Statistical Report – Interpretation and Explanation

The Statistical Report, included in Annex 1, provides a summary of formal Access to Information Act applications processed by VAC between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011. The following narrative provides explanations and interpretations of the statistical data.

I. Requests under the Access to Information Act

Formal Requests

Between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011, VAC received 148 formal requests for information under the Access to Information Act. This represents an increase of 10 requests (or 7 per cent) from the 2009-2010 fiscal year; a 56 per cent increase as compared to the 2008-2009 fiscal year; and a 76 per cent increase as compared to the 2007-2008 fiscal year. These 148 requests, combined with 35 outstanding requests from the 2009-2010 period totalled 183 requests requiring action in the 2010-2011 reporting period.

Number of Formal Requests Received

A Bar Chart showing the breakdown of requests by the public.  Details in text following the image.

2007 - 2008: 84 formal requests received
2008 - 2009: 95 formal requests received
2009 - 2010: 138 formal requests received
2010 - 2011: 148 formal requests received

Sixty-nine (69) outstanding requests have been carried forward into the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The breakdown of the 148 requests received during the 2010-2011 fiscal year is as follows:

2010-2011 Formal ATI Requests by Source

A Pie Chart showing the breakdown of formal ATI requests.  Details in text following the image.

Public (blue): 87 request - 59% of all requests made
Media (red): 24 requests - 16% of all requests made
Business (green): 18 requests - 12% of all requests made
Organization (purple): 16 requests - 11% of all requests made

It is important to note that the requests have shifted in nature from specific information about existing programs and services, access and eligibility to direct questions about the details of proposed programs, policy development, and changes being contemplated by the Department and government.

14 outstanding requests have been carried forward into the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Number of Informal Requests Received

A bar chart showing the number of informal requests received over the past four reporting periods. Details in text following the image.

2007 - 2008: 125 informal requests received
2008 - 2009: 90 informal requests received
2009 - 2010: 124 informal requests received
2010 - 2011: 115 informal requests received

The breakdown of the 115 informal requests received during the 2010-2011 fiscal year is as follows:

2010-2011 Informal ATI Requests by Source

A pie chart showing the type of requests for 2010-2011. Details in text following the image.

Public (blue): 94 informal ATI requests - 82%
Organization (red): 17 informal ATI requests - 15%
Business (green): 3 informal ATI requests - 3%
Media (purple): 1 informal ATI requests - 1%

II. Disposition of Requests Completed

Formal Requests

In total, 114 formal requests requiring action were completed during the reporting period.

The disposition of the 114 requests completed in 2010-2011 is as follows:

2010-2011 Disposition of Formal Requests Completed

A pie chart showing the breakdown of formal requests completed by disposition for 2010-2011. Details in text following the image.

All disclosed (blue): 15 formal requests completed - 13%
Disclosed in part (red): 40 formal requests completed - 35%
Nothing disclosed (excluded) (green): 3 formal requests completed - 3%
Nothing disclosed (exempt) (purple): 2 formal requests completed - 2%
Transferred (light blue): 15 formal requests completed - 13%
Unable to process (orange): 30 formal requests completed - 26%
Abandoned by applicant (grey): 9 formal requests - 8%

Requests where records did not exist were recorded in the "unable to process" category. This category increased by 88% over the 2009-2010 reporting period where no records existed for 16 cases.

The following table compares the number of pages reviewed and released for formal requests during the past three reporting periods. Pages with portions of information released, but with exemptions applied, are counted under "pages released". Pages not released refer to pages that have an exemption applied to the entire page.

A comparison of the number of pages reviewed and released for formal requests during the past three reporting periods.
Page Status 2008 - 2009 2009 - 2010 2010 - 2011 Variance 2010-2011 over 2009-2010
Pages Reviewed 7,497 7,710 8,360 8%
Pages Released 6,075 5,545 4,635 -16%
Pages not Released 1,422 2,165 3,725 72%

114 formal requests were completed over the fiscal year, as compared to 121 requests completed in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. This is a 16 per cent decrease in the number of requests completed, or, as demonstrated in the table above, an 8 per cent increase in the number of pages reviewed.

