Annual Report on the Access to Information Act 2019-2020

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

The Access to Information Act (the Act) came into force on July 1, 1983. The purpose of the Act is to enhance the accountability and transparency of federal government institutions in order to promote an open and democratic society and enable public debate on the conduct of those institutions. In furtherance of that purpose, the Act provides a right of access to information found in records under the control of a government institution, in accordance with the following principles:

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) became subject to the Act when it was established as an independent organization on December 12, 2006, with the coming into force of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act (Part 3 of the Federal Accountability Act).

Pursuant to section 94 of the Access to Information Act and section 20 of the Service Fees Act, this 2019-2020 Annual Report on the Act has been prepared for tabling in the House of Commons and the Senate. This Report provides an analysis of the information contained in the PPSC's Statistical Report on the Act. In addition, it reports on emerging trends, training activities, internal policies, guidelines and procedures with respect to the PPSC's administration of the Act.

2 The Public Prosecution Service of Canada

The PPSC's mandate is set out in the Director of Public Prosecutions Act (DPPA). The DPPA empowers the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), as Deputy Attorney General of Canada, to:

The DPPA also empowers the DPP to:

3 The ATIP Office

The ATIP Office holds primary responsibility for the implementation and administration of the Access to Information Act. The Office deals directly with the public in relation to access to information requests, liaises with Offices of Primary Interest to prepare responses, and serves as the centre of expertise for ATIP within the PPSC.

The ATIP Office fulfills its responsibilities by:

3.1 Organizational structure

The Executive Director, Corporate Planning and External Relations Division (CPERD), acts as the PPSC's ATIP Coordinator.

During the period from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, the ATIP Office comprised a Manager, two Senior Advisors, two Advisors, and an ATIP Officer. The Office also had the support of one additional resource for part of the year.

The following chart outlines the organizational structure of the ATIP Office on March 31, 2020:

Figure 1: Organizational structure
Organizational Chart of Access to Information and Privacy Governance Structure
Text Version

Figure 1: Organizational structure

  • ATIP Coordinator
    • ATIP Manager
      • Senior ATIP Policy and Operations Advisor
        • ATIP Officer
      • Senior ATIP Policy and Operations Advisor
        • ATIP Advisor
        • ATIP Advisor

4 Delegated authorities

Pursuant to subsection 95(1) of the Act, the head of a government institution may designate one or more officers or employees of that institution, by order, to exercise or perform any of the powers, duties or functions of the head of the institution under the Act.

The DPP, as the "head of institution," has designated the authority to exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions conferred to her under the Act to the Executive Director, CPERD, as well as the Senior Director General, Corporate Services, and the ATIP Manager (Delegation Order in Appendix A). The ATIP Manager exercises this authority in the absence of the Executive Director, CPERD. The Senior Director General, Corporate Services, exercises this authority in the absence of both the Executive Director, CPERD, and the ATIP Manager.

5 Interpretation of the statistical report

The following section provides a summary and analysis of the information contained in the 2019-2020 Statistical Report on the Act in Appendix B of this report.

5.1 Requests received under the Act

5.1.1 Number of requests

The PPSC received 87% of its access to information requests online this fiscal year.

The PPSC received 47 formal access to information requests in 2019-2020, 13% less requests than in fiscal year 2018-2019.

Additionally, 18 requests were carried over from the previous fiscal year. The majority of these requests were received at the very end of this period and before the initial statutory deadline of 30 days for responding could be reached. The increase during this period was due to extensive media reporting on a few high-profile criminal prosecutions that were ongoing at the time. Altogether, the PPSC had 65 requests to process in 2019-2020.

Since its creation in December 12, 2006, the PPSC has received 435 access to information requests in total. Despite some fluctuations, overall, the number of requests received each fiscal year has continued to increase.

The following chart illustrates this trend:

Figure 2: Requests received since 2006
Requests received since 2006

Note: As the PPSC was created on December 12, 2006, data for 2006-2007 only reflects a three-month period. Additionally, since 2014-2015, the number of requests received no longer includes those that are treated informally. These requests are now reported separately as informal requests.

