Publications and Reports
Annual Report to Parliament 2006-2007
The Administration of the Access to Information Act and Privacy 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
- Report on the Privacy Act
Annex A - Report on the Access to Information Act
Annex B - Report on the Privacy Act
Annex C - Department of National Defence Ministerial Delegation Order
i. 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.
ii. The Defence Portfolio
The Defence mission is carried out by DND, the CF and several related organizations and agencies, including the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), and Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC).
As well as the Environmental Commands (that is, the Navy, Army, and Air Force), the CF includes the Operational Commands (CANADACOM, CEFCOM, CANSOFCOM, and CANOSCOM) and 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.
Defence also includes the following organizations that report directly to the Minister of National Defence:
- The Office of the Judge Advocate General (previously cited in “support organizations” above);
- The Office of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman;
- The National Search and Rescue Secretariat; and
- The Office of the CSE Commissioner.
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 Canadian Forces Grievance Board and the Military Police Complaints Commission report to the Minister of National Defence although they are not part of the Department of National Defence. This reporting arrangement and organizational status are designed to ensure accountability while maintaining an ‘arm’s-length’ relationship.
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.
iii. 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, 2006|
Primary Reserve force:
|Civilian employees (Indeterminate):||24,400|
|Total Military and Civilian Personnel:||120,718|
iv. 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 ATIP matters related to his office. Accordingly, a separate annual report will be tabled respecting the administration of the ATIA and PA within the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Canadian Forces Grievance Board and the Military Police Complaints Commission are institutions separate and apart from the DND and are recognized as such in the corresponding schedules to both the ATIA and the PA. Consequently, neither of these institutions is accounted for in this Annual Report.
v. Organizational Chart
i. The Mission
The mission of DAIP is to deliver Access to Information and Privacy Services, professional advice and training within DND and the CF.
ii. The Mandate
The mandate of DAIP is to act on behalf of the Minister of National Defence in enforcing compliance with legislation, regulations, and government policy and to create departmental directions, including standards, in all matters relating to the ATIA and the PA. DAIP authority in this regard extends to all elements of DND/CF – except for the Office of the Ombudsman, the Military Police Complaints Commission, 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.
iii. 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 ATIA and the PA, 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.
iv. DAIP Organization and the provision of ATIP Training
The ATIP organization within DND/CF operates with a staff of 58 civilians and 3 military personnel. The DAIP team working structure has been very successful however, due to the substantial increase (+60%) in the number of requests, the internal process is currently being reviewed to ensure maximum effectiveness of available resources.
During 2005–2006, DAIP continued to provide training sessions for employees on a regular basis. A total of 42 training sessions were given and 840 participants were familiarized with the Acts 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 the Access to Information and Privacy laws.
The ATIP advisory committee continues to meet at National Defence Headquarters. This committee provides Level One organizations with direct representation by senior management from DAIP. It also provides the Director with the ability to determine, through suggestions or complaints, issues that may require change or revision, or that will assist in the implementation of the ATIP process within DND.
DAIP is continuing with a strategic planning model in which performance objectives have been identified for each section of the directorate and realistic time frames have been set for the implementation of each by stages.
During this reporting period, DAIP has been adversely affected by the significant increase in Access to Information Act requests. In addition, the complexity and sensitivity of the corresponding records continues to require intense scrutiny and meticulous review at all levels. All of these factors have inhibited DAIP ability to respond within the legislated time limit.
v. Information Holdings
A description of the classes of institutional records held by DND/CF can be found in the 2006–2007 publications: 1) Info Source – Sources of Federal Government Information and 2) Sources of Federal Employee Information.
The Info Source can be obtained through public and academic libraries, constituency offices of federal Members of Parliament, and on the Internet at www.infosource.gc.ca.
vi. Reading Room
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 reading room is located at:
Place de Ville, B tower, 17th Floor
112 Kent Street
vii. DAIP Internet Site
DAIP Internet Site may be viewed at
i. Requests under the Act
During the reporting period, April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007 DND/CF received a total of 1,808 new requests under the Access to Information Act and carried over 225 from 2005–2006. This represents an increase of 571 requests (+60%) over 2005-2006 in which a total of 1,131 requests were received. Of these 1,808 new requests, 57 (3%) were either transferred or re‑directed to other federal institutions. A total of 1751 requests were for DND records.
