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.

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 to enable the timely processing and proper disclosure of information to our clients.

The following list outlines the primary responsibilities of WD’s ATIP Unit:

  • processing 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 privacy 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 the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and other federal organisations regarding the application of the Act as it relates to WD;
  • monitoring compliance with the Act, its regulations as well as relevant procedures and policies;
  • providing ongoing advice and guidance to senior management and staff on information management and privacy legislation.

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 experts, coordinate retrieval of records responding to privacy requests, and liaise between the ATIP Unit and regional staff concerning enquiries. Three of these individuals were new to this role in 2012–2013.

Delegation of Authority

In accordance with section 73 of the Privacy Act, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Public Works and Government Services, 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 Coordinator). The delegation order issued on August 26, 2011, is attached in Annex A.

Departmental Policies and Procedures

There were no changes made to WD’s Privacy Protection policy suite, including the Privacy Protection Procedures Manual, during the 2012–2013 fiscal year as a result of changes in TBS policies or directives, or changes as result of issues raised by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner or other agents of Parliament.

Education, Training and Awareness

Staff training and awareness activities include:

  • The ATIP Coordinator, Deputy ATIP Coordinator and ATIP Officer provide ongoing advice on privacy issues to RALOs and staff to increase awareness of the Act, including guidance on how the department processes requests for personal information and Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA).
  • WD is exploring training options via videoconference for the 2013–2014 fiscal year; however, no privacy related training or awareness sessions were conducted in 2012–2013.
  • WD promoted Data Privacy Day (January 28, 2013) via email to all staff as a news bulletin on the department’s intranet site, as well as displayed information posters entitled Reaching for the Cloud (cloud computing) and Cookies…following the crumbs in all WD offices.
  • 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.

The Deputy ATIP Coordinator and ATIP Officer attended workshops at the Access and Privacy Conference held in Edmonton in June 2012. The Deputy Coordinator received one-on-one ATIP training in February 2012, and the ATIP Officer also attended the TBS ATIP Coordinators and Practitioners Meeting in February 2013.

Three Regional ATIP Liaison Officers were identified in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba regional offices since September 2012. Limited training has been provided for two of these regions, which made changes in the last quarter of 2013. A video conference training session is being planned for fiscal year 2013–2014 for these individuals.

Info Source

WD made minimal changes to its 2012 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 did not submit any new Personal Information Banks (PIB) to TBS in 2012–2013.