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 monitoring and timely processing and proper disclosure of information to our clients.

The primary responsibilities of WD’s ATIP Unit include:

  • 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; and
  • providing ongoing advice and guidance to senior management and staff on information management and privacy legislation.

Wherever possible, the ATIP Unit will coordinate records retrieval with the subject experts only depending on the nature of the request. In the event the subject experts are unknown, Regional ATIP Liaison Officers (RALOs) will contact and identify the appropriate subject experts, coordinate retrieval of records responding to personal information requests, and liaise between the ATIP Unit and regional staff concerning enquiries. RALOs are located in each of WD’s regional offices and corporate business units.

Requests for personal information, if received, are monitoring closely by the ATIP Unit. No additional reporting or monitoring is conducted by other departmental officials due to the confidential nature of these requests.

Delegation of Authority

In accordance with section 73 of the Privacy Act, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health and Minister of 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 September 30, 2013, 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 2013-2014 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. Adjustments were made to forms used by Human Resources to include appropriate privacy notices as a result of an audit on the protection of personal information conducted by the Office of the Comptroller General of Canada.

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).
     
  • A Privacy Awareness and Information Security presentation was made to WD’s Executive Committee on April 3, 2013, including an overview of the Privacy Act, employee responsibilities for protecting personal information, WD’s mitigation measures for protecting personal information, and document handling (specifically pertaining to personal information). It also included information on departmental policies and procedures established for the protection of privacy, privacy breaches, privacy impact assessments and security incidents.
     
  • An Access to Information and Privacy Awareness Session was conducted on November 4, 2013, for departmental officials. In total, 37 project officers and managers attended the session.
Classification Level # of Participants
CO-01 5
CO-02 21
CO-03 5
EC-06 3
EX-01 1
EX-02 2
  • A training session was conducted on March 20, 2014, for recently appointed Regional ATIP Liaison Officers (RALOs) to discuss the processes utilized by the department when requests for personal information are received. Five RALOs and two back-ups participated in the meeting.
Classification Level # of Participants
AS-03 1
CO-01 1
CO-03 2
CR-04 1
FI-02 1
FI-03 1
  • Access and privacy tips, entitled “The ATIP Eye”, are sent to WD staff via e-mail notices and posted on the department’s intranet site. The tips provide information updates and advice on frequently asked questions, specific exemptions, or areas where the department might improve on its obligations under the Act in 2013–2014, topics included:
     
    • Access and Privacy Policy Suite
       
    • ATIP Learning Opportunities
       
  • WD promoted Data Privacy Day (January 28, 2014) via email to all staff as a news bulletin on the department's intranet site.
     
  • The department maintains an Access to Information and Privacy presence on its intranet site that includes policies, procedures, training and awareness presentations, relevant links to useful sites related to access and privacy, and contact information, as well as "The ATIP Eye" tips.

The Deputy ATIP Coordinator and ATIP Officer attended the Access and Privacy Conference held in Edmonton in June 2013. The Deputy ATIP Coordinator attended the TBS ATIP Coordinators and Practitioners meetings in September 2013. The ATIP Officer participated via teleconference in the November 2013 TBS meetings, which included learning about privacy breaches and institutional privacy action plans, and participated in the Privacy Impact Assessment session lead by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Info Source

WD made minimal changes to its 2013 Info Source chapter which is now published on the department’s public website.

The department did not submit any new Personal Information Banks (PIB) to TBS in 2013-2014.