Archived - Access to Information Guidelines - Annual Reports

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1. General

Section 72 of the Act requires the head of every government institution to table an annual report on the administration of the Act within their institution before the Senate and the House of Commons within three months of the end of the financial year it covers. This report is intended to ensure accountability for the actions and decisions of the institutions. All of the annual reports are then referred to the permanent committee designated by Parliament to review the administration of the Act. These reports also provide the material for an aggregate, government-wide report.

In addition, government institutions submit annual statistical reports on the administration of the Act to the Treasury Board. This information is also compiled into a government-wide report.

In order to ensure that the statistics gathered by each institution are comparable, institutions should use common definitions in their data collection activities. For this reason the categories of information used on any tracking document or in any tracking system should relate to the categories of information contained in the statistical report.

Specific directions on how to compile the annual reports are distributed to institutions with a reminder when the reports are due.

2. Definitions for use in reporting under the Act

Note: The following definitions are only for use in compiling statistics under the Act.

Abandoned by applicant (abandon de la demande)
a request may be considered to be abandoned when the applicant formally withdraws the request for any reason, or when there is no response to correspondence sent to the applicant.
All disclosed (communication totale)
all the requested information was disclosed to the requestor.
Carried forward (reportées)
this refers to cases where physical access has not yet been provided or a notification of denial of access has not yet been sent.
Completed during reporting period (traitées pendant la période visée par le rapport)
requests are completed when the institution has given their final response to the requestor. The final response could be disclosure of requested information, a denial of access, the decision to close a request when no definitive answer could be given, e.g. unable to process, abandoned, etc., or when the request has been transferred. Where notification has been sent out that access is to be given, but the application has not yet been given access, that data should be reported under "carried forward".
Completion time (délai de traitement)
completion time should be counted from the day a complete request is received until the day the records are released to the requestor, a notice of a denial of access is sent, the request is transferred or the decision is taken to stop processing the request for any reason. The sum of these sections should equal the number of completed requests.
Copies and examination (copies et examen)
this refers to the number of completed requests for which access to some information was provided by means of copies and access to the remaining information was provided by an opportunity to view the original.
Copies given (copies de l'original)
this refers to the number of completed requests for which access was given by provision of copies. Include only those cases where copies were the sole method of access. Do not count the number of pages copied.
Costs (coûts)
this should include all costs involved in administering the legislation. This includes staff salary as well as operating costs. This should not be an attempt to total the costs calculated for each request, but should be a total of expenditures associated with the activities related to the administration of the legislation, such as training, consultation, etc. Staff resources should be calculated in person-years or a decimal thereof. Include processing costs only for those requests processed during the reporting period. Attention should be paid to distinguishing costs associated with Access to Information from those associated with Privacy.
Disclosed in part (communication partielle)
only part of the requested information was disclosed. In these cases there should be a reference to the exemptions or exclusions invoked.
Disposition of requests completed (dispositions prises à l'égard des demandes traitées)
each request should be reported under only one of the disposition categories.
Examination (examen de l'original)
this refers to the number of completed requests for which access was given by providing the requestor the opportunity to view the original. Include only those cases were no copies were given.
Exclusions cited (exclusions citées)
this indicates the exclusions cited in response to a request for access.
Exemptions invoked (exceptions invoquées)
for each request, indicate the exemptions which were cited in the response to the requestor to refuse disclosure. For example, if five different exemptions were cited in response to one request, it would be reported as one exemption under each relevant section, for a total of five. The same exemption applied several times in response to the same request would be reported only once.
Extensions (prorogations des délais)
this indicates the number of times an extension was applied to requests completed during the reporting period, broken into sub-categories.
Fees (frais)
fees are to be calculated in accordance with the Regulations
Method of access (méthode de consultation)
the sum of the sub-categories should equal the sum of "all disclosed" and "disclosed in part".
Nothing disclosed (exception) (aucune communication (exemption)
) – there was no disclosure because all of the requested information qualified for exemption.
Nothing disclosed (excluded) (aucune communication (exclusion)
) – there was no disclosure because all of the requested information qualified for exclusion under Section 68 or Section 69 of the Act.
Outstanding from previous period (en suspens depuis la période antérieure)
these are requests that had not received a complete response as of the closing date of the previous reporting period.
Received during reporting period (reçues au cours de la période visée par le rapport)

includes requests received for the first time only. The reporting period is April 1 to March 31. Do not count requests that were re-submitted by the application in response to a requirement by the institution for more information or because the applicant failed to include the application fee referred to above.

Request (demande de renseignements)

  • is in writing, adequately identifies the individual submitting the request and includes a signed statement that they have a right of access under the legislation, and
  • is addressed to or received by the official identified in Info Source as the contact person for the institution.
  • is accompanied by the application fee required by the Act
Source (source)
this refers to the applicant, is she/he a member of the media, business, etc.
Transferred (transmission)
this refers to requests transferred to another government institution with "greater interest".
Treated informally (traitement non officiel)
requests may be counted as treated informally when it has been determined, through consultation with the applicant, that processing of a formal request can be discontinued in favour of providing the information via another, mutually satisfactory means. A request which is treated informally in this manner is not considered to have been abandoned.
Unable to process (traitement impossible)
this includes requests that cannot be accounted for elsewhere, e.g. requests made under the wrong legislation, or requests for which no identifiable information existed.