The public has a right to request/access most records by making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Freedom of Information (FOI) requests may be filed for any records produced in the course of your work at the institution, including records stored in personal use systems. Examples of records are emails, letters, reports, notes, photographs, and audio and video recordings. If it relates to University business, it can be requested!
The Privacy Office coordinates FOI requests, and is able to help you through the process.
Requests for information:
All FIPPA requests are to be submitted to and processed by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Office. If there is a request for information affecting records in your area, the request is processed by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Office.
The Freedom of Information and Privacy Office employee(s) will process all FIPPA requests, and may contact the unit/department in order to the meet FIPPA’s requirements as follows:
- assist in locating records requested;
- determine if the requested record might contain personal information or third party information that affects the interests of someone other than the requester and, if so, allow the affected third party to make representations about the disclosure of this information;
- within 30 calendar days of receipt of a request, make records available, deny access or cite extraordinary circumstances resulting in a delay;
- give a written reason for denial; and
- inform the person being denied access of his or her right to appeal to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) within 30 calendar days of receiving the institution’s response.
FIPPA applies to all records, regardless of medium, in the custody or control of the institution, except for the following records (subject to certain limitations):
- Private donations to Archives;
- Labour relations and employment related records;
- Research records; and
- Teaching materials.
Subject to certain limitations, the institution may withhold records that contain:
- Advice or recommendations of a institutional employee or consultant;
- Information where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the economic interests or competitive position of the institution;
- Plans relating to the administration of the institution that have not yet been put into operation or made public;
- Third party information if supplied in confidence and where disclosure could prejudice the interests of a third party; and
- Personal Information about individuals other than the requester where disclosure would constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy.
Knowing that most records are releasable under FIPPA if requested, here are some tips for excellent records:
- Keep records factual / objective / concise.
- Maintain professional tone – always assume records will be released.
- Minimize the amount of personal information included to what is strictly necessary
Institutions may have policies detailing:
- Access to University Records
- Making a Request for Information