Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Administration of the Act

Departmental Structure

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) employs 319 individuals across Western Canada and in Ottawa, including: economists, commerce officers and policy analysts. They are supported by specialists in such areas as: communications, corporate administration, financial management, human resources, information management and information technology, and procurement.

WD is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, and organized into four regional units (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba), with offices located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and a liaison office in Ottawa.

Each of these offices is responsible for searching and retrieving documents responsive to access requests received under the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act; however, the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) unit is legally responsible for implementing and managing the ATIP program and services for WD, including all decisions on the disclosure or non-disclosure of information pursuant to the legislation.

Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) unit

The ATIP Unit is located in Edmonton, Alberta, and is responsible for the implementation and management of the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act programs and services for WD. It is part of the Finance and Corporate Management Directorate.

Specifically, the ATIP Unit:

  • makes decisions on the disposition of personal information requests;
  • conducts consultations with other federal government departments, provincial and municipal government departments, and third parties with respect to access to information and privacy issues, if required;
  • promotes awareness of the legislation to ensure departmental responsiveness to the obligation imposed by law;
  • monitors and advises on departmental compliance with the Acts, regulations, procedures and policies; and
  • acts as the spokesperson for the Department when dealing with the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Information Commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner, and other government departments and agencies.

The ATIP Unit has three employees, including the ATIP Coordinator, Deputy ATIP Coordinator, and one ATIP Officer.  The Coordinators fulfill their responsibilities in addition to numerous other functions within the department. The ATIP Officer is dedicated to processing all access and privacy requests, along with related functions, as well as additional departmental responsibilities pertaining to Personnel Security and other security-related functions. In total, approximately .3 FTE was dedicated to privacy activities in 2016-2017.

The ATIP Unit is accountable for the development, coordination and implementation of effective policies, guidelines, systems and procedures to manage the department’s compliance with the Acts.  The administration of the legislation in WD is managed by the ATIP Unit, but it is also facilitated at the corporate business unit and regional office levels.  Each corporate business unit and regional office has an ATIP Liaison Officer (reporting to an Assistant Deputy Minister, Executive Director, or corporate business unit Director) who is the first point of contact and identifies the appropriate subject experts, coordinates retrieval of records responding to personal information requests, and liaises between the ATIP Unit and regional staff concerning enquiries.  The ATIP Unit responds to all requests submitted under the Act.

The ATIP Officer also provides advice and guidance to WD officials, other government departments and the public, including providing training and awareness sessions. Other personal information/privacy-related tracked activities completed by the ATIP Unit in 2016-2017 include:

Activity Total (questions/reviews/ e-mails/reports, etc.)
Review of parliamentary questions and responses 104

OTHER ACTIVITIES

 
Update the ATIP intranet site x
Preparing and tabling annual reports and statistical reports x

Managing Info Source updates and web postings

x
Participating in Information Management initiatives and providing ATIP guidance x
Review and update privacy protection business practices, procedures and policy development x
Regular review and destruction of ATIP files in accordance with retention schedule x

The ATIP Unit monitors the processing of all personal information requests.  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 Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, delegated his full powers, authorities and responsibilities to the Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Management (ATIP Coordinator) and Manager, Corporate Administration (Deputy ATIP Coordinator).  The delegation also extends limited authority to the ATIP Officer.  The delegation order was issued on June 10, 2016.

 

Departmental Policies and Procedures

WD’s Privacy Protection Policy Suite, including the departmental Privacy Protection Policy and procedures manual, was reviewed and updated in fiscal year 2016–2017. These policy and procedural documents are reviewed as needed to ensure that they are up-to-date, and reflect any 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.

In addition, the department’s Privacy Breach Handbook was approved in March 2017, and supersedes the department’s January 2011 Directive on Privacy Breaches.

Training and Awareness

The department did not conduct any privacy related training activities during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. However, the ATIP Officer provides indirect instruction on privacy issues as appropriate to ATIP Liaison Officers and staff to increase awareness of the Act.

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.

Info Source

WD made minimal changes to its 2016 Info Source chapter which is published on the department’s public website (http://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/14990.asp).  Changes were based on TBS’s feedback on the department’s 2015 chapter.

The department did not submit any new Personal Information Banks (PIB) to TBS in 2016-2017 for approval.