What can I request?
- Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act), you can request access to a record.
- You cannot ask for a specific question to be answered, only for access to records that you think will hold the answer to your question.
- Under the Act, it is the responsibility of a local government to provide you with access to records, not to interpret the information for you.
- The record must be under the custody and control of a public body in order for it to be released through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. "Custody" means having physical possession of a record and "control" means that the local government is the owner of the record and has the right to control it.
If a local government receives a request for records that are under the custody and control of a different public body, the local government may transfer the request to the other public body to respond. This could include situations where the other public body created the record or was the first to obtain the record.
All records within the custody and control of a local government should be disclosed to the public unless a record is specifically outlined as an exception under the act. Some records contain information that shouldn’t be disclosed and as a result the municipality is required or may have the discretion to withhold information.
Exceptions under the act include:
- Cabinet and local public confidences
- Policy advice or recommendations
- Legal advice
- Disclosures harmful to law enforcement
- Disclosures harmful to intergovernmental relations or negotiations
- Disclosure harmful to the financial or economic interests of a public body
- Disclosure harmful to the conservation of heritage sites
- Information that will be published or released within 60 days
- Disclosures harmful to business interests of a third party
- Disclosures harmful to personal privacy
Is there a fee to process my FOI request?
There may be a fee to process your FOI request.
- There are no fees for access to your own personal information or for the first three hours spent searching for and retrieving the records.
- If there is a fee for your request, you will be provided with a fee estimate before processing your request. A deposit may be required and payment of the full fee is required before staff provide you with the records.
- Fees are established in Bylaw No. 1088, 1994, and are in accordance with the maximum fees set by the Province.
The fees for non-commercial applicants are:
- $7.50 per ¼ hour ($30/hour) spent locating, retrieving, and producing the records
- $0.25 per regular photocopy
To reduce your fees and minimize taxpayer expense, please narrow your request as much as possible.
How will the municipality respond to my request?
The act requires the RMOW to respond to your FOI request within 30 business days, not including holidays, of receiving it.
If you are denied to any record or part of a record that you have requested, you have the right to ask for review by the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner at:
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
P.O. Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, BC V8W 9A4
A decision of the Commissioner is final, but can be subject to judicial review.
Who will know I made a request?
The identity and personal information of the FOI requestor is confidential, except to staff required to know the identity of the requestor to process the request.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
Learn more about Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation and how to make an FOI request.