Access to Information and Privacy
Directive / Procedures Concerning Section 67.1 of the Access to Information Act
Through Bill C-208, which was proclaimed on March 25, 1999, section 67.1 was added to the Access to Information Act (ATIA) to provide sanctions for any person who destroys, alters, falsifies or conceals a record, or directs anyone to do so, with the intent of obstructing the right of access that is provided by the ATIA.
On March 25, 1999 the Treasury Board Secretariat issued Implementation Report Number 65 to all Access to Information and Privacy Coordinators by which government institutions were instructed to immediately notify their employees of section 67.1 and of their responsibilities in relation to it.
Following notification to employees, government institutions were then required to develop, implement and communicate policies and procedures that their employees were to follow in the case of a suspected violation of section 67.1.
When the Federal Accountability Act received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006 the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) became subject to the ATIA, effective April 1, 2007. Therefore, all policy, guidelines and directives issued by the Treasury Board Secretariat with respect to the ATIAnow equally apply to the OPC—including those with respect to section 67.1 of the ATIA.
The purpose of this Directive is to provide clear direction to OPC staff as to the procedures that must be followed with respect to any violation or suspected violation of section 67.1.
Direction / Procedures
- records and information collected, created or otherwise obtained by OPC employees in the performance of their duties for the OPC, are and remain the property of the OPC;
- the ATIAprovides individuals and corporations the right of access to records under the control of the OPC subject only to limited and specific exemptions which permit the denial of access to some or all of a requested record;
- possible contraventions of section 67.1 of the ATIA will be treated by the OPC in the same manner as a suspected theft, destruction of property or other security breach which may involve criminal activity (Note: the Treasury Board Government Security Policy is available at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/gospubs/TBM_12A/gsp-psg_e.cfm);
- employees must immediately report any suspected or known destruction, alteration, falsification, or concealment of records to the appropriate “designated official”;
- the primary “designated official” is the Director of the OPC’s Access to Information and Privacy Unit;
- the Assistant Commissioners, all Directors General, all Directors of the OPC and the Departmental Security Officer are also “designated officials” for the purposes of this directive;
- “designated officials” must act immediately in order to stop any alleged improper activity and shall immediately notify the Departmental Security Officer;
- the Departmental Security Officer must notify the proper law enforcement agency;
- all employees involved in witnessing, reporting, or investigating a violation or suspected violation of section 67.1 of the ATIA will be required to provide the Departmental Security Officer and/or the investigating police agency with a written account of the incident and will be expected to cooperate with any inquiry or investigation being conducted;
- confirmed violation of section 67.1 of the ATIAon the part of any OPC employee will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.