Position Profile

Job Title:  FOIP Coordinator

Work Unit:  Corporate Services Division, Informatics Branch, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Unit

Ministry:  Alberta Environment and Parks

Competition Number:  1041436

Date:  March 2017
 

Position Summary

 

The FOIP Coordinator’s role focuses on ensuring the timely provision of privacy and access related services, activities and supports under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) legislation by administering the FOIP Act (Alberta) on behalf of the Ministry of Environment and Parks (AEP). The role requires an ability to deal strategically with sensitive information, often of a political nature, in a manner that is acceptable to the Ministry and compliant with the intent of the access and privacy legislation. Reporting to the Director of Information Management Strategy, the FOIP Coordinator is the FOIP Coordinator for AEP and is responsible for the delivery of FOIP on the basis of acknowledged expertise, and to a great extent operates with independence due to the high degree of expertise required.

This position is responsible for the management of the FOIP Unit and for providing leadership and direction to the Ministry in the provision of services pertaining to access and privacy. The position leads, coaches and develops staff within the FOIP Unit and manages the issues and challenges related to service delivery and unit resource allocation.

An important aspect of this role is developing collaborative working relationships within the Ministry, with other ministries and with diverse external partners.

The FOIP Coordinator represents the Ministry on cross-government committees and initiatives related to access and privacy matters to ensure the Ministry’s business interests are incorporated.

The FOIP Coordinator directs and leads liaisons with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) on matters related to reviews of, and inquiries into, the Ministry’s response to access requires, inquiries and investigations. This position operates within the context of various legislative requirements and case precedents, government policy and the practical realities of the ministry business.

This position is a key contributor to the development of the Information Management Strategy. As a leader, the FOIP Coordinator is accountable for achieving FOIP business plan goals and contributing to the corporate goals and core business requirements of the Ministry and government.

Specific Accountabilities

  1.

Planning, implementing and maintaining the FOIP program within AEP, and affiliated public bodies, to ensure compliance with requirements of the legislation.

Activities involved include:

  • Making decisions regarding the administration of the FOIP Act (content of responses, response time extensions, fee estimates, third party notifications, etc.) through delegated responsibility by the Minister of AEP, and affiliated public bodies. Makes recommendations to delegated heads regarding disclosure of information and protection of personal information.
  • Providing consultations of formal and informal requests, and of monitoring programs for compliance. As business units develop and undertake new initiatives, there is often a need to ensure they are meeting the requirements of the FOIP legislation. The FOIP Coordinator not only provides advice on the development of strategies or frameworks for these initiatives to ensure compliance, but to actively pursue the development of a privacy-conscious culture within the Ministry through a variety of initiatives and processes.
  • Providing advice on the implications of information management related activities such as open data and open government (routine disclosure or active dissemination) initiatives, contracts, legislation development, surveys, public consultations, new or updated systems to foster an understanding of access and privacy implications.
  • Representing the Ministry on various cross-government committees and initiatives.
  • Providing for delivery of training and awareness sessions necessary to foster an understanding among staff of their responsibilities under the FOIP Act.
     
  2.

Providing leadership in the management of access requests.

This involves:

  • Creating and maintaining an open communication process with the Minister, Deputy Minister, Assistant Deputy Ministers, Branch Directors and the Communications Director. Briefings and meetings with these entities are dependent on the specific issues.
  • Providing expert advice and recommendations regarding the ability to except from disclosure any sensitive information, while keeping in mind compliance with legislation. There is often a need to advice of the potential strategies that may be necessary regarding sensitive disclosures.
     
  3.

Managing the FOIP Unit and Ministry’s response to access requests made under the FOIP Act to ensure they are provided in compliance with the legislation, and to assist the public in accessing information under the legislation.

This includes:

  • Lead a specialized FOIP Unit; responsible and accountable for the manner in which the team responds to access requests and privacy concerns.
  • Ensuring the FOIP Unit promotes the intent of the legislation regarding the transparency and accountability of government.
  • Directing and representing the interests of the Ministry and supported bodies in any reviews, inquiries and investigations before the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
  • Representing the views of the Ministry regarding consultation for release of information requests by other public bodies.
  • Conducting investigations into breach of privacy complaints received by the Ministry or by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) or in conjunction with the staff of the Commissioner’s office for complaints they receive.
  • Directing administrative matters for the FOIP Unit, including financial, information management, contract and human resource management.
  • Ensuring the goals and priorities of the unit are integrated and aligned with the overall branch and Ministry strategic business planning initiatives and government direction.
     
  4.

Providing leadership in the development and maintenance of policies, guidelines and procedures related to the application of access and privacy legislation.

