I hope everyone had a great long weekend!
With Family Day behind us, it’s time to prepare your Year-End Annual Statistical Report.
Year-End Statistical Reporting to IPCO
If your institution is in Ontario, responds to freedom of information requests, and is not a federal agency or otherwise regulated by the access-to-information framework under the federal Access to Information Act, you have an obligation to file a statistical report every year with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO).
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) impose requirements on institutions to submit annual statistics to IPCO. (Health information custodians under Personal Health Information Protection Act and service providers under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act also have separate reporting requirements of their own.)
The deadline to file the annual statistical report with IPCO is March 31 of each year. This means that the report for the previous year should be filed by March 31 of the current year. For example, the report covering January 1 to December 31, 2022 must be filed by March 31, 2023. (Note that PHIPA privacy breach statistics are due earlier, on March 1, whereas annual statistical reporting for access and correction requests under FIPPA, MFIPPA, CYFSA and PHIPA are all due March 31.)
You must submit your report online at IPCO’s Annual Statistics Submission Website. IPCO no longer accepts statistical reports by fax or email. It is a good idea to ensure you have a working login and password now, so you aren’t in a rush as the deadline approaches. And it’s always a good idea to submit your annual statistics online well before the deadline to reduce the chance of any technical issues interfering with the timely submission of your report.
IPCO provides a FIPPA workbook and an MFIPPA workbook which provide details on what statistics must be submitted. IPCO suggests “you may find it easier to complete the workbook manually and then complete the online form.”
The IPCO Annual Statistical Reporting FAQ is another useful resource, especially if this is your first time preparing and submitting the report.
Using the FOI Assist software to complete the Annual Statistical Report
If you have been using the FOI Assist software for the whole year, completing your annual statistical report worksheet is as easy as clicking a button: Just go to the home screen (the File Selection Screen) and click on the “Annual Statistical Report” button. The system will produce the completed annual statistical report worksheet automatically.
If you only started using the FOI Assist software part-way through the relevant year, you may have to add requests that were processed before you started using the software (from the home screen, click on “File Management” then “Add Closed File Info”). Alternatively, you can modify the statistics presented on the worksheet to reflect requests that were processed outside of the system, and the FOI Assist software will update the totals for you.
In either case, the FOI Assist software can save you days or even weeks of work every year when it comes time to submit your annual statistical report. If you’d like to get started with the FOI Assist software ahead of next year’s annual statistical report, please contact me directly or request a demonstration of the software.
Completing the Annual Statistical Report manually
If you are still processing FOI requests manually, the FOI Assist File Closing Worksheet can be helpful. Although primarily intended to be used each time a file is closed to make completing your annual statistical report easier at the end of the year, the File Closing Worksheet can also be a helpful tool for gathering all the relevant statistics for each file you have processed over the past year.
You may consider using the File Closing Worksheet whenever you close a file in the future, to make doing next year’s annual statistical report all that much easier.
It’s time for you to see the FOI Assist software
When designing a software solution intended to help people perform a service, I believe there is no substitute for having first done the work yourself. The FOI Assist software was created by the lawyer who managed the Freedom of Information program at the TORONTO 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games.
Completing the annual report automatically is a popular feature, but this only scratches the surface of what the FOI Assist software can do for you.
See the FOI Assist software for yourself! You will be amazed at how it can lighten the burden of running a Freedom of Information program. Request a demo today, or contact Justin Petrillo with any questions you may have.
I look forward to hearing from you.