Informal Requests

The following table compares pages reviewed and released for informal requests during the past three reporting periods.

A table comparing the number of pages reviewed and released for informal requests during the past three reporting periods.
Page Status 2008 - 2009 2009 - 2010 2010 - 2011 Variance 2010-2011 over 2009-2010
Pages Reviewed 10,543 16,697 25,076 50%
Pages Released 5,037 10,517 13,036 24%
Pages not Released 5,506 6,180 12,040 95%

123 informal requests were completed over the fiscal year, as compared to 101 requests completed in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. This is a 22 per cent increase in the number of informal requests completed.

The number of pages reviewed shows a 50 per cent increase from last reporting period, or a 22 per cent increase in requests, indicating that the size of documentation reviewed per request is increasing.

The rise in the percentage of unreleased pages in both the Formal and Informal requests underlines the increasing complexity of access to information requests.

There is no legislated time frame set for informal requests within the Access to Information Act; however, 83 informal requests of 123 were completed within 60 days.

III. Exemptions Invoked

This section of the statistical interpretation identifies the number of requests where specific types of exemptions have been invoked to protect sensitive information in government records.

VAC invoked 111 exemptions under sections 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23. This is a 10 per cent increase over the 2009-2010 reporting year. The most frequently used exemption was subsection 19(1) which is used to exempt personal information. For statistical purposes, it is important to note that the exemptions applied to a case multiple times, are counted only once per case.

The type and number of exemptions for 2010-2011
Exemptions Invoked 2010-2011 Cases
Paragraph 14(a) (Federal-Provincial Consultations or Deliberations) 3
Subsection 15(1) (International Affairs and Defense) 1
Subsection 16(1) (Law enforcement and investigation) 1
Subsection 16(2) (Security) 2
Paragraph 18(b) (Economic Interests of Canada) 1
Subsection 19(1) (Personal Information) 30
Paragraph 20(1)(c) (Competitive Process – Third Party) 1
Paragraph 20(1)(d) (Contractual Negotiations – Third Party) 2
Paragraph 21(1)(a) (Operations of Government – Advice) 21
Paragraph 21(1)(b) (Operations of Government – Consultations or Deliberations) 23
Paragraph 21(1)(c) (Operations of Government – Negotiations ) 8
Paragraph 21(1)(d)(Operations of Government – Plans not put into operation) 9
Section 22 (Testing Procedures, Tests and Audits) 1
Section 23 (Solicitor-client privilege) 8
Total Exemptions Invoked 111

IV. Exclusions Cited

Pursuant to sections 68 and 69, the Access to Information Act does not apply to published material, material available for purchase by the public, material placed in the Library and Archives of Canada or confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. During this reporting period, section 68 was invoked on 2 occasions and section 69 was invoked on 29 occasions. This is a 94 per cent increase over the last reporting period.

The type and number of exclusions cited for 2010-2011
Exclusions Cited 2010-2011 Occasions
68(a) – Published material or material available for purchase by the public 2
69(1)(a) – Proposals or recommendations to Council 5
69(1)(b) – Policy options to Council 1
69(1)(e) – Briefings of Ministers 11
69(1)(f) – Draft legislation 1
69(1)(g) – Cabinet Confidences 11
Total 31

V. Completion Time

Formal Requests

2010-2011 Formal Requests Completion Time

A pie chart showing the breakdown of completion times for formal requests in 2010-2011. Details in text following the image.

During the 2010-2011 reporting period, VAC completed 69 formal requests in 30 days or under; and received an extension for 14 requests, for a total of 83 requests (73 per cent) successfully completed within the legislated time frame. 18 requests were completed within 31 to 60 days; 10 requests were completed within 61 to 120 days; and 17 requests requiring additional time and effort were completed in 121 days or over.