Figure 2: Requests received since 2006 - Text Version
Requests received since 2006
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
3 11 15 18 33 24 29 44 38 31 45 43 54 47

5.1.2 Subject matter

The subject matter of the 47 requests received in 2019-2020 was varied and often involved overlapping categories. However, a few key themes can be observed:

5.1.3 Sources

During the 2019-2020 fiscal period, 43% of the 47 requests received were from the media. Similarly, 46% of requests received in the previous period were also from the media. This continues to be a sharp departure from the general trend of earlier fiscal years, where the greatest proportion of the PPSC's requests typically originated from the general public. This shift could be attributed to sustained media attention on the organization following recent prosecutions.

The following chart outlines the distribution of all requests received in 2019-2020 by source:

Figure 3: Sources of received requests
Sources of received requests
Figure 3: Sources of received requests - Text Version
Sources of received requests
Media Academia Business Organization Public Decline to identify
43% 6% 6% 4% 28% 13%

5.1.4 Informal requests

An informal request is any request for information made to the ATIP Office of a government institution that is not processed under the Act. Fees cannot be charged for informal requests, and there are no deadlines for response. Additionally, the applicant has no statutory right of complaint to the OIC.

The PPSC receives the majority of informal requests through the online Open Government portal, where the PPSC publishes a monthly summary of completed access to information requests. Applicants have the ability to submit an informal request through the Portal for any records that were released in response to completed requests.

During the 2019-2020 fiscal period, the PPSC received and responded to 66 informal requests, 6% more than in the previous period.

This is the second year that the PPSC has received more informal than formal requests.

Applicants are becoming familiar with the range of government tools that are available for accessing information under the organization's control.

The PPSC responded to nearly all of its 66 informal requests within the first 15 days of receipt, with the exception of one (1) request, where the applicant elected to wait until records were available in response to a formal access to information request that was being processed at the time.

Throughout 2019-2020, the ATIP Office also prepared responses to Parliamentary Questions, and provided advice and recommendations to PPSC employees regarding reports on proactive publication, audit, harassment, and administrative investigations. The ATIP Office reviewed these reports to ensure that sensitive information, such as solicitor-client privileged and personal information, was identified and protected prior to publication or disclosure to the relevant parties.

5.2 Requests closed during the fiscal year

5.2.1 Disposition of requests

The PPSC responded to 62 formal access to information requests, which is 95% of the 65 requests that were received in 2019-2020 or carried forward from 2018-2019. This is also 48% greater than the number of requests closed in the previous period. Due to these efforts, three (3) requests remained outstanding by March 31, 2020, and were carried forward to the next fiscal year.

The disposition of requests closed in 2019-2020 was as follows:

Figure 4: Disposition of closed requests
Disposition of closed requests
Figure 4: Disposition of closed requests - Text Version
Disposition of closed requests
All disclosed Disclosed in part All exempted No records exist Request abandoned
3% 69% 3% 13% 11%

Of the 62 requests closed in 2019-2020, records were fully or partially disclosed in 73% of cases, similar to the previous period. Overall, 70% of requests closed over the past five (5) fiscal years have resulted in a full or partial disclosure of records to applicants.

During the 2019-2020 reporting period, the PPSC closed two (2) requests in which all records were exempted. Other requests that did not result in the disclosure of records were as follows:

No records exist

Eight (8) requests could not be processed because relevant records under the control of the PPSC did not exist. Where possible, applicants were advised of other government institutions that may have records and were provided with contact information accordingly.

Request abandoned

Seven (7) requests were abandoned by applicants. In most abandoned cases, clarification is needed from the applicants in order to process their requests. When the applicants do not provide clarification, the requests are deemed as abandoned. In other cases, the applicants choose to abandon their requests.

5.2.2 Number of pages processed

The PPSC processed 20,206 pages in order to close 62 requests in 2019-2020, 87% more pages than in the previous fiscal year. The substantial increase is largely due to requests for records relating to a handful of criminal prosecutions. In particular, one such request involved 5,057 pages, a quarter of all pages processed. Elsewhere, 16 other requests all related to the same, high-profile case and involved altogether 9,484 pages, 47% of all pages processed in 2019-2020.

The PPSC ATIP Office also reviewed an additional 6,625 pages received from across the organization that were ultimately deemed to be not relevant to the requests and were therefore not included as part of the responses.

