Annual report to parliament on the application of the Privacy Act 2009-2010

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The Honourable Josée Verner
President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Honourable Minister:

In accordance with section 72 of the Privacy Act, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada is pleased to submit to Parliament this report on activities relating to the application of the Act for the period 01 April 2009 to 31 March 2010.

Sincerely,

Wendy A. Tadros

Wendy A. Tadros

© Minister of Public Works and Government Services 2010
Cat. No. TU1-4/2-2010E
ISBN 978-1-100-15980-5

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

Pursuant to section 72 of the Privacy Act, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is pleased to table in Parliament this report on its activities relating to the application of the Act. The report covers the period from 01 April 2009 to 31 March 2010.

The purpose of the Privacy Act is to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by government institutions such as the TSB, and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information.

The Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act provides the legal framework that governs TSB activities. Our mandate is to advance transportation safety in the marine, pipeline, rail and air modes of transportation by:

  • conducting independent investigations, including public inquiries when necessary, into selected transportation occurrences in order to make findings as to their causes and contributing factors;
  • identifying safety deficiencies, as evidenced by transportation occurrences;
  • making recommendations designed to eliminate or reduce any such safety deficiencies; and
  • reporting publicly on our investigations and on the findings in relation thereto.

More information on the TSB is available at www.bst-tsb.gc.ca.

The TSB's administration of its Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) activities is in accordance with the government's stated principles that government information should be available to the public with only specific and limited exceptions. Furthermore, the TSB treats personal information in compliance with the code of fair information practice expressed in the Privacy Act.

The majority of formal information requests to the TSB pertain to transportation occurrences and are made pursuant to the Access to Information Act. Such requests present many challenges to the TSB ATIP Office. In many cases, for example, requests are for a copy of the complete investigation file. Depending on the nature and scope of the investigation, there may be many thousands of often complex records in a variety of media. Very often, these files contain a large amount of personal information. As considerable expertise is required in the processing of requests, the TSB ATIP Office function is organized so that ATIP Office analysts are responsible for reviewing and severing all records. This requires that the analysts establish and maintain good working relations with the office of primary interest (OPI) for each request. On an ongoing basis, it also requires that the analysts develop and maintain a strong knowledge of not only the provisions of both Acts but also TSB operations.

The ATIP Office Office operates within the Information Management (IM) Division of Corporate Services. This ensures effective integration of ATIP Office requirements into IM planning, policy development, records management systems and practices, and training and awareness activities.

The ATIP Office Office deals with both formal requests made pursuant to the Act and informal requests, and provides functional advice and guidance to managers and employees concerning the release of information and protection of privacy.

2.0 Delegation of Authority

As required by the legislation, a delegation of authority is in place. For the purposes of the Privacy Act, the "head of the institution" as defined in section 3 of the Act is the Chair. The Chief Operating Officer, the Director General, Corporate Services, and the Manager, Information Management Division have been delegated powers by the Chair deemed appropriate for the effective administration of the Act and to ensure that the TSB meets all its obligations fairly and consistently.

A copy of the Delegation Order is attached as Appendix A.

3.0 Requests for Personal Information

Two (2) formal requests for personal information were received during the current reporting period, compared with four (4) requests during the previous period. Of these, records were fully disclosed to one (1) applicant. The remaining request was carried over to the next fiscal year.

The TSB's policy of openness allows for the disclosure of information to individuals without necessarily requiring that they invoke the Privacy Act. Human Resources officers and support staff handle this kind of request as part of their routine duties.

The TSB remains vigilant in meeting requirements under the Act to protect personal information under its control. This is achieved by ensuring that employees are cognizant of their responsibility to protect the personal information they handle in the course of their duties and by respecting the code of fair information practice enshrined in the legislation.

4.0 Costs

During 2009-2010, the ATIP Office Office incurred an estimated $17,300 in costs to administer the Privacy Act. These costs do not include the resources expended by other areas of the TSB to meet the requirements of the Act.

5.0 Complaints and Investigations

No complaints were received during this reporting period.

6.0 Training and Education

Given the responsibilities and knowledge requirements of the TSB ATIP Office Office, there is a long learning curve for its staff. Continuous on-the-job training is provided to ATIP Office staff to ensure sound and current knowledge of both ATIP Office requirements and procedures and TSB operations.

In terms of external training activities, ATIP Office staff attended the annual Canadian Access and Privacy Association workshop, as well as various workshops organized by the Treasury Board Secretariat throughout the fiscal year. These workshops provided ATIP Office staff with valuable information on trends and best practices within the ATIP Office community, updates on recent complaints and court cases, and tools to help improve service standards within the field.

During the reporting period, the ATIP Office Office provided customized training to employees of the Operational Services Branch at the TSB Laboratory. Approximately 20 TSB employees participated in the training session.

In addition, the TSB has put in place an orientation program for new employees. The ATIP Office Office prepared and presented ATIP Office training in the pilot English and French sessions, and subsequently provided training in one English and one French session to approximately thirty employees. The ATIP Office Office will continue to provide training in future orientation sessions as part of the ongoing program.

7.0 Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

No new or revised privacy-related policies, guidelines or procedures were implemented in the TSB during the reporting period.

8.0 Privacy Impact Assessments

The TSB did not undertake any Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) during the reporting period.

9.0 Disclosures Pursuant to Paragraph 8(2)(m)

The TSB did not disclose any information pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(m) during the reporting period.

10.0 Statistics Required by Treasury Board

The statistics required by the Treasury Board Secretariat are found in Appendix B.

Appendix A - Delegation Order

Appendix A - Delegation Order

Appendix B - Statistical Report

Appendix B - Statistical Report