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Freedom of information and protection of privacy


What is the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act applies to all local government organizations, including municipalities, school boards, public utilities, transit and police commissions, fire departments, conservation authorities, boards of health and other local boards. There are separate Acts that apply specifically to Provincial Ministries, agencies and Federal Government institutions.

MFIPPA came into effect January 1, 1991 and required municipal institutions to protect the privacy of an individual's personal information existing in government records. The Act creates a privacy protection scheme, which the government must follow to protect an individual's right to privacy. The scheme includes rules regarding the collection, use, disclosure and disposal of personal information in the custody and control of a municipal institution.

The Act also gave individuals the right to access municipal government information, including most general records and records containing their own personal information, subject to very specific and limited exemptions. As well, the Act provides individuals with the right to request a correction of their personal information, which they believe to be false or inaccurate and/or to attach a statement of disagreement to their records. An individual is also provided with the opportunity to request an independent review from the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario of the decisions made under MFIPPA by the head of an institution.

Each municipal organization is required to appoint a head who is responsible for overseeing the administration of the legislation within the institution and for decisions made under the legislation. At the City of Ottawa, the City Council has delegated the powers and duties of the head to the Mayor, who in turn delegated these responsibilities to the City Clerk. The City Clerk may be contacted at:

City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON
K1P 1J1

The legislation also stipulates that an institution must provide the requester with the information and/or a decision regarding their request within 30 calendar days from the date a complete request is received. On occasion, an institution may ask for an extension, if the request is for an extensive number of records and/or if an outside consultant needs to be contacted.

In keeping with the spirit of the legislation, the City of Ottawa is committed to providing individuals with the right of access to information in its custody and control including most operational records as well as records containing their own personal information, where applicable. This process is called "business as usual" and allows certain records to be disclosed, without having to make a formal request under the Act. Only under limited circumstances does the City require an individual to make a formal MFIPPA request.

You may wish to view or download a complete copy of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, accessible through The Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario's web site. A copy of the Act may also be purchased at:

Service Ontario 110
Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON

City responsibilities

The City of Ottawa Council has delegated to the City Clerk the powers and duties associated with the administration of requirements under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). Day-to-day services are administered under the Manager, Elections and MFIPPA in the Elections Office situated at 1221 Cyrville Road, Unit B, Ottawa, ON, K1J 7S8. Staff in each department at the City of Ottawa assist the Manager with the provision of these services.

Responsibilities under the legislation include:

  • Responding to formal requests submitted under MFIPPA
  • Evaluating and providing direction to all City departments regarding informal ("business as usual") requests to enhance public access while ensuring that the confidentiality provisions of the Act are met
  • Ensuring personal information held by the City is only exchanged with, collected from or disclosed to authorized individuals and/or institutions in accordance with the Act and its regulations
  • Evaluating and undertaking periodic reviews of the City's programs and technologies to ensure that they meet statutory requirements
  • Designing and delivering training programs and presentations on MFIPPA to City employees to ensure that employees are informed about the requirements of the Act
  • Ensuring that processes are in place for efficient and prompt disposal of information
  • Providing ongoing updates on decisions of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario and how such decisions affect the corporation
  • Reviewing the development of forms, surveys and questionnaires to ensure that they include statutory authority for the collection of the personal information, the purpose for which the information will be used and a contact for the client.

Privacy Statement


The purpose of the statement is to inform users of this site with regard to the collection and use of personally identifiable information. The following is not intended and should not be interpreted as a contract of any nature, either stated or implied.

Definition of Personally Identifiable Information

For the purposes of this statement "personally identifiable information" means any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual who is the subject of the information.

Providing Personally Identifiable Information

Citizens do not have to routinely provide personal information to visit the City of Ottawa portal or to download information. Government agencies may request personally identifiable information from you in order to provide requested specialized services, but such information is handled as it would be on an in-person visit to a government office.

Personally Identifiable Information Available

The IP (Internet Protocol) numbers of computers (servers) used to visit sites are noted as part of our statistical analysis on use of our websites so we may better design services and improve access to them. However, the site does not attempt to gain personally identifiable information on individual users and associate them with IP addresses.

Restrictions on the disclosure of customer information

Our users are important to us. We do not sell or rent our users' information to any outside company or organization. We do not reveal specific information about users or other personally identifiable data to unaffiliated third parties for their independent use, except if required to do so by law. We endeavour to ensure that we collect only the minimum amount of information needed to meet the purpose for which the network was created.

Other Websites

Various websites may be linked through the portal. Visitors to those sites are advised to check the privacy statements of these sites and be cautious about providing personally identifiable information without a clear understanding of how the information will be used. Visitors may also wish to consult privacy guidelines such as those recommended by the Online Privacy Alliance.

Use, collection, and retention of customer information at the City of Ottawa Portal

For each visitor, we do collect information about the Internet Protocol (IP) address, type browser used, the date and time of the visit, and the IP addresses of the locations to which the visitor linked during his or her visit to our website. This information is strictly used for statistical reporting purposes.

We only collect, retain and use personal information where we believe it is essential (and allowed by law) to administer our business and to provide products, services and other opportunities requested by our customers.

We currently accept payment by Master Card, Visa and American Express on this site. We have taken many steps to ensure the security of your transaction and your credit card information including transmission, processing and storage of your credit card details.

Web Analytics and Cookies

In order to improve our website, we are presently using Google Analytics to collect data for statistical reporting purposes. Google Analytics analyzes the use of our website through using cookies to collect and generate information about your visits to our web site (including your IP address) that is transmitted to their servers in an anonymous form for processing. In order to better protect your privacy we are currently masking user IP addresses as described in the section labeled “Use of IP address” in the Google Analytics Privacy Policy.

You can opt-out of analytics activity by setting your browser to notify you when a cookie is sent and block analytics cookies if desired. Please consult your browser's Help Menu for instructions. Visiting our website with analytics cookies disabled will have no significant impact on your browsing experience. Google currently offers a free Google Analytics opt-out tool for Internet Explorer (versions 7 and 8), Google Chrome (4.x and higher), and Mozilla Firefox (3.5 and higher).

We also use session-based cookies on the City website to process requested services (e.g., course registration). A session-based cookie is a small file that stores information, but is discarded when the user exits the browser. The City website uses this method in order to collect data that is not personally identifiable, ensuring it is used for statistical reporting purposes only.

Your feedback is important in helping us decide whether to continue to use this technology. Should you have any questions or feedback, please contact us.

Restrictions on the disclosure of customer information

We do not sell or rent our users' information to any outside company or organization. We do not reveal specific information about users or other personally identifiable data to unaffiliated third parties for their independent use, except if required to do so by law.

Protection of information via established security procedures

Improvements in Internet security occasionally cause older browsers to be unable to connect to This is for the protection of our users. If your browser is unable to make a secure connection, please consider upgrading your browser if you wish to access protected content.

Limiting employee access to information

Our director limits employee access to personally identifiable information to only those employees who need access in order to perform their assigned duties. The director is instructed to enforce with its staff their responsibilities in protecting subscriber's information.

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The City of Ottawa endeavours to make its information accessible to the public. Some records, however. contain information that is either privileged or of a personal nature. The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act compels the municipality to review such documents prior to their disclosure. Request to access such records requires a written request.