Annual Report on the Access to Information Act
For the period ending March 31, 2011
2. Key Activities and Accomplishments
2.1 Education and Training
In 2010–2011, the ATIP Office prepared a comprehensive plan to educate its own staff, Elections Canada employees in Ottawa and field staff in their responsibilities under the access to information statute, through classroom and on-line methods.
A total of 10 sessions were delivered to Elections Canada staff. These included awareness sessions on access to information, training on the statutory duty to assist requesters under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, basic training on processing ATIP requests, and associated topics. Elections Canada's operations group also trained 88 newly appointed returning officers and assistant returning officers in their ATIP responsibilities through an on-line module.
New educational material was published on Elections Canada's public Web site and on its intranet site. The Web site informs the public of their rights under the access and privacy statutes, as well as the responsibility of Elections Canada to assist the public with their requests. Annual reports on the agency's administration of the Acts and a link to the organization's Info Source chapter are also on the Web site. The intranet site provides agency staff with training materials and guidance to help them fulfill their ATIP responsibilities.
2.2 Institutional Access to Information Policies and Procedures
The ATIP Office has adjusted its procedures in accordance with the Treasury Board's 2010 Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act. In particular, it has established new internal procedures and conducted training sessions on the duty to assist requesters, the processing and documentation of access requests, and the application and citation of Access to Information Act exemptions.
2.3 Human Resources and Staffing
A substantial assessment of the skills and resources needed to administer the ATIP legislation was conducted during the reporting year. The ATIP Office has relied on a combination of seconded staff, consultants and students since its creation. Steps were taken to solidify its small employee base in 2010–2011, including the conclusion of several competitive processes.
In close collaboration with Elections Canada's Human Resources Sector, the ATIP Office developed a skills development program for ATIP agents. This program, which is in line with Elections Canada's Human Resources Strategy, would focus on the acquisition and development of skills through training, both in the classroom and on the job.