The following is a summary of the relevant pages processed by the PPSC over the last five (5) fiscal years:

Figure 5: Pages processed for closed requests since 2015
Pages processed for closed requests since 2015
Figure 5: Pages processed for closed requests since 2015 - Text Version
Pages processed for closed requests since 2015
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
8,341 14,675 10,263 10,795 20,206

5.2.3 Completion time

Of the 62 requests closed in 2019-2020, 79% were processed within the initial 30-day statutory deadline, an 8% proportional increase from last fiscal year.

Overall, the PPSC has processed 76% of the access to information requests closed over the last five (5) fiscal years within 30 days of receipt.

The proportion of requests closed within this timeframe in recent years is as follows:

Figure 6: Requests closed within 30 days since 2015
Requests closed within 30 days since 2015
Figure 6: Requests closed within 30 days since 2015 - Text Version
Requests closed within 30 days since 2015
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2014-2015
72% 80% 76% 71% 79%

The following is a breakdown of the number of days taken to respond to all requests closed in 2019-2020:

Figure 7: Completion time of requests
Completion time of requests
Figure 7: Completion time of requests - Text Version
Completion time of 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 days
34% 45% 5% 13% 0% 2% 2%

5.2.4 Exemptions

The right of access to information in government records is subject to limited and specific exceptions. Limitations to the right of access are set out in sections 13 through 24 of the Act. Section 26 also sets out an administrative exception relating to the publication of information.

The following is a breakdown of the exemptions applied by the PPSC in 2019-2020 for closed requests:

Figure 8: Exemptions that were invoked
Exemptions that were invoked
Figure 8: Exemptions that were invoked - Text Version
Exemptions that were invoked
Paragraph 14 Paragraph 14(a) Subsection 16(1) Subparagraph 16(1)(a)(i) Paragraph 16(1)(b) Paragraph 16(1)(c) Subsection 16(2) Paragraph 16(2)(c) Subsection 18(b) Subsection 19(1) Paragraph 20(1)(b) Paragraph 20(1)(c) Paragraph 20(1)(d) Paragraph 21(1)(a) Paragraph 21(1)(b) Section 23
1 3 1 1 1 3 3 2 3 31 6 4 5 10 12 32

Over the last five (5) fiscal years, the PPSC has most often invoked subsection 19(1) (personal information) and section 23 (solicitor-client privilege) of the Act when exempting information from disclosure. This reflects the mandate of the PPSC to conduct federal prosecutions, which often involve personal information about individuals, and to provide legal advice to law enforcement agencies and investigative bodies on matters relating to prosecutions.

5.2.5 Exclusions

Records or parts thereof to which the Act does not apply are considered to be "excluded." Pursuant to section 68, the Act does not apply to published material or material available for purchase by the public, library or museum material preserved solely for public record or material placed in Library and Archives Canada. Records containing confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, also known as Cabinet confidences, and which have been in existence for less than 20 years are also excluded from the Act pursuant to section 69.

The PPSC excluded information in response to four (4) requests closed in 2019-2020. Section 68 of the Act was invoked in one (1) case, while references to Cabinet confidences were found in three (3) other cases.

This is the first reporting period over the last five (5) fiscal years wherein the PPSC has invoked an exclusion.

5.2.6 Format of information released

In 2019-2020, information was released to applicants almost exclusively in an electronic format, whether by email or on compact disk. Of the 45 requests where the PPSC fully or partially disclosed records in 2019-2020, 44 resulted in electronic releases. The PPSC provided paper copies of records in only one (1) case, at the request of the applicant.

This is the third fiscal year in a row in which electronic releases have outnumbered paper-based. The following illustrates how this shift occurred over the last five (5) fiscal years:

Figure 9: Format of information released since 2015
Format of information released since 2015
Figure 9: Format of information released since 2015 - Text Version
Format of information released since 2015
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Paper 57% 50% 45% 19% 2%
Electronic 43% 50% 55% 81% 98%

5.2.7 Complexity

Due to the nature of the PPSC's work, processing requests can be challenging, and requests are regularly deemed "complex" based on a number of factors:

5.2.8 Deemed refusals

Over the last five (5) fiscal years, only two (2) access to information requests were closed past deadline.

