fiscal year 2007-2008, DND/CF received 1,779 requests under the Act. Out of the 436 requests that were carried over from the previous fiscal year 10 were in “deemed refusal”.
The 1,779 requests represent a considerable caseload not just in numbers, but also in terms of the scope, complexity, sensitivity and volume of documents. In spite of the large volume, the Department was able to complete the processing of 1,541 requests. Six hundred and seventy four requests were carried forward to 2008-2009 of which 220 were in “deemed refusal”.
At 716, the largest number of the requests came from the media. The substance of the requests covered the entire range of DND/CF records. Requests for information were often related to military operations in Afghanistan, detainees, and contracts for various equipment and services. As well, information was requested on general management policies and directives.
Responses to formal ATI requests in 2007-2008 involved a page-by-page review of 164,056 pages of which 75,148 were released in whole or in part. Two requesters chose to examine the original records while all other individuals selected to receive their own copies.
During this period, DND/CF also received 411 consultations from other departments for ATI requests involving DND/CF records or issues, an increase of 12% over the previous year. The consultations involved the review of 41,969 pages.
In addition, 891 informal requests for information involving the review of 72,969 pages were processed by DAIP in support of DND/CF broader objective of providing Canadians with relevant information on an informal and timely basis. This number does not include numerous e-mails or telephone calls from potential applicants who were redirected to other informal routes in order to obtain the information.
DAIP also acted as a resource for DND/CF officials and offered advice and guidance on the provisions of the legislation. DAIP was consulted on issues relating to a range of matters including surveys, records management, Privacy Impact Assessments, pay, privacy caveats, draft policies and the review of documents from internal DND/CF groups.
Disposition of Completed Requests
There were 1,541 requests completed in 2007–2008. The disposition of the completed requests was as follows:
- 276 fully disclosed;
- 693 partially disclosed;
- 32 exempted in entirety;
- 34 excluded in entirety;
- 14 transferred to another institution;
- 178 abandoned by applicants;
- 5 were treated informally; and
- 309 could not be processed.
Completion Time and Extensions
The 1,541 requests in 2007–2008 were completed in the following timeframes:
- 585 within 30 days or less (39%);
- 237 within 31 to 60 days (15%);
- 328 within 61 to 120 days (21%); and
- 391 took 121 days or over (25%).
In 974 instances, DAIP found it necessary to seek an extension beyond the 30-day prescribed time limit, to search through a large volume of records, or to consult other government institutions and/or third parties.
DAIP invoked exemptions under the Act a total of 1,892 times, as follows:
- 101 under section 13 (Information obtained in confidence);
- 7 under section 14 (Federal–provincial affairs);
- 358 under subsection 15(1) (International affairs and defence);
- 92 under section 16 (Law enforcement and investigations);
- 4 under section 17 (Safety of individuals);
- 28 under section 18 (Economic interests of Canada);
- 509 under subsection 19(1) (Personal information);
- 191 under section 20 (Third party information);
- 449 under section 21 (Advice, etc.);
- 6 under section 22 (Testing procedures, tests and audits);
- 105 under section 23 (Solicitor-client privilege);
- 39 under section 24 (Statutory prohibitions against disclosure); and
- 3 under section 26 (Refusal of access where information to be published).
Exclusions under sections 68 and 69 were invoked a total of 148 times.
Complaints and Investigations
A total of 216 complaints were filed with the Office of Information Commissioner in 2007–2008. The reasons for the complaints were as follows:
- 77 Extension;
- 49 Delay;
- 29 Refusal/Exemption;
- 28 Refusal/General;
- 15 Missing Information;
- 12 Miscellaneous;
- 4 Fees; and
- 2 Refusal/Exclusion (section 69)
During the same time period, 99 complaint investigations were completed. The breakdown of the conclusions is as follows:
- 14 Discontinued;
- 27 Not substantiated;
- 1 Not well-founded; and
- 57 Resolved.
Federal Court Cases
On 2005, an Application for Judicial Review was filed in the Federal Court to examine the decision taken by National Defence to deny access to records held in the office of the Minister of National Defence. This court case, referenced as T-210-05, is still on going.
There were no new court cases for 2007-2008.
During the reporting period, the total fees collected amounted to $8,845 for application fees and $4,761.50 for reproduction, searching and preparation costs.
During 2007–2008, an estimated $3,657,031 in salary costs and $134,759 in administrative costs were incurred by DAIP to administer the Access to Information Act. These costs do not include the resources expended by the program areas of DND/CF to meet the requirements of the Act.
Policies and Procedures Implemented or Revised
A standardized set of ATI Policy and Procedure Guidelines was finalised and implemented in the month of March 2008. DAIP also created Operational Security Guidelines for distribution throughout the department. The guidelines contain detailed instructions on the application of section 15 to documents pertaining to Canadian Forces operations. The guidelines were created in response to the significant volume of requests pertaining to CF operations, particularly in Afghanistan, and the resultant need for clear guidance relating to the responsibilities of those organizations receiving such requests.
Summary of Significant Changes to Operations or Procedures
In response to the unabated high volume of requests DAIP has created a dedicated Tasking Team to alleviate the caseload of the ATI Analysts. The Tasking Team took over many of the administrative tasks that were once performed by the analysts. Some of the duties include; communicating with the requester to clarify the requests when necessary, identifying the organization(s) most likely to hold the records, and obtaining the records and recommendations from the Offices of Primary Interest.
These changes have freed the analysts who can now devote more time to the actual review of the records and accelerate the completion of the requests.
Changes implemented as a result of issues raised by the Information Commissioner
In response to the Information Commissioner’s review of DND and recommendations, the Department has acquired additional resources to handle the high volume of requests. Nonetheless, despite the recognized need for other human resources, DAIP’s current available office space has precluded adding more personnel as the Directorate is at maximum capacity and it cannot house any additional employees. In an effort to achieve ideal compliance, National Defence is actively pursuing the acquisition of supplementary office space to accommodate further expansion of its ATI personnel.
Changes implemented as a results of concerns by the Auditor General and others
No issues were raised by the Auditor General or others.
During 2007–2008, DAIP continued to provide on a regular basis information sessions on the processing of privacy and access to information requests to DND/CF employees. In this reporting period a total of 71 training sessions were given and 1,402 participants were familiarized with the Act and given a better understanding of their obligations and of the process within DND/CF. Customized sessions were also provided to specialized groups. DAIP continues to fund training sessions outside of the National Capital Region. The training sessions are intrinsic to achieving increased compliance with both the Access to Information and Privacy legislation. On-site training sessions were provided to the DAIP staff members. Two officers from the Privy Council Office delivered information sessions on the application of section 69 of the Act, legal staff provided two training sessions on section 23 of the Act. DAIP staff also received updated information security and physical security training.
ATIP employees continue to sensitize and guide third parties and requesters on the requirements of both pieces of legislation through dialogue as necessary.