Media was the largest access client group for DND/CF records. During the 2006‑2007 reporting period, 758 (42%) of the 1,808 requests were received from this group, however both business and private citizen applications also continued in significant numbers.
The substance of the requests covered the entire range of DND/CF records. For example, 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, such as contracting, travel, classification standards, and employee benefits, as well as specific requests dealing with travel expense claims of senior management (these expenses are normally posted by DND/CF as a proactive disclosure).
Responses to formal ATI requests in 2006-2007 involved the page-by-page review of 245,526 pages of which 150,133 were recommended for release; in 2005-2006 the corresponding numbers were 295,077 pages reviewed and 170,789 released. All 1,056 individual requestors chose to receive complete copies of information requested, rather than examine the information and select specific copies.
During this same period, DND/CF also received 374 consultations from other departments for ATI requests involving DND/CF records or issues, compared to 319 consultations the previous year; an increase of 17%.
In addition, 1,246 informal requests for information (not subject to the Act) were processed by the Office in support of DND 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 informal routes in order to obtain the information they sought.
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.
ii. Disposition of Completed Requests
There were 1,597 requests completed in 2006–2007. The disposition of the completed requests was as follows:
- 296 fully disclosed (18.5%);
- 760 partially disclosed (47.6%);
- 34 exempted in entirety (2.1%);
- 9 excluded in entirety (.5%);
- 57 transferred to another institution (3.5%);
- 177 abandoned by applicants (11%);
- 260 could not be processed (16%); and
- 4 treated informally (.03%).
iii. Completion Time and Extensions
The 1597 requests in 2006–2007 were completed in the following timeframes:
- 996 within 30 days or less (62.4%);
- 201 within 31 to 60 days (12.6%);
- 234 within 61 to 120 days (14.7%); and
- 166 took 121 days or over (10.4%).
In 666 instances, DAIP found it necessary to seek an extension to the prescribed time limit to search through a large volume of records, or to consult other government institutions and/or third parties. For the requests processed in 2006–2007, the number of requests completed within allowable time limits was 1449 out of 1597 or 91%, thus improving to a grade B according to the Information Commissioner’s assessment.
iv. Exemptions Invoked
DAIP invoked exemptions under the Act a total of 2598 times, as follows:
- 145 under S. 13 exempting records dealing with information obtained in confidence from other levels of government;
- 16 under S. 14 exempting records injurious to federal-provincial affairs;
- 515 under S. 15 exempting records expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs and the defence of Canada; 1
- 166 under S. 16 exempting records containing law enforcement and investigation information;
- 45 under S. 18 exempting records expected to prejudice the economic interests of Canada;
- 597 under S. 19 exempting records containing personal information;
- 321 under S. 20 exempting records containing third party business information;
- 657 under S. 21 exempting records containing information relating to the internal decision-making processes of government;
- 5 under S. 22 exempting records containing audit and test procedures;
- 96 under S. 23 exempting records related to solicitor-client privilege; and
- 33 under S. 24 exempting records restricted by specific statutory prohibitions.
- 2 under S. 26 refusal of access where information to be published.
1 Due to an error in data entry reflected in the ATIPflow system, the number of Section 15 exemptions listed in the Statistical Report to Parliament, provided in April to the Treasury Board by DAIP for the 2006-2007 fiscal year was 12. The error has been eliminated going forward, and the corrected statistic is listed here and in the copy of the Report on the Access to Information Act included at Annex A.
vi. Exclusions Cited
Exclusions were invoked a total of 118 times under section 68 for published or purchasable material or section 69 for Confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
vi. Complaints and Investigations
DAIP clients filed 105 new complaints with the Information Commissioner in 2006–2007, versus the 104 received over the 2005-2006 period.