Requests that are not closed within the initial 30-day statutory deadline or within a timeframe covered by an extension provided by the Act are referred to as "deemed refusals." Further information on the circumstances in which an extension to the original deadline is permitted by the Act is available in section 5.3 (Extensions) of this report.

There were no deemed refusals in 2019-2020.

5.2.9 Requests for translation

Just as it had been the case in the last five (5) fiscal years, the PPSC did not receive any requests from applicants in 2019-2020 to translate records from one official language to the other.

5.3 Extensions

Section 9 of the Act allows government institutions to extend the 30-day statutory deadline for processing a request in cases where institutions are required to review or search through a large number of records, or when consultations with other institutions or third parties are necessary.

The PPSC extended the initial deadline in 15 cases during the 2019-2020 reporting period, two (2) fewer than the previous fiscal year but a greater amount than that of earlier years. In comparison, over the last five (5) fiscal years, the PPSC has taken an average of 12 extensions each fiscal year. Requests have become increasingly complex to process, whether due to the volume of pages to process, extensive search for relevant records, or consultations with other government institutions.

Of the 15 extensions taken in 2019-2020, 87% were for 120 days or less.

The following table summarizes the length of the extensions taken and reasons:

Table 1: Extensions
Length of extensions Reasons for extensions
Paragraph 9(1)(a) - Interference with operations Paragraph 9(1)(b) - Consultation Paragraph 9(1)(c) - Third-party notice
30 days or less 2 2 0
31 to 60 days 5 1 1
61 to 120 days 0 1 1
121 to 180 days 1 0 0
181 to 365 days 1 0 0
Total 9 4 2

5.4 Fees

The Access to Information Act authorizes the collection of fees for certain activities related to the processing of formal requests for information. In addition to the $5.00 application fee, costs related to the search, preparation and reproduction of records may be recovered in accordance with the Regulations.

It should be noted that the Treasury Board's Interim Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act, which came into effect on May 5, 2016, directs government institutions to waive all fees prescribed by the Act and the Regulations, other than the application fee set out in paragraph 7(1)(a) of the Regulations.

Pursuant to the Act and Regulations, the PPSC collected a total of $235.00 in application fees for 47 requests received in fiscal year 2019-2020. No fees were waived during the same period. Per the Interim Directive, no production, programming, preparation or search fees were collected.

The Service Fees Act requires a responsible authority to report annually to Parliament on the fees collected by the institution. Accordingly, the information above is also being reported in accordance with the requirements of section 20 of the Service Fees Act.

Information on the costs incurred by the PPSC to administer its access to information program is available in section 5.7 (Resources related to the Act) of this report.

5.5 Consultations received from other institutions

5.5.1 Number of consultations

The PPSC received 37 consultations from other government institutions for processing under the Act in 2019-2020. This is 16% more than in the previous fiscal year. Additionally, two (2) consultations were carried forward from the same period. Altogether, the PPSC had 39 consultations to process in 2019-2020.

Since December 12, 2006, the PPSC has received 575 access to information consultations in total.

The following chart illustrates the varying number of consultations received by the PPSC each fiscal year since its creation in 2006:

Figure 10: Consultations received since 2006
Consultations received since 2006
Figure 10: Consultations received since 2006 - Text Version
Consultations received since 2006
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
7 53 52 40 56 58 35 45 32 31 45 52 32 37

Note: As the PPSC was created on December 12, 2006, data for 2006-2007 only reflects a three-month period.

5.5.2 Sources of consultations

Almost half of the consultations received by the PPSC in 2019-2020 originated from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). It was also the top source for consultations for four (4) out of five (5) of the most recent reporting periods. Typically, these consultations do not involve many pages or complex subject matter.

The number of consultations forwarded by any given government institution or organization does not reflect the actual amount of work required to process them. For example, some other consultations received in 2019-2020 pertained to prosecutions. Unlike the TBS consultations, consultations related to these topics involve a greater number of records and increased complexity.