The Department is experiencing a greater number of cases requiring inter-departmental consultations. The fewer inter-departmental consultations VAC was required to conduct in the past were often restricted to consulting with only one department. The trend has shifted to multi-departmental consultations. The challenge (as outlined in the Out of Time Special Report to Parliament by the Information Commissioner of Canada in April 2010) is that VAC must depend on the efficiency and goodwill of the institutions being consulted to meet time constraints. 77 consultations were required for 20 requests, which represents 18 per cent of formal requests completed.

Informal Requests

2010-2011 Informal Requests Completion Time

A pie chart showing the breakdown of completion times for informal requests in 2010-2011. Details in text following the image.

During the 2010-2011 reporting period, VAC completed 51 informal requests in 30 days or under; 32 requests were completed within 31 to 60 days; 23 requests were completed within 61 to 120 days; and 17 requests requiring additional time and effort were completed in 121 days or over.

The Department remains committed to process informal Access to Information requests in a timely fashion while balancing the legislated requirements under the formal requests process. 83 informal requests of 123 were completed within 60 days.

VI. Extensions

Section 9 of the Access to Information Act provides for the extension of the statutory time limits if consultations are necessary or the request is for a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the Department.

During the reporting period a total of 31 requests were extended, and of these, 11 were extended for 30 days or under, and 20 requests required an extension of 31 days or over. Twenty-three (23) requests were extended due to consultations with other institutions, one extension was required due to third party information and seven extensions were required for an additional search.

Extensions 2010-2011
Cause for Extension 30 Days or Under 31 Days or Over
Searching 7 0
Consultation 3 20
Third Party 1 0
Total 11 20

During the reporting period, the number of extensions during this fiscal year increased by 35 per cent from the 2009-2010 reporting period. The majority of this increase is attributed to the 10 per cent increase of extensions for consultations.

VII. Translations

Two translations were required to respond to access to information requests during the 2010-2011 reporting period.

VIII. Method of Access

There are three methods of access whereby individuals may obtain the information they have requested. Requesters may receive copies of the material, examine the information during an arranged time or examine and receive copies of the information. Of the 114 formal requests completed, applicants received copies of the material they had requested fully or in part in 55 cases. In the remaining 59 cases, the requests were either abandoned by the applicant (9), transferred to another institution (15), could not be processed as records did not exist (30) or were not disclosed due to exemptions or exclusions (5).

IX. Fees

In accordance with section 11 of the Access to Information Act, the fees collected during the reporting period totaled $1,312.00. Of this amount, $610.00 was collected in compliance with the application fee required of the Act. $702.00 was collected for reproduction of the documents. There was no money collected to cover fees associated with searching for documents or preparing them for the requests or with computer processing. During the same period, Veterans Affairs waived fees totaling $40.00 for 8 requests.

X. Costs

VAC spent a total of $273,565 administering the Access to Information Act during the reporting period. Staff salaries accounted for $261,573 which is equivalent to 3.85 person-year utilizations. An additional 13.71 person-years were expended in administering the Privacy Act. Other administrative costs (representing operations and maintenance expenditures) amounted to $11,992.

Total Cost of Administration of ATI Act

A bar chart showing the total costs of administration of the Privacy Act over the past four reporting periods. Details in text following the image.

2007 - 2008: total cost of administration of the ATI Act was $178.913
2008 - 2009: total cost of administration of the ATI Act was $187,860
2009 - 2010: total cost of administration of the ATI Act was $204,530
2010 - 2011: total cost of administration of the ATI Act was $273,565

There has been a 34 per cent increase in the total costs for administration of the Access to Information Act over the last reporting period and a 63 per cent increase over the past four periods. The requests have been increasingly more complicated, involving more Offices of Primary Interests (OPIs), detailed documents and increased processing power.

In order to cope with this increase, the Department has allocated more resources to the ATIP Coordinator’s Office. Annex 2 provides a summarized table that captures the four-year trend of Access to Information requests and other ATIP business.

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