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Department of Agriculture / Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Routine Access Policy
Approval Date: February 23, 2009
Approved by: Executive Committee
Effective date: April 1, 2009
Revision date: February 10, 2009

1.POLICY STATEMENT
This Routine Access Policy for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (the Departments) provides ann opportunity to obtain certain categories of records without having to submit a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) application. It is administered in accordance with the following principles:
a.Personal Privacy
Records containing the personal information of third parties as defined in the FOIPOP Act will not be disclosed by the Departments outside the FOIPOP Act, unless the personal information has been severed.
b.Timeliness
Departments will respond to routine access requests in a reasonable and timely manner.
c.Cost Recovery
At the discretion of the Departments, fees for the reproduction and provision of records may be charged where authorized by policies, regulations or statutes.
d.Transparency
This policy is available to the public through the Departments' web site or in any other acceptable format.
e.Reasonable
This policy applies only to specific requests for reasonable quantities of records.
2.DEFINITIONS
a.access means the provision of a copy of the record in question or providing a means and opportunity for the applicant to view the record, whichever, in the sole discretion of the Departments, is administratively most efficient;
b. active dissemination is the periodic and proactive release of information or records using mechanisms such as the Internet, libraries, etc. See attached Schedule "A" for examples of actively disseminated information;
c. agreement means an agreement which contains a "consent to disclose" clause;
d. audits mean final audits of Departments' programs;
e. confidential information includes information
(a) that would reveal
    (i) trade secrets of a third party; or
    (ii) commercial, financial, labour relations, scientific or technical information of a third party;
(b) that is supplied, implicitly or explicitly, in confidence; and
(c) the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to
    (i) significantly harm the competitive position or interfere with the negotiating position of the third party;
    (ii) result in similar information no longer being supplied to the public body when it is in the public interest that similar information continue to be supplied;
    (iii) result in undue financial loss or gain to any person or organization; or
    (iv) reveal information supplied to, or the report of, an arbitrator, mediator, labour relations officer or other person or body appointed to resolve or inquire into a labour relations dispute;
f. designate means a Department employee assigned responsibility for administering this policy and processing requests;
g. FOIPOP access is the release of a record in response to a formal FOIPOP application made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
h. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) means an MOU which contains a "consent to disclose" clause;
i. personal information means recorded information about an identifiable individual including the individualís name, address, telephone number; race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religious or political beliefs or associations; age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or family status; an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual; fingerprints, blood type or inheritable characteristics; the individualís health care history; anyone elseís opinions about the individual and the individualís personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else;
j. policy means an approved policy under the mandate of the Departments;
k. record includes books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers, papers and any other thing on which information is recorded or stored by graphic, electronic, mechanical or other means, but does not include a computer program or any other mechanism that produces records. (Clause 3(1)(k) FOIPOP Act);
l. routine access is the release, in full or part, of certain types of administrative or operational records, without the need for a formal application under the FOIPOP Act;
m. routine inspection means an inspection conducted to ensure compliance with an enactment under the mandate of the Departments carried out on a recurring basis such as annually or biannually and includes reinspections carried out to ensure correction of deficiencies identified in a prior inspection.
3.POLICY OBJECTIVES
This policy reflects the spirit of openness and accountability of the FOIPOP Act. The objective is to provide an alternative for access to the records listed in Schedule "B".
4.APPLICATION
a. This policy applies to:
    - all Department employees;
    - Resources-Corporate Services Units (RCSU) - Finance, Human Resources
      and Information Technology; and
    - all agencies, boards, commissions reporting to the Departments and
      defined as public bodies under the FOIPOP Act.
b.This policy applies to records listed in Schedule "B".
c.This policy is effective after April 1, 2009.
d.A request under this policy applies only to the records listed in Schedule "B" created after April 1, 2009.
e.This policy applies only to specific requests for reasonable quantities of records. Recurring requests by a person, whether for the same or different category of records, that result in significant demands on the resources of the Departments will not be subject to the policy. It is important to ensure that the application of this policy does not unduly interfere with the day to day operations of the Departments.
f.Personal and/or confidential information will be severed from records being accessed under this policy, using the same criteria and in the same manner as requests made under the FOIPOP Act.
g.Nothing in this policy means that the Departments are required to create or maintain records not normally in its custody or control.
h.This policy is consistent with the Government Records Act and policies under that Act.
5.POLICY DIRECTIVES
a.The policy will be posted on the Departments' web site.
b.All employees shall be advised of the policy coming into force.
c. Requests for information under this policy should be made to:
Routine Access Designate
Department of Agriculture or Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
P.O. Box 2223
Halifax, NS
B3J 3C4
Telephone: 424-4560
Fax: 424-3948
E-mail: accessaf@gov.ns.ca
d.A tracking system shall be kept by the Designate.
6.POLICY GUIDELINES
a. Requests may be made in person, by phone, mail, fax or email.
b.A person making a request under this policy, shall be required to provide at least the following: name, contact information including mailing address, phone number and specific reference to Schedule "B".
c.Requests for records under this policy are to be made to the Designate.
d.The Designate is responsible to determine if the requests falls under this policy.
e.If the policy applies to the request, records will be provided to the applicant no later than 30 days from receipt of the request.
f.If the policy does not apply to the request, the Designate will notify the requester promptly by phone, fax, email or mail and indicate other avenues that may be available to obtain the information, such as an application under the FOIPOP Act.
g.At the discretion of the Department, a photocopying fee may be charged at a rate of $0.20 (20Ę) per page.
7.ACCOUNTABILITY/EVALUATION
a.The Deputy Minister is accountable for the implementation of this policy.
b.The Executive Committee is responsible for the approval of this policy and the annual review.
c.Senior Management is responsible for ensuring that employees follow the policy directives, guidelines and procedures.
d.Employees are responsible to follow the policy directives, guidelines and procedures.
e.The FOIPOP administrator is responsible for an annual evaluation of the policy.
f.The Designate is responsible for administering requests in accordance with the policy directives, guidelines and procedures.
8.COMPLIANCE
a.The Departments' FOIPOP Administrator is responsible for ensuring policy compliance.
b.This policy may be subject to an audit by the Department of Finance.
9.REFERENCES/AUTHORITY
  This policy is in conjunction with the:
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Government Records Act
Records Management Policy (corporate)
Department of Agriculture / Fisheries and Aquaculture Records Management Policy
10.INQUIRIES
  Routine Access Designate
Department of Agriculture or Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
P.O. Box 2223
Halifax, NS
B3J 3C4
Telephone: 424-4560
Fax: 424-3948
E-mail: accessaf@gov.ns.ca
Department of Agriculture website: http://www.novascotia.ca/agri/
NSAC website: http://www.nsac.ns.ca
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture website: http://www.novascotia.ca/fish/
11.SCHEDULES
  Schedule "A" - Actively Disseminated Records
Schedule "B" - Routine Access Records
 
  Last Update: February 25, 2009