The following table identifies the number of consultations sent by each government institution:

Table 2: Sources of consultations
Source Number of consultations %
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat 18 49%
Canada Border Services Agency 3 8%
Department of Justice Canada 2 8%
Canadian Food Inspection Agency 2 5%
Privy Council Office 2 5%
Canada Revenue Agency 2 5%
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 1 3%
Natural Resources Canada 1 3%
National Defence Canada 1 3%
Environment and Climate Change Canada 1 3%
Veteran Affairs Canada 1 3%
Indigenous Services Canada 1 3%
Public Service Commission 1 3%
Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada 1 3%
Total 37 100%

5.5.3 Disposition and recommendations

Out of the 39 received or carried over to 2019-2020, the PPSC responded to 37 consultations. Two (2) consultations remained outstanding as of March 31, 2020, and were carried forward to the next fiscal year.

A total of 1,067 pages was processed, a sharp decrease from the number of pages in recent years. In comparison, since the 2014-2015 fiscal period, the PPSC has processed an average of 3,751 pages each year in response to consultations.

The number of pages processed during the last five (5) fiscal periods is as follows:

Figure 11: Pages processed for completed consultations completed since 2015
Pages processed for completed consultations completed since 2015
Figure 11: Pages processed for completed consultations completed since 2015 - Text Version
Pages processed for completed consultations completed since 2015
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
2,441 2,604 7,031 2,928 1,067

Of the 37 consultations completed in 2019-2020, the PPSC recommended that the other government institutions disclose records entirely in the majority of cases (27). The organization also recommended that records be partially disclosed in another seven (7) cases. For the remaining cases, two (2) consultations were discontinued by the consulting institutions and one (1) consultation was sent to the PPSC in error and therefore did not proceed.

Overall, the PPSC completed 207 consultations over the last five (5) fiscal years. In recent fiscal years, on average, the PPSC's recommendations with respect to consultations have trended towards greater disclosure, whether in full or in part, than full exemption of records.

The following chart illustrates this trend:

Figure 12: Percentage of recommendations to disclose or exempt since 2015
Percentage of recommendations to disclose or exempt since 2015
Figure 12: Percentage of recommendations to disclose or exempt since 2015 - Text Version
Percentage of recommendations to disclose or exempt since 2015
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Disclose entirely or in part 80% 95% 100% 94% 92%
Exempt entirely 13% 0% 0% 3% 0%

5.5.4 Completion time

Of the 37 consultations completed in 2019-2020, all but one (1) were processed within 30 days of receipt. The PPSC responded to the remaining consultation within 31 to 60 days. Over the last five (5) fiscal years, 85% of consultations have been completed within the same timeframe on average.

The following breaks down the proportion of consultations completed within each timeframe:

Figure 13: Completion time of consultations
Completion time of consultations
Figure 13: Completion time of consultations - Text Version
Completion time of consultations
1 to 15 days 16 to 30 days 31 to 60 days 61 to 120 days 121 to 180 days
86% 11% 3% 0% 0%

5.6 Consultations on Cabinet confidences

The PPSC carried out three (3) consultations for three (3) separate requests with its corporate legal services during fiscal year 2019-2020 on the applicability of subsection 69(1) (Cabinet confidences) of the Act. When it was determined that portions of the records referred to Cabinet confidences, the information was excluded from further processing.

Ultimately, 748 pages in total were disclosed in response to requests involving Cabinet confidences, whether partially or in full.

5.7 Resources related to the Act

With respect to costs incurred by the PPSC on access to information activities, the information below is also being reported in accordance with the requirements of section 20 of the Service Fees Act.

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the PPSC spent a total of $258,785 administering the Access to Information Act, of which salaries accounted for 98% ($252,713) of expenditures, while goods and services accounted for the remaining 2% ($6,072).

No overtime expenditures were incurred during this period.

6 Training activities

Three (3) formal ATIP awareness sessions were delivered in 2019-2020.

One (1) session was an overview of ATIP legislation and employee obligations. It was delivered to approximately 25 human resource professionals at the PPSC.

The other two (2) sessions were delivered to members of the PPSC Senior Advisory Board, as part of a larger initiative within the organization to raise awareness of the various corporate services available to managers and employees. The presentations were also shared online with all PPSC employees through the internal website.

Communiqués on ATIP were also distributed as part of the PPSC's corporate newsletters.

ATIP personnel provided informal learning to employees on an ad hoc basis regarding various matters related to access to information and regularly provided advice to PPSC officials on responding to requests and the interpretation of the Act.

7 Policies, guidelines, procedures and initiatives

7.1 ATIP governance structure

The PPSC ATIP Governance Structure was approved by the PPSC's Executive Council in October 2011. It outlines the reporting relationships within the PPSC and establishes clear responsibilities for decision-making for the purposes of administering the Act.

7.2 Information about Programs and Information Holdings

Information about Programs and Information Holdings (formerly known as Info Source: Sources of Government and Employee Information) is published on the Government of Canada's canada.ca website. It provides information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Each year, the PPSC ATIP Office updates information about the PPSC's activities and information holdings in the publication.

7.3 Initiatives

Since Royal Assent of Bill C-58, the PPSC has proactively published the following new types of government information:

  • 180 titles and tracking numbers of briefing notes for the Attorney General of Canada and the Director of Public Prosecutions;
  • Three (3) annual reports tabled in Parliament; and
  • One (1) transition book for the incoming Attorney General of Canada in 2019

The PPSC implemented one (1) new initiative relating to access to information during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the expansion of proactive publication.

With Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, Bill C-58, an act to amend the Access to Information Act and other related legislation, came into force. The impact of these changes was government-wide. Beforehand, the PPSC published popular government information such as travel and hospitality expenses, position classifications, and contracts over $10,000. Because of the new legal obligations, more PPSC information is now accessible on Canada's online open government portal.

The successful implementation of proactive publication was a collaborative effort. Several corporate services, such as those relating to ATIP, information management, communications, finance, and human resources, as well as PPSC officials working in prosecutions, worked together to build awareness and update or create processes that ensure that the PPSC meets its deadlines and other publishing requirements.

The PPSC also expects to develop revised policies and procedures throughout the next fiscal year in preparation for new government-wide directives to support the amended Act, open government initiatives, and the continuing modernization of ATIP digital services.

Access to information tools were also updated in 2019-2020 as required so that the organization may continue to process requests efficiently and in compliance with the Act and related policies.

7.4 COVID-19 mitigation measures

On March 16, 2020, the PPSC closed its offices across the country and limited its activities to comply with the public health measures that were put in place to mitigate community spread of the coronavirus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic. The PPSC ATIP Office continued its operations remotely in accordance with the COVID-19 business continuity plan that the organization had recently developed in anticipation of a pandemic situation.

The PPSC did not receive any further requests between March 16 and the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2020, and no requests were closed past deadline during this same period. Nonetheless, the ATIP Office was currently processing several requests during the lockdown and it experienced significant challenges when operations suddenly shifted to an exclusively remote working environment.

The ATIP Office experienced difficulty connecting remotely to the PPSC servers and therefore accessing requests, records, and other ATIP-related work. The ATIP Office also sought solutions where paper-based or office-based activities were no longer possible, such as the receipt of requests by mail, obtaining approvals of responses by signature, or the search for or processing of records available only in paper format.

Certain measures taken, as well as other factors, assisted the PPSC in mitigating the impact of these challenges:

While the ATIP Office experienced limitations in managing operations remotely, every effort was made to ensure that applicants received complete responses within established timelines.

8 Complaints, audits, and investigations

Decisions made under the Act are subject to a right of review. This ensures government institutions' compliance with their access to information obligations as well as fair treatment for all applicants.

The first level of review is a formal complaint made to the Information Commissioner. Following an investigation, the Commissioner has the power to order the release of information should the complaint be deemed to be well-founded. No order has been issued to the PPSC to date. The second level of review is an application for judicial review to the Federal Court.

The PPSC reviews the outcomes of all Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) investigations and incorporates lessons learned into business processes, where appropriate.

Two (2) complaints pertaining to two (2) requests were filed with the OIC against the PPSC in 2019-2020, one (1) of which was still under investigation as of March 31, 2020.

The PPSC also received findings from the Commissioner upon completion of investigations into the other complaint received in 2019-2020 as well as five (5) other complaints that were carried over from previous fiscal years. The findings for all six (6) complaints are as follows:

There were no recommendations regarding the PPSC's access to information activities raised by other Agents of Parliament in 2019-2020.

