Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP Act) has two main purposes:
- Freedom of Information: To make public bodies more open and accountable by providing the public with a legislated right of access to government records, and
- Protection of Privacy: To protect your right to personal privacy by prohibiting the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of your personal information by public bodies.
The FOIPP Act covers all provincial government public bodies, including government ministries and most government agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations. It also covers local public bodies, which includes municipalities and regional districts.
The FOIPP Act applies to all records in the custody or under the control of public bodies, including personal information. However, only in exceptional circumstances will access to someone else's personal information be provided. The definition of 'record' includes books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers, papers and any other thing on which information is recorded or stored by graphic, electronic, mechanical or other means, but does not include a computer program or any other mechanism that produces records.
Make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request
There are two ways to request information from the Regional District of Nanaimo:
- Informal Request via routine channels: Since a lot of the Regional District's information is available through routine channels, you should always start by making an informal request. To do this, contact the department you think might have the information you are looking for.
When you make an informal request we will respond to you as quickly as possible. Depending on the kind of information you are requesting, you may be able to get an answer over the phone.
- Formal FOI Requests: If the information you are seeking is not available through routine channels, an applicant may make an FOI request for records containing the information. Unlike routine requests, formal FOI requests must be made in writing and must include sufficient detail to assist staff in locating and retrieving the records. You should also indicate whether you want to receive copies of the records or if you want to view the records in person.
To help reduce processing time, service fees and to minimize taxpayer expense please specify a date range and narrow the scope of your request as much as possible. Keep your request simple, clear and focused.
You may choose to use our Request for Access to Records application form, although it is not required to make a formal request. You may deliver, mail, fax or e-mail your request to:
Regional District of Nanaimo
6300 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2
Fax: 250-390-4163 (if faxing please call or email to confirm)
Toll Free: 1-877-607-4111
Step 1, we acknowledge and review your request
- We will acknowledge your request in writing.
- The FOI Coordinator reviews your request, making sure that your request is for information under the custody or control of the Regional District, and not some other public body.
- We may contact you to clarify your request.
- The FIOPP Act requires us to respond to your FOI request within 30 working days of receiving it. If your request is complex, we may extend this time within what the FOIPP Act allows, but will inform you of this within the 30 days.
- We contact the appropriate department managers to inform them of the records being requested.
Step 2, we estimate the time and possible fees needed to fulfill your request
- You will NOT be charged for access to your own personal information or for the first three hours spent locating and retrieving records.
- If it will take longer than three hours to retrieve the records you requested and prepare them, we will send you a fee estimate before processing your request.
- We may require that you provide us with a 50% deposit, or you may choose to revise your request to reduce the time it will take to complete it.
- If the requested information can be provided electronically the fees to prepare and photocopy records will be avoided.
|Locate, retrieve, produce and prepare records||$7.50 per ¼ hour after the first 3 hours|
|Photocopy records (in black and white)||$0.25 per page|
|Photocopy records (in colour)||$1.65 per page|
|Shipping and handling||$ Actual cost|
Step 3, we gather the information
- Staff assigned to your request, search for and gather all the records related to your request and send them to the FOI Coordinator.
- If your request asks for a large number of records or for third-party records we may take up to 60 days to respond and will inform you of this extension.
Step 4, we review the information
- The FOIPP Act includes several specific exemptions to disclosure, which means that, by law, certain types of records and information are to be protected and not made available to the public. Some exemptions are mandatory while others are exercised at the discretion of the FOIPP Head based on the relevant circumstances surrounding the request. For example, reasons for refusing access to information held by the Regional District of Nanaimo are generally related to the protection of:
- personal privacy;
- business trade secrets or unit pricing;
- solicitor-client privilege;
- deliberations of the Board and Board Committees that are authorized to be held in the absence of the public (i.e. In Camera meetings);
- policy advice, staff recommendations or draft regulations not yet made public;
- information that may harm a law enforcement matter (this includes bylaw enforcement matters);
- information that may harm the financial interests of the Regional District of Nanaimo or other public body.
- If a record has information we cannot provide, we cover the information with a shaded box and mark it with the relevant section(s) of the FOIPP Act that explains why we withheld the information.
Step 5, we send you the information
- Pending receipt of fees payable (if applicable) we prepare our final response package with your requested information and send it to you.
If you are not satisfied with how the Regional District of Nanaimo responds to your FOI request, you have the right to ask for a review by the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner. A decision of the Commissioner is final, subject to certain limited judicial reviews.
- Request for Access to Records
- Access to Common Types of Records
- Regional District of Nanaimo Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw No. 1695, 2014