Guidelines for Preparing a Research Proposal
Submit a research agreement proposal so you can access restricted records.
What is a Research Agreement?
It is a legal agreement between you and the City of Toronto. It allows you to see government records which may contain personal or sensitive information. In return, you agree to certain conditions, such as anonymizing personal information you may find in the records.
When Should I Do a Research Agreement Proposal?
You should do one when you need to see a significant amount of archival records (more than five files) that are restricted under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. Generally, you would submit a proposal if you are researching an academic thesis, a book, or other long-term research project.
How Do I Know If I Want to See Records That Are Restricted under MFIPPA?
This happens when you are searching for records in the Archives’ online database, and you keep finding records marked “Requires Review – Under Access and Privacy Legislation these government records require review prior to being made available to the public.” Any files marked “Requires Review” are restricted under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (MFIPPA).
Why Do I Need to Do a Research Agreement Proposal?
To provide information to the City’s Access and Privacy Office so that they may evaluate and determine the researcher’s ability, judgement and competence to successfully and responsibly access personal information.
Is There a Form That I Need to Use?
Yes, you need to file a Freedom of Information Request. Along with this form, you need to submit a list of the files that you want to see. This list can be created in the Archives’ online database. Additionally, you need to write a letter addressed to:
City of Toronto Access and Privacy Office
100 Queen St. W., 13th Floor West,
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
What Information Do I Need to Include in My Letter?
- The names and positions of all those who will have access and use of the personal information (i.e. principal researcher and research assistant)
- A curriculum vitae for each of the persons involved in the project, who will have access to the records
- References, such as from your thesis advisor or your publisher
- General description of the research project (date range, types of records) and the objectives of the project
- The proposed method of analysis
- An explanation of why the research cannot be accomplished without accessing individually identifiable information
- A statement about when personal identifiers will be removed
- The benefits to be derived from the research project
What Do I Get If My Proposal Is Approved?
You will receive a letter detailing the records you are approved to access, which must be presented at the Archives when you order any files or boxes. Your research agreement is valid for two years.