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Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Privacy Act 2009–2010

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Purpose of the Privacy Act

Mandate of the Department of Finance Canada

Administration of the Privacy Act

Interpretation of Statistical Report

Complaints

Appeals to the Federal Court of Canada

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) and Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessments (PPIAs)

ANNEX A - Statistical Report on Privacy Act Requests

Introduction 

The Annual Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act (the Act) within the Department of Finance Canada is being submitted in accordance with section 72 of the Act and covers the period from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010. 

Purpose of the Privacy Act 

The Act came into force on July 1, 1983. It protects the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by federal government institutions. It also provides Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and individuals present in Canada a right of access to their personal information.

Mandate of the Department of Finance Canada

The Department of Finance Canada is the federal government central agency responsible for providing advice on all aspects of Canada’s economic and financial affairs. Concerned with the performance of the Canadian economy, it oversees all initiatives that affect the economy and follows the development of external factors that bear on domestic economic performance.

The Department is committed to making a difference for Canadians by helping the Government of Canada develop and implement strong and sustainable economic, fiscal, tax, social, security, international, and financial-sector policies and programs. It plays an important role in ensuring that government spending is focussed on results and delivers value for taxpayer dollars. The Department interacts extensively with other federal departments and agencies and plays a pivotal role in the analysis and design of public policy across a wide range of issues affecting Canadians.

The Department’s most visible output is the federal budget. The budget speech provides an authoritative review of past, present, and future economic factors that will affect Canada’s economic performance and finances. The budget reviews government accounts for the past period and presents its fiscal projections for the coming years. These include the government’s expenditure program, revenues from existing sources, taxation changes, and debt levels. The Minister of Finance has a number of statutory responsibilities and plays a significant role as central policy advisor.

Specifically, the Department’s ministerial and departmental functions are as follows:

Program (or statutory) responsibilities and core functions

  • Fiscal and monetary policy
  • Budget preparation and planning
  • Tax policy
  • Debt and exchange fund management
  • Tariff and certain aspects of trade and
    tariff policy
  • Financial sector policy
  • International financial arrangements
  • Federal‑provincial fiscal arrangements (policy and program administration)
  • Private pension policy and public pension financing
  • Privatization

Central agency functions 

  • Development of the fiscal framework
  • Preparation of the economic outlook and forecast
  • Analysis and assessment of major policy initiatives and options
  • Shared supervision of Crown corporations and agencies
  • Coordination with other central agencies on key files

Administration of the Privacy Act

Access to Information and Privacy Division

The Access to Information and Privacy Division (ATIP) is responsible for administering the Act for the Department of Finance Canada. As a centralized operation, the ATIP Division coordinates the timely processing of requests under the legislation, conducts interdepartmental consultations, handles complaints lodged with the Privacy Commissioner, and responds to informal inquiries. Division staff also provide advice and guidance to departmental officials on matters involving the Act.

The ATIP Division comprises a director, two team leaders, nine full-time ATIP analysts, one part-time analyst, and two administrative assistants.

Overview of privacy activities

Since the Act’s implementation, the Department has received very few privacy requests as it does not collect personal information in administering any of its programs with the exception of programs pertaining to its employees. Procedures are in place within the Department to allow employees informal access to their personnel records.

Educational and training activities

Although Privacy Act training sessions were not offered on a regular basis to departmental employees this reporting period, individual sessions were provided on request. During the
2010–11 fiscal year, the ATIP Division will be offering privacy training to all branches, with particular respect to sections 4 to 8 of the Act.

Institutional changes to the administration of the Act

No new policies, guidelines or procedures were implemented during the reporting period.

Delegation of authority

The delegation of authority that was approved on March 31, 2008, remained in effect throughout the reporting period. The authority to approve or deny the release of information under the Act is shared by the Deputy Minister, the Associate Deputy Minister and G7 Deputy for Canada, the Associate Deputy Minister, the Assistant Deputy Minister and Counsel to the Department, and the ATIP Director. The ATIP Director normally performs the function, with the exception of disclosures pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(e) of the Act, which are usually handled by the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Corporate Services Branch.

