Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
The purpose of the
Access to Information Act (ATIA) is to enhance the accountability and transparency of federal institutions in order to promote an open and democratic society and to enable public debate on the conduct of those institutions. In furtherance of that purpose, Part 1 of the
ATIA extends the present laws of Canada to provide a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government. Part 2 of the
ATIA sets out requirements for the proactive publication of information.
This annual report was prepared and submitted in accordance with sections 94(1) and 94(2) of the
ATIA as well as Section 20 of the
Service Fees Act and covers the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
Under its legislation, OSFI’s mandate is:
OSFI advances a regulatory framework designed to control and manage risk.
OSFI supervises federally regulated financial institutions and pension plans to determine whether they are in sound financial condition and meeting regulatory and supervisory requirements.
OSFI promptly advises financial institutions and pension plans if there are material deficiencies and takes corrective measures or requires that they be taken to expeditiously address the situation.
OSFI monitors and evaluates system-wide or sectoral developments that may have a negative impact on the financial condition of federally regulated financial institutions.
OSFI acts to protect the rights and interests of depositors, policyholders, financial institution creditors and pension plan beneficiaries while having due regard for the need to allow financial institutions to compete effectively and take reasonable risks.
OSFI recognizes that management, boards of directors and pension plan administrators are ultimately responsible for risk decisions, that financial institutions can fail, and pension plans can experience financial difficulties resulting in the loss of benefits.
In fulfilling its mandate, OSFI supports the government’s objective of contributing to public confidence in the Canadian financial system.
The Office of the Chief Actuary is an independent unit within OSFI that provides a range of actuarial valuation and advisory services to the Government of Canada. In conducting its work, the OCA plays a vital and independent role towards a financially sound and sustainable Canadian public retirement income system.
Primary to OSFI’s mandate and central to its contribution to Canada’s financial system are two strategic outcomes:
For the purposes of the
Access to Information Act, the head of OSFI is the Superintendent and the responsible minister is the Minister of Finance.
The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Unit is part of the Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Directorate within the Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) Division. The unit is responsible for administering the Act for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). As such, the ATIP unit coordinates the timely processing of requests under the legislation, handles complaints lodged with the Information Commissioner, and responds to informal inquiries. The ATIP unit also provides advice and guidance to Office staff on matters involving the Act.
The Manager, Privacy and Access to Information reports to the Director, EIM and is supported by a senior ATIP Officer, an ATIP Officer and a Junior ATIP Officer. The ATIP unit also relied upon the support of contract and student resources.
There were no significant institutional changes to the administration of the
Access to Information Act to report during this reporting period. Effective FY 2021-2022, the ATIP unit will report to the Director, Strategic Governance, ATIP and Privacy Offices.
Training efforts in 2020-2021 have been focused on ensuring OSFI staff understand their roles and responsibilities in the effective management and protection of OSFI’s information resources as an enabler in the delivery of the ATI program through a combination of presentations, information sessions and information bulletins. Training efforts focused on ATIP awareness for new OSFI staff as part of an Information Management and ATIP awareness program (5 sessions, 54 participants) as well as tailored sessions for participants in the processes stemming from proactive disclosure requirements as set out in the Act (2 sessions, 2 participants). In addition, project-specific ATIP training sessions were held to reinforce core
ATIA principles and responsibilities with key stakeholders (4 sessions, 96 users).
All formal Access to Information requests are submitted to the Manager, Privacy and Access to Information, who reviews and assigns them to an ATIP Officer. The Officer requests the information from the appointed sectoral ATIP Liaison Officer(s) concerned. In gathering the material and subsequently reviewing it, the ATIP Office provides advice and direction to ensure that the provisions of the Act are respected.
Assembled material is reviewed by the ATIP Officer and the Manager, Privacy and Access to Information. The material and the recommendations pertaining to each request are then submitted to the program area for validation. Once agreed to, the release package is submitted to the Assistant Superintendent, Corporate Services for review and approval.