The reasons for the complaints were as follows:
- 11 Delay;
- 21 Extension;
- 6 Fees;
- 4 Miscellaneous;
- 16 Missing Information;
- 21 Refusal/Exemption;
- 20 Refusal/General; and
- 6 Refusal/Exclusion (69)
During the same time period, 72 complaint investigations were completed. The breakdown of the conclusions is as follows:
- 11 Discontinued;
- 18 Not Substantiated;
- 1 Not Well Founded;
- 42 Resolved; and
v. 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 on going and it is anticipated that the matter will be heard by the Court in the Fall of 2007.
There were no new court cases for 2006-2007.
During the reporting period, the total fees collected amounted to $8450.00 for application fees and $750.00 for reproduction, searching and preparation costs.
During 2006–2007, an estimated $2,517,367.00 in salary costs and $97,052.00 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 to meet the requirements of the Acts.
viii. Policies and Procedures Implemented or Revised
A Standardized Policy and Procedure guide is in draft form. It will not be implemented until late in the next reporting period.
ix. Significant Changes to Operations or Procedures
The substantial increase in the number of requests received has seriously impacted the organization’s ability to respond within the legislated time limits. DAIP is currently reviewing its internal processes to maximise the efficiency of its limited resources. The creation of a dedicated Tasking Team in the upcoming fiscal year is envisioned. This Tasking Team will take over some of the administrative tasks performed by the analysts and allow them to spend more time reviewing records. As well, DAIP continues to staff its various open positions and to increase the overall number of staff, especially those directly involved in the processing of ATI and Privacy requests.
An ongoing issue with both the maintenance of current staff levels, and any plans to increase staff and/or create new roles within the directorate, is the continuing difficulty in finding and hiring qualified and experienced people. During 2006-2007 DAIP lost one of the military personnel assigned to an analyst position, and the other was scheduled to be posted out in early 2007-2008. This is an intrinsic problem with a military/civilian organization, where military personnel are subject to regular re-posting. Staffing issues can be expected to continue to be problematic, as the Federal Accountability Act will add several organizations to the ATIP pool in 2007-2008.
Finally, during this reporting period, DAIP split the responsibility for requests under the Privacy Act off from the ATI Operations section, and created a dedicated Privacy Team (see Section 4 – Report on the Privacy Act). This served the purpose of giving those analysts so tasked primary priority for requests under the Privacy Act. It also reduced the workload on ATI analysts by removing this additional responsibility. Unfortunately, this reduction was not equal to the increase in files combined with the above-mentioned difficulty in recruiting and retaining experienced staff.
x. Changes implemented as a result of issues raised by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC)
None of the changes implemented during the reporting period were based specifically on issues raised by the Office of the Information Commissioner.
i. Requests under the Act
During the reporting period, April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007, National Defence received a total of 4,620 new requests under the Privacy Act and 682 were carried forward from 2005-2006. Of these 4,620 new requests, 729 requests (16%) were either transferred or re‑directed to other federal institutions, could not be processed or were abandoned. A total of 3791 requests were for DND/CF records.
During this same period, DAIP also responded to 16 consultations from other departments regarding Privacy requests involving DND/CF records or issues.
The privacy client group for DND/CF consists, for the most part, of current and former federal public servants and Canadian Forces personnel. Most requests relate to personnel, medical or other staff relations issues. However, some requests are more complex, such as those relating to investigations by the Military Police.
There were 4,370 requests completed in 2006–2007 and 932 requests were carried forward to the 2007–2008 fiscal year. A total of 619,717 pages were reviewed and 594,407 pages were disclosed.
In addition, 930 informal requests for information (not subject to the Act) were processed by DAIP in support of DND broader objective of providing Canadians with relevant information on an informal and timely basis. The majority of informal requests were from CF employees seeking information from their personal file to support pension buy-back.
ii. Dispositions of Completed Requests
The disposition of the completed requests was as follows:
- 1,064 fully disclosed (24.3%);
- 2,434 partially disclosed (55.7%);
- 41 nothing disclosed/exemption (1%);
- 2 nothing disclosed/exclusion (.05%);
- 469 transferred or re-directed to another institution (10.7%);
- 198 abandoned (4.5%); and
- 162 could not be processed (3.7%).
iii. Completion Time and Extensions
The 4,370 requests completed in 2006–2007 were processed in the following timeframes:>
- 2,697 within 30 days or less (60%); and
- 857 within 31 to 60 days (20%);
- 520 within 61 to 120 days (12%);
- 296 on and over 121 (8%).
