How to access City records
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) provides an individual with the right to access information under the custody and control of an institution, including one's own personal information (Section I - MFIPPA).
Records in the custody and under the control of the City are generally available with a few exceptions. Here’s how to get City information.
- Begin by reviewing the Report or request webpage where you may find the information you are looking for.
- If you are not sure where to obtain the information, you may also contact 3-1-1 to be linked to the applicable City department that can assist. Most records can be released without having to submit a formal request and departmental staff can let you know if the information can be provided as business as usual or if it should be submitted formally under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).
- Be as specific as possible when identifying the information or data you are looking for.
- There may be a fee to cover the cost of reviewing and copying files.
- Review the City’s Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination (RDAD) Plans to view what records may be obtained by direct request to the department. Some of the most common requests for information that do not require a formal submission under MFIPPA but can be obtained directly from a City department, include:
- Requesting a copy of your personal Ontario Works file. Contact information can be found in the Employment and Social Services section of the Community and Social Services Department RDAD plan.
- Accessing building permit records or construction plans of your building or house. Contact information can be found in the Planning Services section of the Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department RDAD plan.
- Accessing your or your client’s City of Ottawa employment records. Contact information for Human Resources and Payroll can be found in the Finance and Corporate Services Department RDAD plan.
- Review the City’s Open Data Ottawa catalogue for extensive information on data, maps, apps and stories from the City of Ottawa.
- Visit Maps and zoning to access geoOttawa mapping, zoning and flood plain mapping.
- Visit Agendas, minutes and videos to access City Council and committee information.
- Search the City of Ottawa Archives database for Ottawa’s historical records.
- If you can’t find what you’re looking for or the service area is unable to provide you with the requested information, you may make a formal Access to Information request.
- Please note that Access to Information requests will not be accepted for information that is already available on the City website or from a City department or service area.
Exceptions: There are certain limitations that may exclude records from being disclosed, such as: the records may be exempt from disclosure under MFIPPA, another institution may have a greater interest in the records, or the request may be considered frivolous or vexatious.
The City of Ottawa does not process requests for information for records held by other institutions. Institutions that process their own formal requests for information, include:
Note: The ATIP Office is responsible for providing access to existing records in the custody and control of the City of Ottawa. The ATIP Office does not create new records in response to an access to information request. The ATIP Office cannot answer requests worded as questions. If the wording of your request does not clearly identify what records are being requested, an Analyst will contact you to clarify and reformulate the subject of the request.
- About the plans
- City Manager's Office
- Community and Social Services Department
- Emergency and Protective Services Department
- Finance and Corporate Services Department
- Infrastructure and Water Services Department
- Legal Services
- Office of the City Clerk
- Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department
- Public Information and Media Relations
- Public Works Department
- Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department
- Transit Services Department
Right to appeal a decision
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act allows individuals to appeal decisions made by municipal institutions about access to records. You can appeal any decision made by the head of an institution. The appeal must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days after the notice of the decision is given by the municipality for any of the following reasons:
- A decision to extend the time limit for responding to a request
- A refusal to grant access to a record on the grounds that the record does not exist
- A refusal to grant access to a record on the grounds that the record is exempt from disclosure
- Granting access to only part of a record
- A refusal to confirm or deny the existence of a record that deals with law enforcement or would, if disclosed, be an unjustified invasion of personal privacy
- Granting a request for access to a record or part that may contain information where the disclosure may be an unjustified invasion of personal privacy
- A deemed refusal to grant access to records
- A refusal to make a correction to personal information
- The amount of a fee charged
- A refusal to waive a fee or a refusal to allow the requester to examine the original record
The written notice of appeal should be mailed to:
Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
If a requester wishes to launch an appeal, the Information and Privacy Commissioner's Office must be provided with a copy of the request, the file number assigned to the request, a copy of the municipality's decision letter and the appeal fee.
Fees: A $25 appeal fee for general information requests and a $10.00 appeal fee for personal information requests applies and must be submitted with the appeal. All fees should be in the form of either a cheque or a money order made payable to the Minister of Finance.