TORONTO, May 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's Information and Privacy
Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, today released her 2012 Annual Report,
highlighting the accomplishments of the Office of the Information and
Privacy Commissioner (IPC) over the past 25 years.
The report shows that 2012 was another very active year for the
protection of privacy and access to information, at the same time, the
costs per provincial personal information requests were substantially
lowered. New records were set for personal information and freedom of
information requests filed, under the three Acts (FIPPA, MFIPPA and PHIPA) falling within the Commissioner's jurisdiction. Also making great
strides last year were the Commissioner's made-in-Ontario concepts of Privacy by Design and Access by Design, which call for proactively embedding privacy and access by default
within operational processes and technologies - right from the outset.
"I have been fortunate to find myself in a unique historical position as
Commissioner during the advent of the Internet — it drastically changed
the very concepts of how we view access and privacy. Advances in
information technology have not only inspired people to develop new
products and services that enhance our lives, they have also given rise
to a backlash by those who wish to erode our privacy and fear a culture
"I firmly believe that the efforts of my office were needed as I look
back on the last 25 years,. Ontarians can be assured that this office
has grown into a first-class agency known around the world for
demonstrating innovation and leadership, in the fields of both access
Dr. Ann Cavoukian
Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario
Below are some of the highlights of the 2012 Annual Report:
Key Statistics of 2012
A new record of 52,831 freedom of information (FOI) requests were made
in 2012, up 17% from 2011's total of 45,159.
The cost per provincial personal information FOI request was reduced
from $11.35 in 2011 to just $4.98 to 2012, a 56% decrease per request.
35% more Access/Correction cases under PHIPA were closed in 2012.
2012 saw a 17% increase in total Municipal FOI requests from 28,001 to
32,860. Provincial FOI requests were up 16% from 17,158 to 19,971.
In 2012, the Ministry of the Environment maintained its place at the top
of the list with the largest number of FOI requests at 6,871.
Of the top 10 municipal institutions to receive FOI requests, eight were
police services boards, which continued to receive, by far, the most
requests under MFIPPA — 19,339.
The Toronto Police Services Board has continued to maintain its
position, since 2009, as the municipal institution that has received
the most FOI requests at 5,168, a six per cent increase from 2011 when
they received 4,862. The board completed 4,863 requests, a three per
cent increase; however, its 30-day compliance rate was 62 per cent
which was significantly lower than the 76.3 per cent they achieved in
In 2012, the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act took effect and hospitals were brought under FIPPA - a historical milestone in the evolution of freedom of information in
Ontario. 937 freedom of information requests were submitted to Ontario
Hospitals. 845 requests were completed, with an extended compliance
rate of 95 per cent.
Key Statistics of 25 Years of IPC Leadership
In its first year (1988), 4,770 provincial freedom of information
requests were made to institutions and 4,247 (89%) were completed. In
2012, 17,158 requests were made and elevated to a 97% rate of
completion, a total of 16,647.
In 1991, the first year of tracking municipal freedom of information
requests, 4,063 were received and 3,714 (91%) were completed. In 2012,
28,001 requests were made and 96% of requests were completed, a total
Commissioner Cavoukian made the following recommendations in the 2012
1) The government should launch a comprehensive review to compile a
list of institutions, including Children's Aid Societies, which are
primarily funded by government but are not yet covered by FIPPA or MFIPPA. This should be followed by a prompt assessment of these institutions -
with the default position being that each institution on the list
should be added to the appropriate Act, unless there are compelling reasons not to add a specific institution.
2) The government should review the provisions of the Election Act to consider what changes need to be made to ensure that only necessary
elector information is collected, with appropriate protections and
oversight in place to guard against improper uses of voter information,
by both individuals and political parties, and to ensure that the
personal information of electors is secured throughout the entire
lifecycle of the data.
3) To ensure that strong privacy protections are embedded into all
sectors of the government, the Commissioner urges the government of
Ontario to mandate that a Privacy by Design approach be adopted for all new information technologies, business
practices, and operational processes in the Ontario Public Service and
broader public sector.
The Year of the Innovator - Privacy Enables Innovation
The Commissioner continued to advance the international standard of Privacy by Design (PbD) in 2012. Here are some highlights of the accomplishments:
PbD continued to spread across the world receiving further recognition from
organizations such as U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European
Data Protection privacy standards committee.
The Commissioner released Operationalizing Privacy by Design: A Guide to Implementing Strong
Privacy Practices, which provides an anthology of real-world experiences, lessons
learned, and successes encountered in implementing the PbD framework in nine different application areas.
The Commissioner co-hosted the first SmartData International Symposium at the University of Toronto, which featured
speakers and experts from across North America examining how SmartData will serve to protect privacy in the future.
Recommendations for Elections Ontario
The Commissioner was asked to investigate the loss of two Elections
Ontario USB keys containing the unencrypted personal information of up
to 2.4 million Ontarians. The Commissioner recommended concrete steps
that Elections Ontario needed to undertake in three areas to enhance
the protection of personal information and restore the trust of
Ontarians. These recommendations were accepted unreservedly, and
Elections Ontario has made significant progress in implementing them -
including the appointment of a Chief Privacy Officer. To illustrate the lessons learned by this incident the Commissioner
released a new paper following her investigative report entitled, A Policy is Not Enough: It Must be Reflected in Concrete Practices, a guide which outlines a proactive Privacy by Design approach to reducing the risk of privacy harms arising in the first
Raising Concerns Over Unlawful Access
Last year was extremely significant in the battle to ensure the privacy
rights of Canadians. From holding a public symposium to accepting
numerous speaking engagements, to media interviews, Commissioner
Cavoukian worked to raise awareness of the serious privacy implications
of online surveillance in the proposed federal "warrantless access"
legislation (Bill C-30). It was indeed a great relief when it announced
that it was withdrawing the bill and would not be moving forward with
the proposed legislation. A huge success!
In-depth Local Statistics
A more detailed look at FOI compliance rates, requests, appeals and
privacy statistics is available in the online section of the
Commissioner's Annual Report. This lists specific 2012 statistics for
Ontario's ministries, agencies and local government institutions
covered under the Acts, such as municipalities, universities,
hospitals, and police services. The annual report is available here: http://annualreport.ipc.on.ca/.
About the IPC
The Information and Privacy Commissioner is appointed by and reports to
the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada, and is independent of the
government of the day. The Commissioner's mandate includes overseeing
the access and privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the Personal Health Information Protection Act, which applies to both public and private sector health information
custodians. The Commissioner's mandate includes educating the public
about access and privacy issues.
SOURCE: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
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