Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Administration of The Act

Access to Information and Privacy Unit

Western Economic Diversification Canada’s (WD) Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Unit is located in Edmonton, Alberta. The unit oversees the administration of the Act, and is part of the Finance and Corporate Management Directorate. The ATIP Coordinator (Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Management) is supported by the Deputy Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator (Manager, Corporate Administration), and one full-time ATIP Officer. In addition, a back-up was identified for the ATIP Officer in March 2012.

These individuals are accountable for the development, coordination and implementation of effective policies, guidelines, systems and procedures to ensure the Minister’s responsibilities under the Act are met, and enabling the appropriate processing and proper disclosure of information.

Regional ATIP Liaison Officers (RALOs) are located in each of WD’s regional offices and corporate business units. These seven individuals are the first point of contact and identify the appropriate subject matter experts, coordinate retrieval of records responding to privacy requests, and liaise between the ATIP Unit and regional staff concerning enquiries.

The primary activities of WD’s ATIP Unit include:

  • processing access requests in accordance with the Privacy Act;
  • responding to consultations submitted by other federal institutions on WD records being considered for release;
  • developing and maintaining policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure the Act is respected by staff;
  • promoting awareness of the Act within the department to ensure staff is aware of the obligations imposed by the legislation;
  • preparing annual reports to Parliament and other statutory requirements, such as annual statistical reports and the department’s Info Source chapter, as well as any material that may be required by central agencies;
  • representing WD in dealings with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada and other federal organizations regarding the application of the Act as it relates to WD;
  • monitoring departmental compliance with the Act, its regulations, and relevant policies and procedures;
  • providing ongoing advice and guidance to senior management and staff on information management and access to privacy legislation.

Delegation of Authority

For the purposes of the Privacy Act for WD, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Minister for Status of Women and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification delegated her full powers, authorities and responsibilities to the Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Management (ATIP Coordinator) and Manager, Corporate Administration (Deputy ATIP).

A copy of the signed delegation instrument for the Privacy Act is attached in Annex A.

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Departmental Policies and Procedures

WD’s Privacy Protection policy suite, including the Privacy Protection Procedures Manual, is reviewed annually to ensure that they are up-to-date, and any changes in TBS policies or directives, or changes as a result of issues raised by the Office of the Privacy Commission or other agents of Parliament, are incorporated.

The Privacy Protection Procedures Manual underwent significant improvements in this reporting period, including: greater detail on the correction of personal information and WD’s Privacy Impact Assessment Handbook which was approved in April 2011. This information is also posted on WD’s internal Web site, and was shared with other regional development agencies and the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman.

Education, Training and Awareness

The Deputy ATIP Coordinator and ATIP Officer attended workshops at the Access and Privacy Conference held in Edmonton in June 2011. The ATIP Officer also attended the Canadian Access and Privacy Association Annual Conference and TBS ATIP Practitioners Meeting in November 2011.

In March 2012, the ATIP Officer successfully met all the requirements for professional certification from the Canadian Institute of Access and Privacy Professional (CIAPP) and was granted the designation of CIAPP Professional.

A back-up for the ATIP Officer was identified in mid-March 2012. No training pertaining to the Privacy Act was undertaken in fiscal year 2011–2012 for this individual.

Staff training and awareness activities include:

  • The ATIP Coordinator, Deputy ATIP Coordinator and ATIP Officer provide ongoing advice on access to information issues to RALO's and staff to increase awareness of the Act. They also provide guidance on how the department processes access requests, and the rationale required to apply the exemptions and exclusions, where appropriate.
     
  • Regional ATIP awareness sessions were cancelled following the 2011 Federal Budget announcement. As a result, WD is exploring training options via video conference for the 2012–2013 fiscal year.
     
  • WD promoted Data Privacy Day (January 28, 2012) via email to all staff as a news bulletin on the department’s intranet site, as well as displayed information posters entitled Protect Yourself from Spam! and Privacy on the Go: Protecting Personal Information on Wireless Communication Devices in all regional offices. These posters are shared with other departments in the Small Agency Administrator’s Network (SAAN) through the SAAN GCpedia Web site.
     
  • The department maintains an "Access to Information and Privacy" presence on its intranet site that includes policies, procedures, contact information, past training and awareness presentations, relevant links to useful sites related to access and privacy, as well as "The ATIP Eye" tips.

Info Source

WD made minimal changes to its 2011 Info Source chapter. TBS has not identified any issues with the WD chapter; however, it has yet to be published on the TBS Info Source Web site.

The department submitted a Personal Information Bank (PIB) to TBS in 2010, which was subsequently withdrawn in 2011. In addition, WD registered for three additional Standard PIBs which were included in the 2011 Info Source chapter.