In 42 instances, DAIP found it necessary to seek an extension to the prescribed time limit for reasons of workload, or to consult other government institutions and/or third parties. For the requests processed in 2006–2007, the number of requests completed within allowable time limits was 2785 out of 4370 or 64%.
iv. Exemptions Invoked
DAIP invoked exemptions under the Act a total of 4741 times, as follows:
- 5 under section 19 (information received in confidence);
- 16 under section 21 (International affairs and defence);
- 207 under section 22 (Law enforcement and investigations)
- 2 under section 23 (Security clearances);
- 1 under section 25 (safety of individuals);
- 4,435 under section 26 (personal information);
- 74 under section 27 (solicitor-client privilege); and
- 1 under section 28 (Medical records).
v. Exclusions cited
No exclusions were invoked under section 69 for published or purchasable material or section 70 for Confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
vi. Complaints and Investigations
52 new complaints with the Privacy Commissioner were registered in 2006–2007, versus 38 in the previous reporting period.
The reasons for the complaints were as follows:
- 24 for delay;
- 2 for time extension;
- 1 for refusal/general.
- 13 for missing information;
- 1 for refusal/exclusion;
- 1 for refusal/exemption; and
- 1 miscellaneous;
During this fiscal year, 52 complaint investigations were completed and the conclusions were as follows:
- 7 were discontinued;
- 14 were not well founded;
- 2 were resolved;
- 1 was settled;
- 25 were well founded; and
- 3 were well founded/resolved.
vii. Federal Court Cases
There were no new court cases for 2006-2007.
viii. Disclosure under Section 8
As in all previous years, the majority of disclosures of information to entities external to DND/CF were made pursuant to Section 8(2)(a). This included such situations as the disclosure of personal financial information to organizations such as Veterans Affairs and Revenue Canada for pension and taxation purposes. Many disclosures were also made pursuant to Section 8(2)(i) as records were transferred to National Archives.
Other disclosures made under the subsections of Section 8 are enumerated as follows:
- Section 8(2)(e)
199 requests for disclosure of personal information to an investigative body were processed by DND during the 2006-2007 reporting period.
- Section 8(2)(f)
3 requests were processed. Two resulted in negative responses while one resulted in a disclosure of limited information.
- Section 8(2)(j)
One research application was granted during 2006-2007. The application was for a study to determine the degree of anomalies between the prescription information contained in two CF systems. The study is scheduled to terminate on 30 November 2007.
- Section 8(2)(m)
2 public interest disclosures were made during 2006-2007. One of the disclosures involved the release of home addresses of a limited number CF retired members. The other one involved the disclosure of the personal information of a deceased CF member for civil litigation purposes.
ix. Data Matching and Sharing Activities
No new data matching or sharing initiatives were undertaken by DND.
During 2006–2007, an estimated $1,747,825.00 in salary costs and $249,564.00 in administrative costs were incurred by DAIP to administer the Privacy Act. These costs do not include the resources expended by the program areas of DND to meet the requirements of the Acts.
xi. Privacy Impact Assessments
No Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) or Preliminary Impact Assessments (PPIA) were initiated for the 2006-2007 year. No completed PIA were submitted to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and no new PIA were added to the DND web site.
xii. Policies and Procedures Implemented and Revised
A Standardized Policy and Procedure guide is in the draft form. It will not be implemented until late in the next reporting period.
A dedicated team has been created to respond to requests made under the Privacy Act (see below).
xiii. Significant Changes to Operations or Procedures
During the reporting period DAIP created a dedicated team to respond specifically to requests made under the Privacy Act. The purpose was to clear the outstanding privacy backlog, and to ensure that these requests would continue to receive the priority attention of the assigned analyst going forward. This has enabled DAIP to reduce privacy requests carried forward to approximately 1%.
xiv. Changes Implemented as a result of issues raised by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC)
None of the changes implemented during the reporting period were based specifically on issues raised by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.