Freedom of Information Inquiries
"Freedom of Information" (FOI) is a term referring to legislation which, in the municipal context, is known as the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).
The legislation provides the parameters for access to information held by York Region and the rules for protecting the personal privacy of individuals whose personal information is held by The Region.
How do I Make a Request?
You must direct your request to the department holding the information. If the information is public information, or information that is routinely disclosed as determined by Regional or departmental policy, the department should release the record(s).
However, in the event the request pertains to records which are not public information, or the subject of routine disclosure, the requester will be directed to submit a formal Access or Freedom of Information request under the MFIPPA. The requester will be referred to the Access and Privacy staff in the Regional Clerk's Office.
A formal request must be submitted in writing, either by letter or on the Access Request Form, to the Regional Clerk's Office and be accompanied by the prescribed fee of $5 (cheque or money order made payable to York Region). The request must be clear and definitive before processing can begin.
Records considered appropriate to be disclosed - either in whole or with some information severed in accordance with exemptions prescribed in MFIPPA, will be made available to the requester. Requests for general information will be charged a fee as prescribed by regulation for the searching and preparation functions ($30 per hour), as well as for photocopying ($0.20 per page).
Other charges, for example, computer programming for machine readable records, are also prescribed.
Requests for personal information will be invoiced for photocopies only. An estimate of fees may be provided and a deposit required prior to gathering the required records.
The following link opens a PDF file of information on fees: Summary of Fees for Information Requests under MFIPPA
How Long Will the Process Take?
The Act requires that a decision regarding access must be provided within 30 days of receipt of the request. Under certain conditions, a time extension may be in order.
Who has Access to Personal Information?
The legislation recognizes the need to protect the personal privacy of individuals who become associated with York Region, whether as members of the public, clients, contractors or employees.
Only the identified individual may have access to personal information relating to that individual, unless he or she has consented in writing to the release of this information to a third party. Access requests for personal information must be in writing and accompanied with the requisite $5 fee. The Act sets out the rules for disclosure of personal information and is strictly adhered to.
Is There an Appeal Process?
A requester who feels there are records responsive to his or her request that have not been provided, or who objects to the severance of any information, may launch an appeal to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC). The appeal fee for general records is $25 and $10 for personal information. Appeals are forwarded by the requester directly to the IPC at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toll Free: 1-800-387-0073
Any person who feels their privacy has been breached because personal information has been improperly disclosed by York Region may, without charge, lay a complaint to the IPC, which will undertake an inquiry.