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FOIP Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to make a FOIP request to obtain information from The City?
  2. What organizations are subject to the provisions of the FOIP Act?
  3. What is personal information?
  4. If I make a FOIP request, will I get all of the information that I requested?
  5. Is there a cost to make a formal FOIP request?
  6. Are there additional fees charged after the initial fee?
  7. What if I don't enclose the $25.00 initial fee required for submitting a formal FOIP request?
  8. Do I have to give The City my personal information?
  9. Does The City have to tell me what use they will make of my personal information?
  10. Can The City collect personal information for non public bodies groups?
  11. What can I do if The City breaches my privacy?
  12. What is meant by the duty to assist?
  13. What is clarification of request?
  14. What is the Alberta Information & Privacy Commissioner's role?
  15. Do I have to tell The City why I want the information?
  16. What are the principles or intent of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?
  17. How do I ask for a correction to my personal information?

 

1.  Do I have to make a FOIP request to obtain information from The City?

No.  The City of Calgary routinely releases information without a formal FOIP request provided the information is neither subject to exemption from disclosure under the FOIP Act nor contains personal information about other individuals.

2.  What organizations are subject to the provisions of the FOIP Act?

The FOIP Act is applicable to the majority of the provincial government and its agencies, boards, committees etc. and to local government which includes municipalities, school boards, post secondary education and health bodies. The legislation is not applicable to the private sector.

3.  What is personal information?

Personal information is recorded information on an identifiable individual including:

  • the individual's name, home or business address or home or business telephone number,
  • the individual's race, national or ethnic origin, colour or religious or political beliefs or associations,
  • the individual's age, sex, marital status or family status,
  • an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,
  • the individual's fingerprints, blood type or inheritable characteristics,
  • information about the individual's health and health care history, including information about a physical or mental disability,
  • information about the individual's educational, financial, employment or criminal history, including criminal records where a pardon has been given,
  • anyone else's opinions about the individual, and
  • the individual's personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else.

4.  If I make a FOIP request, will I get all of the information that I requested?

You will receive all information that is releasable under the FOIP Act. Some information may not be released if an exception to release exists in the Act. When an exemption to disclosure exists, a FOIP applicant will be informed under which section of the Act the information is exempt.

In the Act, there are two types of exemptions; mandatory which, if applicable, The City can not release information related to these exemptions without violating the Act and discretionary exemptions to which The City may apply its discretion to the information in deciding whether or not to release.

5.  Is there a cost to make a formal FOIP request?

When submitting a request for your own personal information, there is no initial fee charged.

When requesting information that is not your own personal information, you must pay an initial fee of $25.00. A request requiring this fee will not be processed until the fee is received.

6.  Are there additional fees charged after the initial fee?

A personal request will have fee assessed for photocopies if the cost of the copies requested exceeds $10.00. The charge for copies is $0.25 per page, therefore 41 or more pages will result in fees and you will be required to pay for all copies received.

For other requests, fees are charged when the cost of processing the request exceeds $150.00 which includes search time, preparation and review time and copies.

All fees are charged in accordance with Schedule 2 of Alberta Regulation 200/95. Applicants will be provided with an estimate of fees prior to processing, at which time an applicant can decide to continue or narrow the request, etc. A deposit of 50% of the fee estimate is required before the request can be processed, the remainder of the actual fees is due at the time of receipt of the information.

7.  What if I don't enclose the $25.00 initial fee required for submitting a formal FOIP request?

Your request will be opened, but processing will not begin until the initial fee has been received by the FOIP Coordinator's office. The office will inform you in writing that the request is on hold and awaiting the fee.

8.  Do I have to give The City my personal information?

To obtain services from The City of Calgary, you may have to provide your personal information to The City. However, The City can collect only the personal information that is needed to provide the service.

9.  Does The City have to tell me what use they will make of my personal information?

Yes.

When personal information is collected from an individual, notice should be given about what use is made of their personal information, the authority for collecting this information and the name and contact information of an employee who can answer additional questions a person may have on this collection. Also, the information is to be collected directly from the individual in most circumstances but there are allowed exceptions to this in the FOIP Act.

10.  Can The City collect personal information for non public bodies groups?

No.

The City can only collect the personal information that it requires for operation of its programs and activities and there must be an authority for the collection. It can share this information with other public bodies, if there is a common or integrated program or service between the two groups

11.  What can I do if The City breaches my privacy?

If you feel that The City of Calgary has breached your privacy, you have the right to request an investigation into the matter by The City FOIP office and, if not satisfied with the result of this investigation, you may request the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta to investigate the potential breach.

12.  What is meant by the duty to assist?

Employees of The City of Calgary, including The FOIP Coordinator's office, must make every "reasonable" effort to help FOIP applicants and to respond to each applicant openly, accurately and completely with the restrictions and exemptions of the FOIP Act.

13.  What is clarification of request?

If it is unclear what records are being requested, The FOIP Coordinator will contact the applicant for more details on the information being requested as a part of the duty to assist. This clarification enables more accurate and complete processing of a request.

14.  What is the Alberta Information & Privacy Commissioner's role?

Alberta's Information and Privacy Commissioner, who is appointed by the Provincial Legislature, oversees all aspects of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for all public bodies affected by The Act including the City of Calgary. The Office of the Commissioner (OIPC) is the independent body that reviews the application of the legislation including:

  • Conducting reviews of decisions made by The City of Calgary under the FOIP Act, at the request of an applicant or affected third party,
  • Conducting investigations into complaints regarding privacy breaches, to ensure compliance with provisions of the FOIP Act and compliance with rules relating to the destruction of records,
  • Making Order as a result of investigations, reviews or inquiries, and
  • Informing the public about the Act.

15.  Do I have to tell The City why I want the information?

No.

However, under certain circumstances it may be helpful to provide the reason, as it would enable The City to process your request more efficiently.

16.  What are the principles or intent of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?

There are five basic principles of this legislation aimed to provide an individual with an appropriate balance between access to government information and protection of the individual's personal information. These principles are:

  • You, the 'public', have a right of access to records held by The City,
  • The City must protect your personal privacy and follow rules and guidelines in collecting, using and disclosing, to others, your personal information,
  • It is your right to see your personal information held by The City about yourself;
  • You have the right to request corrections to your personal information that is held by The City. However, opinion's cannot be changed or removed, and
  • You have the right to an independent review of decisions made by The City. This independent review is conducted by the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner's office.

17.  How do I ask for a correction to my personal information?

The first thing to do is contact the area that has recorded the inaccurate information, for example, if your Recreation pass has your name misspelled, ask them to make the correction. If you are unable to have the correction made you can make a FOIP request to have the correction made. Use the form for making a request and indicate under "1. What records do you want to access?" you are asking for a correction to your personal information, specifying what you want to have corrected. It is important to note that the FOIP Office cannot change the opinion of another person recorded on your file.