Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
The fundamental purpose of the freedom of information process (FOI) is accountability to the public. The spirit is to create an open and accountable government by providing as much information as possible to the public, while ensuring that their personal privacy is protected.
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) is a piece of legislation that gives individuals the right to request access to information, including most general records and records containing their own personal information, maintained by the Municipality of Whitestone.
The Act also provides for the protection of personal information that has been collected by the municipality. The Act is based on the principles that:
- Information should be made available to the public;
- Individuals should have access to their own personal information;
- Exceptions to access should be limited and specific;
- The privacy of individuals with respect to the personal information the municipality collects and maintains shall be protected; and
- Decisions on access to government information may be appealed to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC/O).
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56 (ontario.ca)
Making A Request Under the Act
The Municipality of Whitestone tries to provide as much information as possible to the public without requiring a formal request under the Act. Before making a formal FOI request, you may wish to search our website or contact the appropriate department to find out if the record can be provided to you without a formal request.
There are two ways to make a request under the Act:
1. FOI Application Form
Freedom of Information Application forms are available from the Clerks Department or can be found here.
2. Writing a letter or email to request information
If sending a letter or email, please include the following information:
- full mailing address;
- day time telephone number;
- names of specific files or types of records to which access is sought, including dates of those records if possible
Municipality of Whitestone
Attn: Michelle Hendry CAO/Clerk
21 Church Street
Requesters should provide detailed information about the requested records as this enables staff to conduct a faster search and reduces costs associated with such research. Completed requests should be sent with the mandatory, non-refundable $5.00 application fee (cheques should be made payable to: The Municipality of Whitestone
Fees Under the Act
Requests for information under MFIPPA should be completed on the application form and must be accompanied by the $5.00 application fee. Other fees may be charged depending on the nature of the request and time spent.
Normally, the Municipality has 30 calendar days (including weekends and statutory holidays) from the date a request is received along with the $5 application fee, to respond to an FOI request. There are circumstances where an extension may be required; if such an extension is required, the applicant will be notified.
In some cases, however, the Municipality is not allowed to provide public access to records or parts of records, based on requirements set out by MFIPPA. These instances are called exemptions, which are in place to protect the rights of another person or organization.
If the Municipality decides to not disclose part or all of a requested record, a declaration b e made in respect of which exemption or exemptions have been applied to the record or records.
If you have made a request under the Act and disagree with the decision made by the Municipality with respect to not granting access to all or part of a record or records, you have the right to appeal our decision to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC).
You have 30 calendar days after we have notified you of our decision regarding the FOI request to give notice of appeal to the IPC. The fee for making an appeal is $25, payable to the IPC.
You may give notice of appeal either by:
Completing an appeal form, OR
Writing a letter, attaching it to the appeal form, AND
Mailing it along with the $25 fee to:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8
For more information, visit the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) website.
IPC - Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
If you have any further questions about Freedom of Information, contact the Clerk.