The following table summarizes the reasons for the complaints received by the PPSC in fiscal year 2019-2020 as well as the OIC's findings for concluded investigations:

Table 3: Complaints and investigations
Reason for complaint Number of complaints Results of investigations
Well-founded Not well-founded Discontinued OIC has yet to issue its findings
Refusal – Exemptions 3 2 0 0 1
Refusal – General 2 1 1 0 0
Extension 2 1 1 0 0
Total 7 4 2 0 1

9 Court action

There were no applications for judicial review filed with the Federal Court in 2019-2020.

10 Monitoring compliance

The ATIP Office maintains a comprehensive statistical reporting and performance measurement system. The ATIP Manager meets with the ATIP Coordinator weekly on the status of active requests, complaints and any issues that have arisen.

The ATIP Office also provides reports to the PPSC's senior management on its access to information activities, caseload, and trends on an ad hoc basis.

11 Reading room

Section 8 of the Regulations requires that government institutions maintain a reading room where the public can examine records.

The PPSC's main reading room is located at 160 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario. Individuals who wish to examine records must schedule an appointment with the ATIP Office. Individuals located outside of the National Capital Region can make arrangements through the ATIP Office to examine records at one of its regional offices.

Appendix A – Delegation order

The Director of Public Prosecutions, 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 to exercise the powers, duties and functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions as the head of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, under the under the provisions of the Acts and related regulations set out in the schedule opposite each position. This designation replaces all previous delegation orders.

Schedule

Position Access to Information Act and Regulations Privacy Act and Regulations
Senior Director General, Corporate Services Full Authority Full Authority
Executive Director, Corporate Planning and External Relations Division Full Authority Full Authority
Manager, ATIP, ATIP Office Full Authority Full Authority

Dated, at the City of Ottawa, this 3rd day of October, 2018.

Signature of Kathleen Roussel
Kathleen Roussel
Director of Public Prosecutions

Appendix B – Statistical report on the access to information act

Name of institution: Public Prosecution Service of Canada

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-03-31

Section 1: Requests Under the Access to Information Act

1.1 Number of requests

  Number of Requests
Received during reporting period 47
Oustanding from previous reporting period 18
Total 65
Closed during reporting period 62
Carried over to next reporting period 3

1.2 Sources of requests

Source Number of Requests
Media 20
Academia 3
Business (private sector) 3
Organization 2
Public 13
Decline to Identify 6
Total 47

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 0 0 0 0 1 0 66

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

Section 2: Decline to act vexatios, made in bad faith or abuse of rights requests

2.1 Number of Requests
  Number of Requests
Outstanding from previous reporting period 0
Sent during reporting period 0
Total 0
Approved by the Information Commissioner during reporting period 0
Declined by the Information Commissioner during reporting period 0
Carried over to next reporting period 0

Section 3: Requests Closed During the Reporting Period

3.1 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 days Total
All disclosed 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Disclosed in part 8 24 8 0 0 1 0 43
All exempted 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
No records exist 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 8
Request transferred 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 7
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 21 28 8 0 0 1 1 62
3.2 Exemptions
Section Number of Requests
13(1)(a) 0
13(1)(b) 0
13(1)(c) 0
13(1)(d) 0
13(1)(e) 0
14 1
14(a) 3
14(b) 0
15(1) 0
15(1) - I.A.Table note 1 0
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) 1
16(1)(c) 3
16(1)(d) 0
16(2) 3
16(2)(a) 0
16(2)(b) 0
16(2)(c) 2
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
16.31 0
16.4(1)(a) 0
16.4(1)(b) 0
16.5 0
16.6 0
17 0
18(a) 0
18(b) 3
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) 31
20(1)(a) 0
20(1)(b) 6
20(1)(b.1) 0
20(1)(c) 4
20(1)(d) 5
20.1 0
20.2 0
20.4 0
21(1)(a) 10
21(1)(b) 12
21(1)(c) 0
21(1)(d) 0
22 0
22.1(1) 0
23 32
23.1 0
24(1) 0
26 0

Table notes

3.3 Exclusions
Section Number of Requests
68(a) 1
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) 3
69(1)(g) re (f) 0
69.1(1) 0
3.4 Format of information released
Paper Electronic Other Formats
1 44 0

