How to Make an Access to Information Request under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act ( ATIPP Act), you may ask for access to any record, including your own personal information, in the custody or under the control of a public body.
You may not need to use the Act to obtain the information you are seeking. Some information/records are routinely disclosed and there may be other access procedures established. However, the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) has no authority to review a response or failure to respond to an informal access request (that is, a request made outside of the Act).
To make a formal request for access under the Act:
- You must submit your access request directly to the public body that you believe has custody or control of the records you are seeking.
- Your access request under the ATIPP Act must be in writing. It is recommended that you retain a copy of your access request made under the ATIPP Act, as the IPC may ask you to produce the copy in its review process. There are forms available but these are not required to make a request.
- You may ask for a copy of the record(s) or ask to examine the record(s). For various reasons, a public body may not be able to allow you to examine the record(s), in which case you will be provided with either paper or electronic copies.
- Your request must provide enough detail to enable the public body to identify the information/records you are asking for.
- It is also recommended that your request state that the request is made pursuant to the Act. This ensures that all parties are clear that this is a formal access request and that the IPC has authority to review any response or failure to respond to your access request.
- If you are seeking general information, there is a $25.00 fee under the ATIPP Act. There is no fee application fee if you are seeking your own personal information. In all cases, there may be additional fees for printing or copying and other specified costs.
- If fees in addition to the $25.00 application fee are applicable, a fee estimate must be provided to you before your request is processed. You may ask the IPC to review whether the fees have been calculated correctly.
- You may ask the public body to waive the fees. If your fee waiver request is denied, you may ask the IPC to review that decision.
- Public bodies have 30 days to respond to your request. However, the time limits for response may be extended in certain circumstances. You may ask the IPC to review a failure to respond within the time frame or an extension taken by a public body.
Access Requests to the OIPC
The OIPC is not subject to the ATIPP Act. However, this office will respond to an Access to Information request for any records other than records that are created by or for or in the custody of the office which relate to the exercise of the IPC’s functions.
An access to information request to the IPC must be in writing and must provide enough detail to enable IPC to identify the record.