This includes:

  • Ensuring FOIPP Advisory and administrators promote awareness and compliance with the Government of Alberta policies and directives and that the privacy of third parties is appropriately protected.
  • Building understanding, consensus and commitment among technical experts and business units.

Knowledge / Experience

 

This position requires in-depth knowledge of the FOIP Act (Alberta) and Regulation and a broad knowledge of the following related legislation, frameworks, initiatives, orders and practices:

  • Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Federal)
  • Privacy Act (Federal)
  • Access and Privacy legislation (other provinces)
  • Information and Privacy Commissioner Orders (Alberta and other provinces)
  • Health Information Act
  • Government Organization Act; Records Management Regulation
  • Personal Information Protection Act
  • GoA IT Security Policy and Baseline Requirement
  • GoA FOIP Guidelines and Practices
  • GoA Information Management Framework
  • GoA Protecting People’s Personal Information (PPPI) Initiative

The position takes broad legislative or GoA policy direction and develops Ministry strategies, policies and practices consistent with that direction. In FOIP the Act and previous case precedents (departmentally and in the GoA) are considered and applied in accordance with the facts and various particular situations.

Experience:

  • Legislative interpretation and administration skills.
  • Ability to plan and lead strategic initiatives, manage change and negotiate innovative solutions to complex, diverse challenges.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and analytical problem solving, consensus building, and decision making abilities.
  • Established interpersonal, communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to build and maintain collaborative working relationships within the organization, within GoA and with applicants while balancing the needs and interests of various parties.
  • Demonstrated organizational and project management abilities.
  • Team building skills with a commitment to create and support a positive an healthy work environment.

Knowledge:

  • Broad knowledge of trends and key themes in the access and privacy field, including similar legislation in other jurisdictions.
  • Broad knowledge of the department’s legislation and related policies and procedures as well as the enabling legislation and Ministerial Orders.
  • General knowledge of the financial, administrative, human resource systems and business planning processes and procedures.

Education:

  • University degree in business, public management, public administration, law or other related area (or coursework in each of those areas) or equivalent experience working with FOIP legislation.
  • Extensive related management experience in a government context with demonstrated strengths in strategic leadership and formulating, interpreting and administering policies and legislation.
  • Completion of the University of Alberta’s Information Access and Protection of Privacy (IAPP) Certificate for candidates who are relatively new to the area of FOIP is highly desirable.

Leadership and Business Know-How

 
  • This position requires a depth of experience and expertise to handle difficult situations and manage initiatives to their completion.
  • In-depth knowledge of the FOIP Act, and provincial privacy legislation.
  • Strong ability to interpret program legislation, especially as it relates to and interacts with the FOIP Act such as paramountcy provisions with AEP enactments.
  • Ability to provide timely privacy and access related services, activities and supports by administering the FOIP Act on behalf of the Department of Environment and Parks and its agencies, board and commissions.
  • Ability to identify and work strategically to resolve politically sensitive issues. This position directs the management of highly complex access to information requests in a Ministry that has custody of large quantities of economic, financial, assessment and operational information that belongs to industry.
  • Broad understanding of the business requirements in order to ensure the Ministry’s issues and concerns are addressed within these initiatives.
  • Ability to assess complex situations quickly and provide direction to FOIP Advisors and advice to Ministry staff, the Minister, the Executive Team and branch heads.
  • Ability to lead and manage change and negotiate innovative strategic solutions to complex and diverse issues, such as determining whether and in what manner access or privacy interests are affected by new Ministry initiatives, various electronic mobile devices, identifying and analyzing information flows and data elements as components of data systems (departmental, interdepartmental or external) will be critical to the development of thorough FOIP considerations including the risks posed by potential privacy infractions and the amount of protection required to meet the risks.
  • Proven management experience and team building skills in order to create, support and sustain an environment to enable staff to achieve results.
  • Ability to be creative and progressive in the promotion and ongoing evolution of the FOIP program.
  • Proven analytical, problem solving, mediation and issue resolution abilities.
  • Ability to develop privacy awareness through an influence-based approach. The Privacy responsibilities of this position include directing and leading a privacy conscious culture within the ministry and managing the provision of services with respect to the privacy requirements of the FOIP Act, protection of information, and information security, as well as promoting the continuous improvement of the Ministry’s privacy, protected information and information security practices.
  • Strong leadership and strategic planning skills.
  • Strong organizational skills and the flexibility to apply those skills in changing environments.
  • Working knowledge of a wide variety of services and an understanding of how these services support program delivery within ministries.

