Pursuant to Section 72 of the Privacy Act, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) hereby submits to Parliament this report for the period from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009.
The report includes a summary of the Statistical Report, an overview of the organizational structure of the Access to Information and Privacy Unit (ATIP), as well as the institutional policies that govern it, a description of the privacy training activities, a brief description of the delegation of authority, baseline data on privacy advice and evaluation of privacy factors, and a summary of privacy complaints and investigations pertaining to CIDA.
CIDA is the principal government agency responsible for development and humanitarian policies and programs. CIDA's mandate is to reduce poverty, to promote human rights, and to support sustainable development in a manner consistent with Canadian foreign policy.
Canada's development assistance program promotes Canadian values: compassion for the less fortunate, democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. It also promotes the interests of Canadians contributing to Canada's voice on the world stage, building long-term relationships with emerging economies, and supporting global peace and security. CIDA works together with development partners, fragile governments and countries in crisis, countries and selected regions, institutions, and the Canadian public.
The ATIP unit is comprised of ten (10) positions: 1 coordinator, 3 senior analysts, 4 analysts, 1 junior analyst, and 1 clerk. However, departures of some staff members caused a staff shortage in the previous fiscal year.
To mitigate the staff shortage during the previous fiscal year (2007/08), the ATIP Unit recruited employees through transfers and competitions. The positions of Senior Privacy Advisor, Senior Operations Advisor, and an analyst position were filled in October 2008.
The ATIP Coordinator reports to the Corporate Secretary and is responsible for supervising the work and quality of documents released by CIDA.
The ATIP team processes privacy requests, complaints, and unofficial requests from CIDA concerning the application of confidentiality policies. Since staffing has been brought up to strength, the team has concentrated on awareness, training, and review of CIDA procedures for tasking and case management. The ATIP Unit has begun a pilot initiative aimed at improving the performance of offices of primary interest in fulfilling privacy requests in an appropriate and timely manner within the time frames established by the Act. This pilot initiative involves encouraging branches to identify a liaison officer who will be responsible for sending requests to offices of primary interest (OPI), providing diligent follow-up with key stakeholders, coordinating their recommendations, and forwarding them to the ATIP Unit by the deadline. This pilot initiative has proved successful with participating branches, specifically the on-time performance of the Afghanistan Task Force, Canadian Partnership Branch, Sectors and Global Partnerships Branch, and Information Management and Technology Branch. In the next fiscal year (2009/10) we will work toward expanding this initiative throughout CIDA.
The Unit also plans to draft new procedural guidelines for CIDA to strengthen efficiency and effectiveness in processing privacy requests. This new mechanism will be operational in the next fiscal year.
The President, Vice-President (Corporate Affairs), Corporate Secretary, and Coordinator have full authority. The position of Vice-President (Corporate Affairs) no longer exists at CIDA. A review of the delegation instruments is currently being approved to update them to present operational requirements. (See Annex B).
(See Annex A).
i) Processing of requests made pursuant to the Privacy Act
During the period from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009, CIDA received and processed five (5) duly submitted requests pursuant to the Privacy Act.
With regard to decisions concerning the requests processed, two (2) requests resulted in full disclosures and two (2) partial disclosures of the information requested. The fifth request could not be processed, since no relevant documents were found.
The requests were processed within 30 days after they were filed.
No privacy impact assessments were completed in 2008/2009.
Due to the lack of human resources in the ATIP Unit, training and awareness sessions related to the application and interpretation of the provisions of the Privacy Act are planned for the next fiscal year (2009/10).
However, to acquaint new CIDA employees with ATIP, the Privacy Unit took part in awareness sessions as part of the Welcome to CIDA course. To be a training leader, however, the Unit has designed specific training sessions for each of the organizational stakeholders involved in processing requests, including a session for senior managers, one for liaison officers, and one for employee sub-groups. These training sessions will be operational in the next fiscal year (2009/10).
The ATIP Unit plans to deliver mandatory information sessions to CIDA staff in 2009/2010.
The Privacy Unit intends to review and develop the update of CIDA's ATIP policies and procedures in 2009/2010.
The Privacy Unit has also developed an action plan for privacy activities, including guidelines on invasions of privacy, a guideline on the procedure for developing privacy impact assessments and procedures for applying section 8 of the Privacy Act.