Appearance before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on Supplementary Estimates B

Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada
November 24, 2016

Check against delivery.

Download the PowerPoint presentation 

Good afternoon. Thank you for asking me to appear today. I am here with Layla Michaud, my Acting Assistant Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Chair, I am here today to ask you to approve our request for additional funding, which was included in Supplementary Estimates (B) tabled on November 3rd.

To assist the committee in makings its decision, I have prepared a series of slides on the Office of the Information Commissioner’s complaint inventory reduction strategy. These slides explain the objective of the strategy, the purpose of requesting additional funding, how this strategy will be implemented, and the intended results.

[PowerPoint presentation begins]

Request for supplementary resources

  • The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) requested additional funds from the Treasury Board to reduce the inventory of complaints. The Treasury Board supported the request for additional funds for one year.

Request for supplementary resources

Text version
Standard Object (SO) SO Description Main Estimates - Voted Supplementary Estimates - Adjustments Grand Total
01 Personnel $ 7,928,636 $ 1,106,540 $ 9,035,176
02 Transportation and communications 148,069 - 148,069
03 Information 62,722 - 62,722
04 Professional and special services 1,905,113 1,806,050 3,711,163
05 Rentals 215,654 97,523 313,177
06 Purchased repair and maintenance 19,376 - 19,376
07 Utilities, materials and supplies 61,469 - 61,469
09 Acquisition of machinery and equipment 82,690 121,000 203,690
  Total - Voted Authorities 10,423,729 3,131,113 13,554,842
01 EBP - Statutory 1,363,725 221,308 1,585,033
  Total - Budgetary Expenditures $ 11,787,454 $ 3,352,421 $ 15,139,875
 
  • This is temporary funding for fiscal year 2016-17.
  • The funding request is a fit-gap measure pending the possible introduction and passage of amendments to the Access to Information Act.
  • The funding has been strictly allocated to investigations.

Objective

  • The objective of the OIC’s complaints reduction strategy is to close 2,361 complaints by March 31, 2017, as follows:
    • 1,061 files closed due to augmented investigative capacity
    • 1,300 files that would ordinarily be closed in a year (based on 2015-16 figures)
  • With the requested supplementary resources, the OIC would be able to reduce its inventory of complaints to 2,624 files at year-end. Without these resources, the inventory would climb to 3,685 complaints.
    • Started 2016-17 with 3,000 complaints in inventory
    • Expects to receive 1,985 new complaints, based on current projections
    • With augmented investigative capacity, will close 2,361 files, leaving 2,624 complaints in inventory
    • Without augmented investigative capacity, will close 1,300 files (those ordinarily closed in a year), leaving 3,685 complaints in inventory

Implementation

  • Hired investigators: a mix of consultants and full-time equivalents (FTEs)
    • New investigators arrive with a variety of experience; are assigned files accordingly
  • Provided comprehensive training to new FTEs
  • Fit up office space provided by Elections Canada in same building as existing office
  • Upgraded IT network to handle increased traffic
  • Monitoring results
    • Set file closure targets
    • Weekly review of progress against targets by Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, and General Counsel and Director of Legal Services
    • Monthly review by Executive Committee
    • Quarterly review by Audit and Evaluation Committee

Results

  • Files closed as of November 23, 2016: 1,384 (59 percent of target for year)

Files closed as of November 6, 2016

Text version
  April May June July August September October November
FY 2011/12 31 96 63 59 93 90 141 107
FY 2012/13 112 108 118 97 120 100 151 99
FY 2013/14 118 116 125 131 119 96 129 181
FY 2014/15 101 142 96 101 136 110 263 85
FY 2015/16 67 75 95 103 103 94 84 69
FY 2016/17 117 162 175 163 198 187 167 215
 

Next steps

  • Standing Committee approval of supplementary resources
  • Report to Parliament and Standing Committee in annual report

[PowerPoint presentation ends]

Once again, thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your invitation to discuss our request for additional funding. We would be pleased to answer your questions.