Freedom of Information

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) is a piece of legislation governing how institutions like municipal governments provide right of access to information under their control. It protects the personal information of individuals held by institutions and outlines the rights of access individuals have to their own information. 

Individuals may submit a freedom of information request to the municipality for access to their own personal information or for access to general information. The cost to submit a freedom of information request is $5.

The legislation allows any individual or organization to make a request. They are not required to identify their reason for making the request or justify why it is being made. Requesters do not need to be residents of the municipality.

According to the Act, personal information is information about an identifiable individual.

Frequently asked questions

To submit a request, download the Request Form (FIPPA/MFIPPA) from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario's (IPC) website and complete it. You will need to indicate if your request is for your own personal information or access to general information or if it is for a correction to your personal information. You will also need to provide a clear explanation of the type of information you are requesting access to.

Submit your completed request form along with the $5 application fee to the municipality. You can bring your form and payment directly to the municipal office or mail the two to the attention of the Manager of Corporate Services, P.O. Box 250, Zurich, Ontario, N0M 2T0.

We must receive the $5 payment before we can begin to process your request. 

When completing your request form, it is a good idea to include your email address if you feel comfortable doing so. This allows for municipal staff to communicate with you about your request more quickly.

Once an information request and the $5 fee are received, designated staff will review the request. Staff may contact you to clarify the request if needed. The Act requires that the municipality's designated head under the Act respond to a request within 30 calendar days. This deadline may be extended depending on the type of information requested. Any extensions must meet the criteria outlined in the Act. If there is a need to extend the timeline for responding to your request, municipal staff will notify you.

Municipal records are examined by designated staff to see if they are responsive to your request. Responsive records are carefully examined to see if they meet any of the exemptions for access outlined in the Act. As explained by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, access and privacy rights are not absolute, meaning that the Act does not allow the municipality to release all information just because a request has been made.

If the review of records indicates that the records requested might actually belong to another institution, your request may be transferred. If this is necessary, you would be notified.

Once the review of records has been completed and the head has made a decision, you will be notified in writing if any records were found and if they can be released. 

The cost to submit a freedom of information request is $5. Additional fees may apply if you are requesting access to general information. These fees are set by the Act. Personal information requests are exempted from some of the fees outlined in the Act. If the municipality determines that additional fees apply to your request, a fee estimate will be sent to you for approval before moving forward with the rest of process unless the fee estimate is less than $25. A fee deposit may be required for fees above $100.

 

Additional Fees
Task

Fee

Search time to manually search for responsive records (general records)

$7.50 per 15 minutes per staff member

Preparation time to prepare records for disclosure (general records)

$7.50 per 15 minutes per staff member

Photocopies and printouts

$0.20 per page (double sided pages = two pages)

Compact disks (or equivalent)

$10 per disk for disclosing records in an electronic format

Under the Act, the head must notify someone in writing that they are an affected party when records containing their personal information are part of a freedom of information request. A business or organization may receive a notice if their business information is affected. The Act allows affected parties to provide comment to the head on their records. These representations are considered by the head when deciding whether or not a record can be released to the requester.

The Act explains specifically what is considered personal or third party information and when it may be exempted from disclosure. 

The Act allows a requester or a party whose information is affected by a request to appeal decisions made by the head. All appeals must be filed in writing with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario within 30 days of a decision being issued. The fee to appeal is determined by the IPC. It is different for personal and general information requests. 

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is available online through the Government of Ontario's e-laws database. 

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has information on the request process, appeals, and adjudication. 

Municipality of Bluewater
14 Mill Avenue
ZURICH, ON
N0M 2T0
Phone: 519-236-4351
or 1-877-236-4351
Fax: 519-236-4329
Send an Email

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