Freedom of Information
What is the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?
The purposes of this Act are,
- (a) to provide a right of access to information under the control of institutions in accordance with the principles that,
- (i) information should be available to the public,
- (ii) necessary exemptions from the right of access should be limited and specific, and
- (iii) decisions on the disclosure of information should be reviewed independently of the institution controlling the information; and
- (b) to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by institutions and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56, s. 1.
How do I submit an FOI request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)?
- Complete the Request for Access to Record Information Form (pdf document at the bottom of the page) or write a letter setting out which “records” you are seeking
- If you decide to write a letter, make sure to include:
- Your full mailing address.
- Your telephone number where you can be reached during the day.
- The names of the specific files or types of records you would like access to
- A photocopy of a piece of identification with your signature on it, such as driver’s licence, but only if you are requesting access to your own personal information.
- A signed and dated letter of consent if you are acting as an agent for someone else.
- Pay the $5.00 application fee – cash, or cheque or money order made payable to the “Municipality of Hastings Highlands”
- Mail your application form or letter and $5.00 application fee to the Clerk’s Office, or drop it off in person to the Clerk’s Office.
Do I need to submit an official FOI request if I want to access Municipal records?
- Not necessarily; the Municipality will often routinely disclose records and information to the public.
- Contact the program you believe has custody or control of the records you are seeking to see if the information can be disclosed informally to you.
- A formal FOI request may be required when:
- You are requesting access to records to which a mandatory exemption to disclosure may apply, such records containing another individual’s personal information or confidential information provided by other businesses or government agencies.
- You are requesting access to records where a discretionary exemption under MFIPPA is applicable, such as records subject to solicitor-client privilege, records relating to law enforcement investigations, etc.
- You are requesting access to a voluminous amount of information.
- Research Fees will be charged on a per hour basis in accordance with the municipality’s user fee bylaw.
What is the Municipality’s time limit for processing an FOI request?
- 30 calendar days from the day the Municipality receives both your written request and $5.00 application fee.
- Where voluminous records are requested an extension of the 30 day limit may be issued and you will be advised accordingly.
- If a third party notice is required, the 30 day time limit starts from the day the notice is sent to the third party.
- If consultations are required with persons outside of the Municipality, a notice of extension to the 30 days may be issued for the amount of time needed for the consultations to take place; you will be advised accordingly.
How must the Municipality respond to an official FOI request?
- A decision on access must be issued in writing and must contain the following:
- Whether full, partial or no access is granted, or if no responsive records were located.
- If access is denied, or where no records are located:
- The reason for the refusal or a statement setting out that no records were located.
- The contact information for the person that made the decision on access.
- The contact information of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario.
For information on making a freedom of information request, please visit the Ontario Government – How to make a Freedom of Information request.
Municipal Freedom of Information Request Form (pdf)