Delegation orders set out which powers, duties and functions relating to the administration of the
Access to Information Act, have been delegated by the head of the institution, and to whom. Administration of the
Access to Information Act at OSFI is the responsibility of the Superintendent. The authority to claim exemptions and to issue various statutory notices has been delegated to the Assistant Superintendent, Corporate Services. The authority to issue various statutory notices has also been delegated to the Director, Enterprise Information Management and the Manager, Privacy and Access to Information. A copy of the delegation order may be found in Appendix B.
The time taken to process access to information requests is tracked in the ATIP tracking system. The ATIP caseload is reviewed monthly with the Director, EIM and the proposed final responses to ATI requests are ultimately reviewed and approved by the Assistant Superintendent, Corporate Services. Concerns are raised as appropriate throughout the lifecycle of the request and priority is given to fulfilling OSFI’s statutory obligations.
There were no significant changes to ATIP programs, operations policies, or procedures in 2020-2021. OSFI’s existing Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) polices and infrastructure allowed the organization to avoid any significant disruptions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and have had little effect on OSFI’s ability to fulfill its Access to Information responsibilities. With the closure of OSFI’s offices on March 13th, 2020, employees were no longer able to access paper files. Requests received by OSFI through the mail are retrieved by the Manager, Access to Information and Privacy on a weekly basis. Another change of note is that effective April 1st, 2021, the ATIP team will report to the Director, Strategic Governance Office in the Communications and Corporate Affairs division. This organizational change will be addressed in greater detail in the 2021-2022 annual report.
In accordance with the
Access to Information Act, a public reading room is available in Ottawa. It is located at 255 Albert Street, on the 16th floor. The reading room was not available to the public as of March 13th, 2020 due to necessary restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the nature of OSFI’s work regulating financial institutions and private pension plans under federal jurisdiction, much of the information in its possession is third-party information about these supervised institutions and pension plans.
OSFI saw a 35.9% increase in ATI requests received in 2020-2021 - 53 requests were received compared to the 39 requests received the year prior. 44 requests were closed in 2020-2021. 8 requests were outstanding from the previous reporting period and 17 requests were carried over to the next year. Since the inception of the Act to March 31, 2020, OSFI has received 1,331 Access to Information requests.
The profile of requesters has also changed in 2020-2021, with an increase from requestors identifying themselves as businesses (16 in 2020-2021, up 60% compared to 10 in 2019-2020). Request from the media remained constant at 15.
The number of informal requests completed in 2020-2021 was 42% lower than the previous year (10 in 2020-2021 compared to 17 in 2019-2020).
The following table summarizes the actions taken with respect to the completed requests:
For the 2020-2021 reporting period, 2.27% of completed requests were “all disclosed” and 61.36% of completed requests were “disclosed in part”.
Parts of the records were subject to exemptions. In every case, where applicable, the applicant was given access to the remaining portion of the records relevant to the request.
There was a marked decrease in both the number of pages processed (1827 in 2020-2021 compared to 66,366 in 2019-2020) and the number of pages disclosed (776 in 2020-2021 compared to 3,660 in 2019-2020). These figures do not include the pages processed and reviewed (approximately 25.000) for requests carried over to the next reporting period.
In the 2020-2021 reporting year, for the 44 requests completed, OSFI applied exemptions to withhold information under subsections 13(1)(a)(b), 14(a), 15(1), 16(1)(c), 16(2), 16(2)(c), 18(a)(b) and (d), 19(1), 20(1)(b), (c) and (d), 21(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) and 23 of the Act, as applicable.
Subsections 69(1)(g) re (a) and (e) were each applied once.
Responses for 28 requests were provided in electronic format.
1,827 pages were processed, and 776 pages were disclosed during the reporting period. In 2020-2021, the majority of requests (27) resulted in partial disclosure. 1 request was all disclosed, 1 request was abandoned, 1 request resulted in a response of neither confirm nor deny and 1 request resulted in a response of all excluded. The remaining 10 requests were not counted in this section as OSFI held no responsive records.
97.7% of all requests closed in 2020-2021 were closed within legislated timelines. There was 1 request for which a response was provided past the statutory deadline due to a delay related to an internal consultation. The rate of deemed refusals has decreased this year over last reporting period – 1 of 44 (2.3%) compared to 3 of 42 (7.1%) in the previous year.
No translations were requested in 2020-2021.
