British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act applies to public bodies in British Columbia, including local governments.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is intended to:
- Make public bodies more accountable by providing the public with access to records whenever possible;
- Prevent the unauthorized collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
The main principle of the act is that all municipal information should be available to the public, except anything specifically outlined as being exempt under the act.
Public’s Guide to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Protection of Personal Privacy
The act protects personal privacy by restricting the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
Please note: Only private individuals have personal privacy rights; businesses do not.
Collection: The RMOW only collects personal information when the municipality has the clear authority to do so or when the collection is related directly to and is necessary for the operation of a program.
Use and Disclosure: Personal information must only be used for the purpose it was collected or for a use consistent with the reason that it was collected. The RMOW may also use or disclose personal information in other ways, but only if the municipality has the legal authority to do so.
How to File an Information Request
Step 1: Make an Informal Information Request Directly to the Department
Before filing a formal FOI request, start by making an informal request.
Contact the department responsible for the content you are looking for. If the information is routinely released, or easily accessed you may receive your records as soon as possible without a formal process or fees.
If you are told that the information is not routinely available, you must make a formal Freedom of Information request (FOI).
Step 2: Make a Formal Freedom of Information (FOI) Request
The criteria for an FOI request:
- Must be in writing, using the FOI Request for Access to Records Application.
- Example: If you are representing a person, you must provide the necessary authorization to represent that individual and receive their personal information.
- Must be made to the correct jurisdiction.
- Example: If the request is for a Fire Commissioner’s Report for a fire in Whistler, the applicant should submit its request to the Office of the Fire Commissioner, not the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
- Must be in sufficient detail to assist staff in processing the request.
- Example: Requesting “all records relating to (subject)…” is too vast and could cover a period of 30+ years of records, including excessive fees and time extensions. Instead, try to narrow down the scope of your request. The FOI Coordinator can help you clearly define the records to search and retrieve the exact documents you are looking for.
Download the FOI Request for Access to Records Application or pick up the form at the front desk of Municipal Hall (4325 Blackcomb Way).
Deliver, mail, fax or email your request with the subject reading “FOI Request” to:
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Coordinator
4325 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, BC, V0N 1B4