The Archives collects records created by the City of Toronto municipal government and its predecessor municipalities (governments that existed between 1834 and 1998, when the current City of Toronto was created by amalgamating seven municipal governments). Access to government records is governed by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). This Province of Ontario legislation determines whether municipal records can be opened for research use or require review prior to viewing.
Many of the Archives records are already open including assessment rolls, council and committee minutes and communications, by-laws, and reports. However, other records (particularly those created by City departments) containing personal and other sensitive information must be reviewed by the staff of the Corporate Access and Privacy Office (CAP). Depending on the records you would like to see, you will need to file a Freedom of Information request or apply for a research agreement. You may ask Archives staff for assistance in determining whether government record are open or require review, and which access process is best for you.
1) How can I tell if a record is open or requires review?
In the Archives database, WebGENCAT, look at the “Access Conditions” field.
- Found at all descriptive levels.
- Government records are described as either “open” or “requires review”.
- If a record is open, you can request it for research use.
- If a record requires review, it will have the following description in red:
REQUIRES REVIEW – Under Access and Privacy Legislation these government records require review prior to being made available to the public.
2) How can I look at records which require review?
Requests to look at government records which require review are handled in two ways depending on the number of records you identify and the nature of your research. Archives staff can help you determine which process will best serve your needs, and will help you fill out the forms.
a) A limited number of files
If you want to look at a few files which require review, you will be asked to file a Freedom of Information request.
b) A large number of records
If you require access to a wide range of records, particularly for academic purposes, we recommend that you apply for a Research Agreement.