1 request required extensions of 30 days or less for:
4 request required extensions of 31 days to 60 days for:
3 requests required an extension of 61 to 120 days for:
11 requests required an extension of 121 to 180 days for:
1 request required an extension of 181 to 365 days for:
3 requests required extensions of 365 days or more for:
The Service Fees Act requires a responsible authority to report annually to Parliament on the fees collected by the institution. With respect to fees collected under the
Access to Information Act, the information below is reported in accordance with the requirements of section 20 of the Service Fees Act.
Application fees of $225.00 were collected for 45 of the 53 requests received over this period. The total amount of fees waived was $40.00.
In accordance with the Interim Directive on the Administration of the
Access to Information Act, issued on May 5, 2016, and the changes to the
Access to Information Act that came into force on June 21, 2019, OSFI waives all fees prescribed by the Act and Regulations, other than the $5 application fee set out in paragraph 7(1)(a) of the Regulations.
In 2020-2021, OSFI saw a 28.5% decrease in the number of consultations received, 37, compared to 49 the previous year. This may have been due to disruptions to ATIP departments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 32 consultations were processed during this reporting period, compared to 49 in the previous year. In total, 726 pages were reviewed, a decrease of 50.1% from 2019-2020.
23 consultations were processed within 1 to 15 days, 7 were processed within 16 to 30 days and 2 were processed within 31-60 days. 5 consultations were carried over to the next reporting period. OSFI recommended that the records contained in 22 consultations be disclosed in their entirety, 8 be disclosed in part and 2 requests be exempted entirely.
In the last 7 years, OSFI has responded to 232 of the requests within 1 to 15 days, 55 within 16 to 30 days, 12 within 31 to 60 days and 1 within 61 to 120 days.
In 2020-2021, OSFI did not receive any consultations from organization outside the government of Canada.
OSFI did not consult on Cabinet Confidences during the reporting period.
The cost to administer the Act during the reporting period was $508,525. Due to the volume and increasing complexity of the requests received in 2020-2021, OSFI employed multiple agency-supplied consultants to supplement its small ATIP team and ensure the delivery of Access to Information requests within statutory timelines. Employee salaries accounted for 69.6% of total costs incurred, and represent 69.6% of the 4.37 person/years required to administer the Act. OSFI’s reliance on agency-supplied consultants is diminishing as a result of hiring employees, representing only 25.7% of the total cost.
There were 6 new complaints received during the reporting period. 4 complaints under investigation were closed during the same period and the Information Commissioner provided OSFI with their findings. At the end of the reporting period, there were 4 complaints still under investigation by the Office of the Information Commissioner.
The Information Commissioner of Canada did not raise any concerns or issues related to OSFI, therefore no major changes were implemented.
No major changes were implemented by OSFI, as other agents of Parliament did not raise any concerns or issues.
There were no access to information related applications or appeals to the Federal Court or the Federal Court of Appeal during this fiscal year related to OSFI.
Name of institution: Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
Reporting period: 4/1/2020 to 3/31/2021
Note: All requests previously recorded as “treated informally” will now be accounted for in this section only.
Name of institution: Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2021-03-31
Enter the number of weeks your institution was able to receive ATIP requests through the different channels.
Access to Information Act Designation Order
By this order made pursuant to section 73 of the
Access to Information Act, I hereby authorize those officers and employees of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions occupying, on an acting basis or otherwise, the positions identified within the attached schedule to perform on my behalf any of the powers, duties or functions specified therein.
This designation replaces and repeals all previous orders.
Dated in Ottawa on this 5 day of July, 2016
Arrêté sur la délégation en vertu de la
Loi sur l’accès à l’information
Par le présent arrêté pris en vertu de l’article 73 de la
Loi sur l’accès à l’information, j’autorise les agents et les employés du Bureau du surintendant des institutions financières occupant, par intérim ou autrement, les postes identifiés dans l’annexe ci-jointe à exercer en mon nom, les attributions, les fonctions et les pouvoirs qui y sont spécifiés.
Le présent document remplace et annule tous les arrêtés antérieurs.
Fait à Ottawa en ce 5 jour de juillet, 2016
Superintendent of Financial Institutions/ Le surintendant des institutions financières