||What happens when you submit a form?
Process | Exemptions | Appeals | Appeal fee
Freedom of Information does not include the right to require the City to provide answers to specific questions, only to a right of access to an existing document on which information has been recorded. The City is under no legal obligation to provide detailed responses to questions from members of the public.
- The Corporate Access and Privacy Office (CAP) logs your request and contacts the City division that would have the records you have requested, asking them to locate the records and send CAP a copy of the records for review.
- CAP then reviews the records to determine whether they contain any confidential information as outlined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).
- Confidential information is referred to in the Act as exemptions from the public's right of access to information.
- A letter is prepared for the signature of the City Clerk, advising which of the requested records you are permitted to access. In many cases, the letter will grant access in full, in which case you will either receive a copy of the records with the letter or, if there are fees applicable to your request, a fee estimate.
Fees must be paid before you can receive a copy of the records.
In other cases, the letter will grant access in part, and will state the exemption used to deny access to some of the records.
- The copy of the records you receive will be blacked out to indicate the information which has been denied. In some cases, access will be denied in full, and you will be advised which exemption has been applied. If access is denied, you will be advised how to appeal the City's decision.
- The City must respond to your request within 30 days of receiving your request with the $5.00 application fee. In exceptional cases, where your request is for a large number of records, requires an extensive search, or consultation with an external third party, the time limit can be extended. You will be advised of any time extension.
Requests received in the form of questions will not be processed as Freedom of Information requests. Questions should be sent to the appropriate City division for response. Responses by divisions to questions or routine requests from the public are the responsibility of that division.
The City is not obliged to create a record in response to a request, except in limited circumstances where the record can reasonably be created from an existing computer system. Your right under the Act is to information contained in a record existing at the time of the request.
Mandatory exemptions require the City to deny access to a record. The list includes:
- information received in confidence from another government
- financial or commercial information supplied in confidence where providing the information could harm the interests of another party
- personal information about individuals other than yourself, if the disclosure would constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy
Discretionary exemptions allow the City to decide whether it should deny access to the requested record. They include:
Certain records are not available through freedom of information. These include:
- draft by-laws and records of closed meetings of Council or its committees
- advice or recommendations of an employee or consultant
- law enforcement matters
- release of the information could harm the financial or other interests of the City
- information under solicitor-client privilege, such as legal advice
- information which could endanger the health or safety of an individual
- information already available to the public through another means, or soon to be published.
- records placed in the City Archives by a private individual or organization
- employment related matters.
If you are not satisfied with the access decision made by the City, you can appeal the decision by writing to the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario. The City has 30 calendar days from date of receipt to respond to your request. If you haven't received a decision letter and 30 days have passed, you can appeal this too.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario is appointed by the Ontario Legislative Assembly. The Commissioner makes impartial decisions under MFIPPA.
To appeal an access decision made by the City you must, within 30 calendar days of receiving the decision, write to the Commissioner's office indicating you are appealing the City's decision.
Your letter should include a copy of your original request for information and a copy of the City's decision letter. Forward your request for an appeal with the appropriate appeal fee to the Commissioner's office.
The Commissioner's office is located at 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1A8. Telephone number: 416-326-3333. http://www.ipc.on.ca.
If you are appealing a request for access to your personal information or a correction to your personal information, the mandatory appeal fee is $10.
If you are appealing a request for access to general records, the mandatory appeal fee is $25.
The appeal fee must accompany your request to appeal and may be paid by cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance.