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Freedom of Information
How do I Submit a Formal Request Under the Act?
Formal F.O.I. requests must be submitted in writing to the Clerk’s Office. You may forward a letter, or you may complete a F.O.I. application form. Forms can be obtained from the Clerk’s Office or by accessing the link below:
Freedom of Information Application Form
Your request should refer to the Act, and should be as clear and specific as possible. Identify the types of records you wish to access, and the time frame they cover. You should also indicate if you want to view the records or if you would like to receive copies. The Clerk’s Department cannot interpret or “guess” what you are requesting, and staff is required to issue requests for clarification letters if your request is not clear. If you require assistance, the Clerk’s Department staff would be happy to help you prepare your request so that it can be processed promptly without additional delays.
Your formal request must be accompanied by a $5.00 application fee (cheques should be made payable to The Township of Georgian Bay). This fee is legislated by the Act, and the Township cannot begin a search for your information until it is paid. You may pay in person, or mail a cheque with your application letter.
Please mail requests and cheques to:
Township of Georgian Bay
99 Lone Pine Road, Port Severn ON L0K 1SO
What Are the Costs for A Request?
The fees under the Act are set by the Province. They are as follows:
- Search, consultation and preparation time at a rate of $7.50 per 15 minutes;
- Photocopies at a rate of $.20 per 8½” x 11” page;
- Other fees charged as invoiced ex. Courier costs, etc.
- For fees estimated to be over $100.00, the Township can require a 50% deposit before starting to work on your request
Will I Get Everything I Want and When?
In most cases, requesters are granted full access to all of the information they asked for. However, the Act contains a number of mandatory and discretionary exemptions, which allow the Township to deny access to records containing certain types of information.
Mandatory exemptions include:
- someone else’s personal information;
- inter-governmental relations;
- information about a third party.
For example, if a record contains someone else’s personal information, or other information which was provided to the Township in confidence, the Township will sever (or blackout) this information from the record, and you will be provided with a copy of the severed document.
The discretionary include:
- Information that may cause danger of health and safety;
- Solicitor-Client privilege;
- Published information;
- Economic or other interests of an individual or company;
- Limitations on access to one’s own personal information;
- Draft By-laws;
- Reports and records of closed meetings;
- Legal, consultant advice or recommendations;
- Law Enforcement information.
If we do withhold information under one or more of the exemptions, we will tell you why. All requesters receive a decision letter outlining the decision, the reasons for the decision, the costs, etc.
Under the legislation, the Township must respond within 30 calendar days of receipt of your request. However, in the interest of good customer service, the Clerk’s Office will try to fulfill your request as quickly as possible.
In circumstances where there is a large volume of records or it is necessary to consult with outside agencies, the Township may ask for an extension of the 30 day time limit.
What If I don’t like the Township’s Decision?
You have the right to appeal the Township’s response to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC). You must file your appeal within 30 days of receiving the Township’s decision.
To do this, write a letter to the Commissioner’s Office describing the circumstances of your case, including the file number assigned by the Township of Georgian Bay, and a copy of both your request and the Township’s decision letter. Also, remember to include your name, address and telephone number and the required appeal fee.
The appeal fee is $25.00; payment should be made by cheque, payable to “The Minister of Finance” and the appeal information should be sent to:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto ON M4W 1A8
Once an appeal is received, the IPC assigns a Mediator to the case who then contacts both the requester and the organization. If the Mediator is unsuccessful, the Mediator’s report is forwarded to the Adjudication stage. The Adjudicator begins the process of an inquiry and the matter is settled by order of the Commissioner. Any order of the Commissioner is legally binding on both parties involved.
Usually appeals can be resolved at the Mediator’s stage and generally are completed within a few weeks, while cases that are more complicated usually take longer.
Further information regarding the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Office can be obtained at: http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Home-Page