ATIP action plan

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​W​e are working hard to improve Access to Information at LAC. For a number of years, we have faced significant challenges in providing timely access to over 200 km of historical records from over 300 active and defunct federal departments and agencies, dating back to the 19th century. Access to the historical records of the Government of Canada (GC) is a key component of LAC’s mandate. It is a cornerstone of an open and democratic society, and ensures government accountability and transparency in its policies, decision-making and the delivery of its programs and services. Here is more information on how LAC supports GC information management and disposition.

The Information Commissioner of Canada conducted a systemic investigation into our difficulties in meeting the deadlines set out in the Access to Information Act and produced two reports on April 26, 2022:

In the reports, the Information Commissioner recognized that the unique role we play on behalf of the Government of Canada is subject to both internal and external factors. To this effect, the Commissioner made ten recommendations to address Access to Information at LAC while also drawing Parliament’s attention to two broader challenges facing Canada’s access to information system: interdepartmental consultations and the lack of a government-wide framework for declassifying records.

Here is our ATIP Action Plan to address our internal systemic issues and contribute to solutions for the broader, government-wide challenges. Our new ATIP Task Force is responsible for implementing this plan.

This action plan provides the foundation for initiating important changes to LAC-ATIP, but tangible results will still take time. We will keep you informed along the way by providing two progress reports each year.

Part 1 - Getting back on track

Address the ATIP request backlog and respond to the queue of complaints forwarded from the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC).

Goal Actions
Decrease backlog
  1. Hire surge of additional staff within ATIP and supporting functions to help LAC begin to address its backlog of ATIP requests from Canadians.
  2. Reduce the current backlog of requests that have not met the deadlines set out in the Access to Information Act.
Reduce queue of OIC complaints
  1. Create a new LAC complaints response team and devote increased resources to begin to address LAC’s backlog of complaints.
  2. Address a growing number of OIC complaints.

These actions will help us address OIC recommendations 1, 3 and 4.

Part 2 - Internal review and improvements

Revolutionize how ATIP is done at LAC.

Goal Actions
Renew our policies and processes
  1. Review our ATIP policies to support new ways of conducting ATIP business and improve work processes to ensure a more robust, sustainable and efficient way of processing ATIP requests.
  2. Continually assess and update our current ATIP capacity as we make internal changes to our processes, and be transparent by regularly sharing our current service capacity with the public.
  3. Align our access to information approaches with other comparable national and provincial approaches.
  4. Change our approach for consultations with other federal institutions to:
    • perform a more detailed analysis of information at the start
    • better inform what we consult on, the types of questions we ask, our timelines and how we monitor them
    • establish procedures to take action if consultations are not returned in the original projected timeframe
Invest in IT
  1. Continue to improve our secure infrastructure for processing secret, top secret, and other sensitive records.
  2. Test and implement new technologies to streamline how we process ATIP requests. These technologies include the Government of Canada's ATIP Online Portal, the new ATIP Request Processing Software Solution (RPSS), and other opportunities such as optical character recognition (OCR) or artificial intelligence (AI).
  3. Leverage data from different sources to transform and improve our ATIP case management process, and provide new opportunities to forecast and track useful client service data.
Ensure business stability and continuity
  1. Make our ATIP service more resilient in instances where normal operations are disrupted by factors beyond our control.
  2. Deploy new teams dedicated to supporting our various new ATIP business lines, including litigation and class action settlement support, and upfront planning for records access to help veterans apply for benefits in a timely way.
  3. Assess our long-term operational and strategic outlook and develop an investment plan that ensures we are equipped to deliver high-quality ATIP services to Canadians well into the future.

These actions will help us address OIC recommendations 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9.

Part 3 - Engage with external partners on broader issues affecting ATIP

Evolve LAC-ATIP with the help of our clients, government partners, and international best practices.

Goal Actions
Engage with Government of Canada partners
  1. Work with other Government of Canada institutions to explore ways to improve the efficiency of the consultation process for ATIP packages.
  2. Explore opportunities to increase the use of our delegated authority and develop in-house expertise to allow us to better exercise our delegated authority. The judicious use of consultations will continue when in-depth knowledge from the originating institution is required.
  3. Continue to be a central contributing partner in the Public Safety-led interdepartmental working group on declassification, by providing strategic advice and ongoing support to pilot projects as necessary.
  4. Continue to engage with Treasury Board Secretariat to advance the development of a whole-of-government approach to declassification.
Engage with international organizations
  1. Explore international best practices, standards and success stories to inform our review and improvements to ATIP processes and policies. This includes interacting with institutions in other jurisdictions and Canada’s allies within the “Five Eyes”.
Engage with clients and the public
  1. Put our clients first by understanding and serving them better. We will survey their needs, test alternate approaches, and promote agility and innovation in the way we provide ATIP service.
  2. Consult with key client groups (e.g. media, researchers) on LAC-ATIP services, processes and ongoing improvements.
  3. Improve our digital service delivery by sending more records to clients in electronic format, and improving how we track our ATIP client services.

These actions will help us address OIC recommendations 1, 2, 4 and 7.