The FOIP Manger’s role focuses on ensuring the timely provision of privacy and access related services, activities and supports under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) legislation by administering the FOIP Act on behalf of the Department of Environment and Parks and its agencies, boards and commissions. The role requires an ability to deal strategically with sensitive information, often of a political nature, in a manner that is acceptable to the Ministry and compliant with the intent of the access and privacy legislation. Reporting to the Director of Information Management Strategy, the FOIP Coordinator is responsible for the delivery of FOIP on the basis of acknowledged expertise, and to a great extent operates with independence due to the high degree of expertise required. The Director of Information Management Strategy may be involved in areas where the need arises.

Problem Solving

 

The FOIP Coordinator’s role is to provide leadership to AEP with respect to access and privacy and is required to deal consistently with a number of unique situations that may arise within the Department or affiliated bodies, whether as the result of privacy issues related to the development of new initiatives, alleged privacy breaches, or issues that arise as the result of needing to manage and respond to requests for information that is of a highly sensitive nature.

The FOIP Manger is often presented with a number of highly complex situations that depend on the ability to interpret various pieces of access and privacy legislation, regulations and protocols, and their intersection points with Ministry legislation. This must be balanced with the ability to offer a pragmatic and easily understood response that meets the needs of the Ministry in an appropriate manner.

The FOIP Coordinator is often required to provide analysis regarding the disclosure of sensitive information and outline or identify changes to business practices due to the implications of the legislation, and of the interpretations brought through the issuance of Orders and investigations by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

As the GoA moves increasingly towards the use of electronic service delivery, additional complex issues are evolving. This requires input that is pragmatic in approach, yet demonstrates an understanding of the subtleties and complexities inherent in dealing with expectations regarding protection of sensitive and personal information.

Specifics include:

  • Promoting change and re-shaping corporate culture in terms of access management and privacy matters.
  • Providing leadership in the development and implementation of various activities and processes to support Ministry accountability related to privacy and access requests within tight statutory timelines.
  • Resolving issues that arise in the processing of access requests.
  • Identifying and proposing strategic ways on dealing with politically sensitive and controversial access requests and privacy matters.
  • Analyzing and resolving complex policy and legislative matters.
  • Providing consultation on contractual and research agreements.

Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Internal

Director, Information Management Strategy

Ongoing

Provide unit status reports, strategic plans and issues or concerns.

Minister, Deputy Minister, Executive Team, Senior Leadership Team

As required Operation and strategic issue management; provide analysis, interpretation, advice, options, alternatives and recommendations.

Director, Managers, Staff

Ongoing Provide consultation services on policy, contracts, agreements, delivery of programs pertaining to FOIP access and privacy implications.

Legal Services

Ongoing Obtain legal advice on access or privacy matters, including new legislation where warranted.

Senior Records Officer

Ongoing Records issues associated with FOIP requests. Obtain records management advice. Provide a heads-up on projects that may have records management implications.
External

General public/stakeholders (e.g. media, opposition, interest groups)

Ongoing Represent AEP and FOIP process. Respond to inquiries from the public or stakeholders concerning privacy legislation in Alberta and direct them as necessary to Service Alberta or the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner Ongoing Issues related to access requests, reviews, investigations related to compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation under the Act.
Service Alberta As required Provide AEP's views and interpretation with respect to privacy and security matters and issues regarding GoA policy development or changes; negotiations. Identify issues and options and obtain support for possible directions.
Agencies, Boards and Commissions As required Provide access and privacy related services, activities and supports in the provision of FOIP legislative compliance.
FOIP Coordinators across the GoA and to a lesser degree across Canada Dependent on the specific issue Consultations with colleagues on business processes, conceptual designs, and best practices.

Impact and Magnitude of Job (Scope)

 

This position is responsible for results that affect the entire Ministry on a regular basis, e.g. provision of access and privacy supports and services, managing and coordinating FOIP requests and responses.

The position provides Ministry direction on functions and activities for which it is responsible. It also initiates compliance reviews in the role of provision of assurance that the Ministry meets legislated, regulated and policy requirements.

The strategies and support services developed and implemented by this position have a significant impact on the overall success of the Ministry. Poor decision-making could result in legal action and has the potential for bringing criticism from external clients such as the public, media or interest groups and from internal clients, such as the Deputy Minister or members of the Executive Team.

The impact of decisions, recommendations and consultations by this position affect the entire Ministry on a regular basis and may affect the GoA as a whole through orders issued by the Information and Privacy Commissioner based on the Ministry’s decisions and application of exceptions under the legislation.

This position is responsible for keeping the Director, of Information Management Strategy, Executive Team, Deputy Minister and Minister apprised of major issues that may arise. Internal stakeholders, generally the Executive Team and Senior Leadership Team, may be directly affected by the service delivered by the FOIP Coordinator. The position has a significant impact on the overall accountability of AEP.

The privacy strategies and processes that are developed and implemented have a significant impact on the overall accountability of the Ministry.

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