3.5 Complexity

3.5.1 Relevant pages processed and disclosed
Number of Pages Processed Number of Pages Disclosed Number of Requests
20,206 6,357 54
3.5.2 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 Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed
All disclosed 2 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 22 621 13 1,975 2 773 6 2,969 0 0
All exempted 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Request Abandoned 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 32 640 13 1,975 2 773 6 2,969 1 0
3.5.3 Other complexities
Disposition Consultation Required Assessment of Fees Legal Advice Sought Other Total
All disclosed 0 0 0 2 2
Disclosed in part 7 0 0 30 37
All exempted 0 0 0 1 1
All excluded 0 0 0 0 0
Request Abandoned 0 0 0 1 1
Neither confirmed nor denied 0 0 0 0 0
Total 7 0 0 34 41

3.6 Closed requests

3.6.1 Number of requests closed within legislated timelines
  Requests closed within legislated timelines
Number of requests closed within legislated timelines 62
Percentage of requests closed within legislated timelines (%) 100

3.7 Deemed refusals

3.7.1 Reasons for not meeting legislated deadline
Number of Requests Closed Past the Legislated Deadline Principal Reason
Interference with Operations / Workload External Consultation Internal Consultation Other
0 0 0 0 0
3.7.2 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 0 0 0
16 to 30 days 0 0 0
31 to 60 days 0 0 0
61 to 120 days 0 0 0
121 to 180 days 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 0 0 0
More than 365 days 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0
3.8 Requests for translation
Translation Requests Accepted Refused Total
English to French 0 0 0
French to English 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0

Section 4: Extensions

4.1 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 0 0 0 0
Disclosed in part 8 0 3 2
All exempted 1 0 1 0
All excluded 0 0 0 0
No records exist 0 0 0 0
Request abandoned 0 0 0 0
Total 9 0 4 2
4.2 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 2 0 2 0
31 to 60 days 5 0 1 1
61 to 120 days 0 0 1 1
121 to 180 days 1 0 0 0
181 to 365 days 1 0 0 0
365 days or more 0 0 0 0
Total 9 0 4 2

Section 5: Fees

Fee Type Fee Collected Fee Waived or Refunded
Number of Requests Amount Number of Requests Amount
Application 47 $235 0 $0
Other fees 0 $0 0 $0
Total 47 $235 0 $0

Section 6: Consultations Received From Other Institutions and Organizations

6.1 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 37 2,123 0 0
Outstanding from the previous reporting period 2 5 0 0
Total 39 2,128 0 0
Closed during the reporting period 37 1,067 0 0
Pending at the end of the reporting period 2 1,061 0 0
6.2 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 days Total
Disclose entirely 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 27
Disclose in part 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 7
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 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Total 32 1 0 0 0 0 0 37
6.3 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 days Total
Disclose entirely 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Disclose in part 0 0 0 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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Section 7: Completion Time of Consultations on Cabinet Confidences

7.1 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 Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed
1 to 15 1 91 0 0 0 0 1 416 0 0
16 to 30 0 0 1 241 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 91 1 241 0 0 1 416 0 0
7.2 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 Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed Number of Requests Pages Disclosed
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

Section 8: Complaints and Investigations

 Complaints and Investigations 
Section 32 Notice of intention to investigate Section 30(5) Ceased to investigate Section 35 Formal representations Section 37 Reports of finding received Section 37 Reports of finding containing recommendations issued by the Information Commissioner Section 37 Reports of finding containing orders issued by the Information Commissioner
2 0 3 6 0 0

Section 9: Court Action

9.1 Court Action on complaints received before June 21, 2019 and on-going
Section 41 (before June 21, 2019) Section 42 Section 44
0 0 0
9.2 Court Action on complaints received after June 21, 2019
Section 41 (after June 21, 2019)
Complaint (1) Institution (2) Third Party (3) Privacy Commissioner (4) Total
0 0 0 0 0

 

Section 10: Resources Related to the Access to Information Act

10.1 Costs
Expenditures Amount
Salaries $252,713
Overtime $0
Goods and Services $6,072
Professional services contracts $0
Other $6,072
Total $258,785
10.2 Human Resources
Resources Person Years Dedicated to Access to Information Activities
Full-time employees 2.87
Part-time and casual employees 0.26
Regional staff 0.00
Consultants and agency personnel 0.00
Students 0.00
Total 3.13

Note: Enter values to two decimal places.

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