There are five basic principles of this legislation aimed to provide an individual with an appropriate balance between access to government information and protection of the individual’s personal information. These principles are:
- You, the “public”, have a right of access to records held by the City, an “institution” under the Act. Exemptions from the right to access records are limited and specific.
- The City must protect your personal privacy and follow rules and guidelines in collecting, using and disclosing, to others, your personal information
- It is your right to see your personal information held by the City about yourself
- You have the right to request corrections to your personal information that is held by the City. However, opinions cannot be changed or removed
- You have the right to an independent review of decisions made by the City. This independent review is conducted by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario’s office.
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 extend the time for responding to a request for information, for example, 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 many 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.