Annual Report on the Access to Information Act
For the period ending March 31, 2011
3. Statistical Report on the Administration of the Access to Information Act
This section provides information about the processing of requests under the Access to Information Act. Appendix II provides a statistical summary of the access to information requests received and/or finalized in 2010–2011.
3.1 Number and Origin of Requests
Elections Canada received 78 formal requests for information under the Access to Information Act during the period from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011. In addition, there were 6 requests that had not been fully processed during the previous reporting period. Therefore, a total of 84 formal requests required action.
By the end of the fiscal year, the ATIP Office had completed a total of 82 requests, leaving 2 requests outstanding. These were carried forward into the 2011–2012 fiscal year. The total number of requests received represents a 32% increase from the previous reporting period.
Most requests were from the public (47), followed by political organizations (18), business entities (8) and the media (5).
3.2 Disposition of Completed Requests
Of the 82 requests completed during the reporting period, 18 resulted in full disclosure and 33 resulted in partial disclosure of the information requested. The ATIP Office was unable to process 28 requests either because the information requested did not exist or because there was insufficient information to locate records. Three requests were abandoned by applicants.
3.3 Exemptions to the Release of Information
The Access to Information Statistical Report 2010–2011 (Appendix II) includes the number of requests for which the agency invoked specific types of exemptions and provides details on these exemptions. If an exemption is invoked several times within the same request, it is reported only once.
The three most common exemptions applied were those under subsection 19(1) of the Access to Information Act to protect personal information, section 21 for advice involving the operations of government, and section 23 for protecting solicitor-client privilege.
It is worth noting that for five requests, Elections Canada invoked section 16.3 of the Access to Information Act. This exemption is specific to information obtained or created in the course of investigations, examinations or reviews conducted under the authority of the Canada Elections Act.
3.4 Completion Time
A total of 76 requests (93 percent) were completed within 30 days, 3 requests within 31 to 60 days, 2 requests within 61 to 120 days, and 1 request in more than 120 days.
This represents an improvement in processing times over 2009–2010, during which 78 percent of requests were completed within the 30‑day time limit.
3.5 Extension of the Time Limit
Section 9 of the Access to Information Act provides for the extension of the statutory time limits if consultations are necessary or if a request is for a large volume of records and processing the request within the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the institution. Elections Canada took a total of two extensions during the reporting period.
The ATIP Office responded to 12 formal consultations from other institutions during the period covered by the report.
3.7 Fees and Costs
Application fees in the amount of $390 were collected by the ATIP Office in the fiscal year 2010–2011. The budget for salaries of employees assigned to the administration of the Access to Information Act totalled $120,493, while that for operating or maintenance costs (including consultant services) totalled $121,905.
3.8 Complaints and Judicial Review
Two complaints originating from requests in 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 were resolved this fiscal year. In one instance, an individual complained to the Information Commissioner because Elections Canada did not provide a list of the names of individuals who donated $200 or more to various electoral district associations for the period of 2004 to 2008, as well as to registered political parties from 1992 to 2008. Elections Canada had directed the individual to its Web site for this information. The complaint was resolved when Elections Canada provided the requester with instructions that facilitated his extraction of the information.
The second complaint concerned a request received on February 11, 2009, for a list of all elected members of Parliament and candidates who had not filed financial returns as of the February 13, 2009 deadline following the October 2008 general election. Elections Canada advised the applicant that it does not prepare or maintain lists of candidates who have not filed a return. The applicant was directed to the Elections Canada Web site, where information on candidates who had filed their financial returns was posted. Subsequent to the person's complaint, Elections Canada offered to provide a fee estimate to produce the information according to the parameters requested by the applicant.
Both complaints were considered well-founded by the Office of the Information Commissioner and were resolved in the course of investigation.
There were no judicial reviews or access to information complaints reported to Elections Canada in 2010–2011.