Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
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.
You may ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) to investigate if you believe your personal information has been collected, used or disclosed in contravention of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
If you have asked that a public body correct your personal information and a public body has failed or refused to do so, you may ask the IPC to review that decision.
A request for a review of a privacy matter does not have to be in writing, but it is strongly recommended that you do put the complaint in writing so that the nature of the complaint is clear. Provide the IPC with as much background information as you can, including the name of the public body involved, the date, or approximate date of the incident, and why you think the public body has improperly collected, used or disclosed your personal information.
While the IPC will accept a complaint by email, she may require that the complaint be perfected by providing a letter or form with your signature.
The IPC may conduct a review if she is of the opinion that a review is warranted.
The IPC may also conduct a review of her own accord where she has reason to believe that a
public body has or may have collected, used or disclosed personal information in contravention of the Act.
There are no time limits for filing a complaint about a breach of privacy.
For more information on how to file a breach of privacy complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, please contact our office.
An individual who believes a public body has made an error or omission in recording their personal information may request the public body that has the information in its custody or under its control to correct the information.
Within 30 days after the request is received, the head of the public body that receives such a request must give written notice to the individual that the correction has been made. If the public body does not agree to making the correction requested, they must still put a note of the requested correction on or cross-referenced to the information to which the request for correction relates. If this is done, the public body must give you notice that this has been done.
You may ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review a decision by a public body not to make a requested correction. For how to make such a request, see “How to Request a Review under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act”
If you don’t receive a response to your Request for Information, or you feel that the response is, for some reason incomplete or there are other issues with the response you receive, you may ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) to review the response.
You may ask the IPC to review any decision, act or failure to act by the public body that relates to your access request or request for correction to your personal information or if you believe that a public body has improperly collected, used or disclosed your personal information.
If you have been notified by a public body that they are considering disclosing information about you or your business to a third party applicant, you may ask the IPC to review that decision.
If you have asked that a public body correct your personal information and they fail or refuse to do so, you may ask the IPC to review that decision.
To ask for a review of any of these matters:
- you must do so in writing, either on a complaint form or just by means of a letter or filling out the form, which you can get on this website. While the IPC will accept a complaint by email, she will require that the complaint be perfected by providing a letter or form with your signature.
- Your request for a review must be made within 30 days after you have been notified of the decision by the public body’s response to your Request for Information. If you are submitting a Request for Review more than 30 days after you have the public body’s response, you should provide reasons as to why the IPC should allow you a longer time to deliver your request.
- If you are requesting a review of a public body’s decision to release your information to an applicant, you must complete and submit a Request for Review to the IPC within 30 days after being notified by a public body of its decision to disclose. The IPC has no power to allow you a longer period than 30 days to submit a request for review.
- There is no time limit for asking for a review of an improper collection, use or disclosure of personal information.
- The IPC does not generally accept requests for review or complaints via email, but may do so on the condition that signed copies of the request are mailed or delivered to her office.
The IPC may take steps to attempt to resolve the issue informally, but it this is not successful, she will collect all of the necessary information from both the public body and the applicant or complainant, prepare and report and make recommendations, which will then be presented to the head of the public body for consideration. If the public body chooses not to comply with the recommendations of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Applicant seeking records from the public body has a right to appeal that decision to the Nunanvut Court of Justice. There is no appeal from the decision of a public body with respect to a breach of privacy complaint.
If you need more information about how to ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner to conduct a review, please contact our office.