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Access to information and protection of privacy


What is MFIPPA?

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) 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, Policy and Business Operations located at 110 Laurier Ave West, Ottawa, ON, K1P 1J1. 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.