Privacy Act

Schedule 1
Designation Order—Privacy Act
Powers, Duties or Functions Section Deputy Minister Associate DM Associate DM and
G7 Deputy  for Canada
Assistant DM, Corporate Services Branch
To disclose personal information to an investigative body specified in the regulations, on the written request of the body, for the purpose of enforcing any law of Canada or a province or carrying out a lawful investigation, if the request specifies the purpose and describes the information to be disclosed 8(2)(e) Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Schedule 2
Designation Order—Privacy Act
Powers, Duties or Functions Section Deputy Minister Associate DM Associate DM and
G7 Deputy  for Canada
ADM and Counsel,
Law Branch
Director, ATIP ATIP Team Leader
Senior ATIP Analyst
To disclose personal information when satisfied that the purpose for which the information is disclosed cannot reasonably be accomplished unless the information is provided in a form that identifies the person to whom it relates and obtain a written undertaking that no subsequent disclosure of the information will be made in a form that could reasonably be expected to identify the individual to whom it relates 8(2)(j) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To disclose personal information when public interest outweighs invasion of privacy or when disclosure benefits the individual 8(2)(m) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To keep copies of requests made under 8(2)(e), keep records of information disclosed pursuant to such requests and to make those copies and records available to Privacy Commissioner 8(4) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To notify the Privacy Commissioner in writing of disclosure under paragraph 8(2)(m) 8(5) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To retain a record of use of personal information. 9(1) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To notify the Privacy Commissioner of consistent use of personal information and update index accordingly 9(4) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To include personal information in personal information banks 10 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To give written notice as to whether or not access will be given 14(a) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To give access to requester 14(b) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To extend time limit and give notice of extension 15 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To determine the necessity for a translation or interpretation of a record 17(2)(b) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To determine whether a record should be provided in an alternative format 17(3) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To refuse to disclose personal information referred to in that section 18(2) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information referred to in that section 19(1) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To disclose, with consent, personal information referred to in that subsection 19(2) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information referred to in that section 20 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information referred to in that section 21 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information referred to in that section 22 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information referred to in that section 22.3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information referred to in that section 23 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information under that section 24 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information under that section 25 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information under that section 26 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information under that section 27 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To refuse to disclose personal information under that section 28 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To receive notice of investigation by the
Privacy Commissioner
31 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To make representations to the Privacy Commissioner 33(2) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To receive the report of findings of the investigation and give notice of action taken or proposed to be taken or reasons why no action has been or is proposed to be taken 35(1) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To provide access to personal information 35(4) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
To receive the report of findings of the investigation of files in exempt banks 36(3) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To receive the report of findings after investigation in respect of personal information 37(3) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To request that the matter be heard and determined in the National Capital Region 51(2)(b) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To request the opportunity to make representations ex parte 51(3) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To prepare annual report for submission to Parliament 72(1) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
To carry out responsibilities conferred on the Head of the institution by regulations made under section 77, not included above 77 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Disclosures under section 8 of the Privacy Act

Paragraph 8(2)(e) of the Act allows for disclosures “to an investigative body…for the purpose of enforcing any law.” No such requests for information were received in this reporting period.

The Department did not disclose any personal information pursuant to the provisions of 8(2)(f), (g) or (m) of the Act during the reporting period.

Data matching and sharing activities

No new data matching or sharing activities were undertaken during the year.

Exempt banks

The Department holds no personal information in its Personal Information Banks that requires designation under section 18 of the Act.

Interpretation of Statistical Report

Disposition of requests

The Department received three Privacy Act requests this reporting year, which was half that received in the previous period. Of those, two were completed and one was carried forward to 2010–11.

The following table indicates the disposition of the two completed requests:

Disposition Number of Requests Percentage of Requests
Documents all disclosed 0 0%
Disclosed in part 1 50%
Nothing disclosed 0 0%
Transferred 0 0%
Unable to process 1 50%
Abandoned 0 0%
Treated informally 0 0%
Total 2 100 %

Disclosed in full

No requests were completed by disclosing the requested information in its entirety.

Disclosed in part

One applicant was provided with access to her personal information. The only information withheld was about other individuals.

No records disclosed

No requests were completed by exempting or excluding information in its entirety.

Unable to process

In one instance, no relevant records could be found.

Abandoned

No requests were abandoned.

Treated informally

No requests were treated informally.

Exemptions  invoked and exclusions cited

During the reporting period, section 26 of the Act was invoked with respect to some information relevant to one request. That information was exempted in order to protect the personal information of individuals other than the requester. No information was excluded.

Completion time and extensions

During the reporting period, the two completed requests were processed within 30 days of their receipt. No extensions were required.

Translations 

No translations were required.

Method of access

A hard copy of the information was provided to the applicant.

Corrections and notations

No requests for corrections or notations were received from applicants.

Costs 

Due to the very limited number of requests received, the cost to administer the Act was minimal. One quarter of one person year was required, at the rate of a PM-04 salary. See Appendix A for cost details.

Complaints 

No complaints were received during the reporting period.

Appeals to the Federal Court of Canada

No appeals were made to the Federal Court.

Privacy Impact Assessments  (PIAs) and Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessments (PPIAs)

No PIAs or PPIAs were completed during the reporting period. 

APPENDIX A
Statistical Report on Privacy Act Requests

Report on the Privacy Act