Archived - Department of Finance Canada
Annual Report to Parliament
on the Administration of the
Privacy Act
2010–2011

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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 ActRequests

Introduction 

The Annual Report to Parliament on the Administration of the Privacy Act (theAct) within the Department of Finance Canada is prepared and submitted in accordance with section 72 of theAct and covers the period from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011. 

Purpose of the Privacy Act 

TheAct 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 theAct 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 theAct. The ATIP Division comprises a director, two team leaders, nine full-time ATIP analysts and two administrative assistants.

Overview of privacy activities 

Since the Act’s implementation, the Department has received very few privacy requests as the majority of information that it collects is of a non-personal nature. Procedures are in place within the Department to allow employees informal access to their personal information contained in personnel records.

Educational and training activities 

Privacy Act training sessions were not offerred to all departmental employees this reporting period, however, one session specifically tailored to the needs of Values and Ethics personnel (four staff members and one legal advisor) was given. Informal briefings were also provided to five staff on a myriad of issues throughout the year. Since October 27, 2010, ATIP has had a dedicated section on the Finance website which provides information about the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Institutional changes to the administration of the Act

No new and/or revised privacy policies, guidelines or procedures were implemented during the reporting period. However, on October 27, 2010 a section specific to the ATIP Division was placed on the departmental website so as to provide information to the public with respect to the Act and how to obtain access to their personal information.

Delegation of authority 

The delegation of authority that was approved by the Minister of Finance Canada on March 31, 2008, remained in effect throughout the reporting period. The authority to approve or deny the release of information under theAct 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 theAct, which are usually handled by the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Corporate Services Branch.

Privacy Act Designation Order. For details, refer to the preceding paragraph.

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
  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 to 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 make those
 copies and records available
 to the 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 theAct allows for disclosures “to an investigative body…for the purpose of enforcing any law.” Only one such request for information was 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 theAct 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 theAct.

Interpretation of Statistical Report 

Disposition of requests 

The Department received seven Privacy Act requests this reporting year, more than double the number received in the previous period, and one request was carried forward. All eight requests were closed this reporting year—two were abandoned by the applicant and in six cases, no information was found.

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

Table 1 – Disposition of completed requests
Disposition Number of Requests Percentage of Requests
Documents all disclosed 0 0%
Disclosed in part 0 0%
Nothing disclosed 0 0%
Transferred 0 0%
Unable to process 6 75%
Abandoned 2 25%
Treated informally 0 0%
 
Total 8 100 %

Disclosed in full

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

Disclosed in part

No requests were completed by disclosing the requested information in part.

No records disclosed

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

Unable to process

In six instances, no relevant information could be found.

Abandoned

Two requests were abandoned.

Treated informally

No requests were treated informally.

Exemptions invoked and exclusions cited 

During the reporting period, no exemptions or exclusions were cited. As two of the requests were abandoned and no information was found in six cases, no information was actually processed under the Act.

Completion time and extensions 

During the reporting period, two requests were abandoned within one and three days respectively. The six completed requests were processed well within 30 days of their receipt, with the most timely processed in five days and the most lengthy processed in 20 days. No time extensions were required.

Translations 

No translations were required.

Method of access 

As two requests were abandoned and no records were found with respect to the other six requests, no information was actually processed.

Corrections and notations 

As no records were processed, no requests for corrections or notations were received from applicants.

Costs 

Due to the very limited number of requests received and the fact that no records were processed, the cost to administer theAct 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 this reporting period. However, Finance ATIP received a finding of “not well-founded” from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner with respect to a privacy complaint filed in September 2010 on a 2009 request.  

Appeals to the Federal Court of Canada 

No appeals were made to the Federal Court.

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) 

One Privacy Impact Assessment was initiated in and completed in conducted with respect to the Department’s University Recruitment Program so as to identify any privacy risks related to the Program and provide mitigation strategies as required. The PIA demonstrated that few privacy risks were associated with the Program and that the mitigation strategies proposed were appropriate. The complete PIA was provided to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner as required. A summary of the PIA can be found on the Department’s website at http://www.fin.gc.ca/disclose-divulgation/pia-efvp/ur-ru-eng.asp. No Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessments were conducted.

APPENDIX A 
Statistical Report on Privacy Act Requests

Statistical Report on Privacy Act Requests

Requests under the Privacy Act

7 new requests were received and 1 was carried over, for a total of 8 requests.  8 requests were completed with none carried over.

Disposition of requests completed

No requests were completed by disclosing the requested information in its entirety, or by disclosing the requested information in part.  No requests were completed by exempting or excluding information in its entirety.  6 requests could not be processed as no relevant information was found.  2 requests were abandoned by the applicant.  No requests were transferred.

Exemptions invoked

No exemptions were invoked.

Exclusions cited

No exclusions were cited.

Completion time

8 requests were completed in 30 days or less.

Extensions

No extensions were taken.

Translations

No translations were made.

Method of Access

No copies were given.

Corrections and Notations

No corrections or notations were requested, none were made, and no notations were attached.

Costs

Salary costs were $15,611.00, and administration costs were $1,000.00 for a total of $16,611.00. .25 of a person year was used.

Part III – Exemptions invoked

Paragraph 19(1)(e) – 0
Paragraph 19(1)(f) – 0
Subsection 22.1 – 0
Subsection 22.2 – 0
Subsection 22.3 – 0

Part IV – Exclusions cited

Subsection 69.1 – 0
Subsection 70.1 – 0