Frequently Asked Questions - Freedom of Information & Privacy

What is freedom of information legislation supposed to do?

  • Promote transparency by giving the public the right to access information kept by local government institutions.
  • Provides all individuals with the right to view or receive copies of records, except in limited and specific circumstances.

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How does privacy legislation work?

  • Protects the public’s privacy by establishing rules that institutions and health information custodians must follow regarding the collection, use, disclosure and safeguarding of identifying information.
  • Allows individuals to access their own personal information - obtaining access to your own personal information is a privacy right, not a freedom of information right.

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To which municipal organizations does MFIPPA apply?

  • All types of local government bodies such as:
    • upper, lower and single tier municipal governments
    • school boards
    • public utilities
    • transit and police commissions
    • fire departments
    • conservation authorities
    • boards of health and other local boards

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What is a record?

  • MFIPPA defines a record as any record of information, however recorded, whether in printed form, on film, by electronic means or otherwise.
  • A record includes the following:
    • correspondence
    • memoranda
    • books
    • plans
    • maps
    • drawings
    • diagrams
    • pictorial or graphic works
    • photographs
    • films
    • microfilms
    • sound recordings
    • videotapes
    • machine readable records
    • computer disks


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Does the Region keep all of its records?

  • The Region destroys information based on a records retention schedule which sets out the various lengths of time that all Regional records need to be retained for. 
  • Records are recycled, or shredded if they contain confidential or personal information, when their retention periods have been met.

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Do I have to pay the $5 application fee?

  • Yes.  Section 5.2 of Ontario Regulation 823 under MFIPPA sets out that the required fee to apply for information under MFIPPA is $5. 
  • This fee cannot be waived.

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Will the Region waive its fees for processing a request for information?

  • It is your responsibility to ask the Region for a fee waiver, and you must provide evidence to establish that fees should be waived. 
  • In cases of financial hardship or where dissemination of the information will benefit public health or safety, the Region will waive fees.

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How do I know whether to request information from the Region or from a lower tier municipality?

  • The Region offers services in the following areas for which records may be in our custody or control:
    • Planning and Pattern of Development for the Regional Area
    • Purification, Supply and Distribution of Water
    • Sewage Collection and Treatment
    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Regional Roads and Sewers
    • Emergency Planning
    • Social Services (Ontario Works, Housing, Children’s Services)
    • Services for Seniors (Long-Term Care Homes, Supportive Housing/Adult Day Programs)
    • Public Health Services
    • Regional Museum
    • Industrial/Commercial Development
    • Tourism Promotion
  • Refer to the Region’s website or call our centralized customer service centre, Access Halton, for further assistance in determining whether your request should be directed to the Region or another government institution.

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Will I receive all of the information I have asked for?

  • The Region makes every effort to provide you with as much information as possible. 
  • However, MFIPPA provides several exemptions that may, or in some cases must, be used to limit the disclosure of information. 
  • Exemptions are used, for example, when the documents requested could breach another person's privacy, where the records contain information about a third party, when the information requested deals with a law enforcement matter, etc. 
  • In cases where exemptions are used, the records you receive will either be "severed" (i.e. details will be removed from the record), or will be fully withheld from disclosure.

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