Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?
- What information can I request?
- How do I make a request?
- What fees will I be charged?
- When can I expect a response to my request?
- Will I get all the information I ask for?
- Will the response to my request for access to information be available to the public?
- What is personal information?
- How is my personal information protected?
- How can I make changes to my personal information?
- Privacy Complaint
- Where can I get more information on this topic?
The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Actcame into force on July 1, 1993. The Act incorporates two distinct ideas: (1) freedom of information (FOI) and (2) protection of privacy and is based on four fundamental principles:
- The public has the right of access to government-held information
- There are some exemptions which are intended to protect the legitimate needs of government
- Individuals have a right to protection of their personal information held by the City and can request correction to that information if they believe it is inaccurate
- There is a provision for independent review of government decisions to release or withhold information.
Subject to The Act, you have a right to request any records in the possession or under the control of the City of Regina. A record is defined as:
“a record of information in any form and includes information that is written, photographed, recorded or stored in any manner but does not include computer programs or other mechanisms that produce records;”
The City of Regina is committed to the principle that “public business should be conducted in public” and regularly provides information without a formal FOI request, provided the information does not contain personal information about other individuals and the information isn’t exempted from disclosure under the The Act.
Always make an informal request first.
Make a formal FOI request if the information sought has not been made available through the informal process or if it is believed the information would not be made available through the informal process.
To make an informal request, call Service Regina at 306-777-7000 or use the “Contact Us”.
Formal FOI Requests
There are two types of formal requests: General and Personal
- For General requests, the request will be processed after the application fee has been received.
- For Personal requests, you will be required to produce two pieces of identification.
FOI requests must be made in writing and provide sufficient detail to assist staff in locating and retrieving the requested records. Use the Access to Information Request form to make a formal request. The form may be delivered, mailed, or faxed to:
Access Privacy Team, City of Regina, Office of the City Clerk, 15th Floor, City Hall, 2476 Victoria Avenue, PO Box 1790, Regina, SK S4P 3C8
fax: 306-777-6809 or contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org
When an informal request is made, the business area where the information is held may charge a fee to cover its costs in processing your request.
Formal FOI Requests
A $20 application fee is payable at the time the application is made.
In addition, the City may charge fees to cover the cost of processing your General or Personal FOI request. For charges over $50, a fee estimate will be provided before processing your request. The City may request a deposit of 50% of the fee estimate before proceeding with the request and the other 50% is payable when the information is provided.
Fees are charged in accordance with section 5 of The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Regulations.
Tip - Please narrow the scope of the request as much as possible to reduce fees and speed response time. Try to specify a date range as our records date back more than 100 years.
When an informal request is made, the business area holding the information will respond as quickly as possible. A response is provided within 10 business days.
Formal FOI Requests
The Act requires that the City respond within 30 calendar days of receiving the formal request and $20 application fee. An applicant who requests access to records on multiple, unrelated topics may be requested to submit individual requests based on related subject matter.
If the request is large or extremely complicated, section 12 of The Act allows a 30 day maximum extension.
Depending on what is asked for, all information requested may be provided.
The Act allows the City to withhold information that protects an individual’s privacy, threatens their health or safety or would interfere with law enforcement or investigations, including bylaw enforcement. The Act includes several mandatory and discretionary exemptions where certain types of records are or may be protected and not released to the public.
Additional examples for refusing access to information include:
- Deliberations of Council or Committees which have been authorized to be held in the absence of the public (private or “in-camera”)
- Solicitor-client privilege
- Information obtained in confidence from other governments
- Drafts and recommendations not finalized and have not yet been made public
- Information that may harm the financial and economic interests of the City
- Information disclosing trade secrets, testing procedures
- Information which may interfere with contractual negotiations
- Information which affects a third party and permission to release the information has not been granted
If all the information requested is not provided the City will advise of the sections of The Act on which the refusal is based. If not satisfied with the City’s response, an application for a review may be made to the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner by completing and submitting the Request for Review form. The Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner is located at 503 – 1801 Hamilton Street Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 4B4. A request for review must be submitted within one calendar year.
Will the response to my request for access to information be available to the public?
Records released under the FOI process will be published to the City of Regina Open Data website at the City’s discretion. All information/data is handled in accordance with The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Your identity as the applicant is protected. Published requests will be available on the Open Data website after a minimum of three to five business days following release of the records to you.
Personal information is defined as personal information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form. Personal information includes, but is not limited to: address; telephone number; identifying numbers such as Social Insurance number, driver’s license number, Employee ID, Student ID; health information; employment history; criminal history; educational background; financial status/history; religion; personal opinions except when they are about another person; etc.
Personal information does not include classification, salary, benefits or expenses incurred while travelling at the expense of the City.
The Act protects personal information by restricting its collection, use and disclosure.
The City must only collect personal information that relates to the services provided by a municipality and the collection must be limited to information necessary for the provision of the service. The City has an obligation to inform the individual why the information is being collected and what it will be used for. The information must be used for purpose for which it was collected or a use consistent with that purpose. Before the information is used for any other purpose, the City must obtain consent from the individual, preferably in writing.
The Act provides for disclosure of personal information without consent in limited circumstances such as:
- By subpoena or warrant
- To legal counsel
- To protect the mental or physical health or safety of an individual
- To assist in the provision of services to the individual
- To comply with an Act or regulation, etc.
There are security measures in place to protect personal information from unauthorized access or disclosure. For example: If a bylaw enforcement complaint is made, the City would ask for personal information such as name, address and telephone number of the caller in order to keep the individual informed about the handling of the complaint. As a complainant, the personal information provided is protected and is not made public. The only time the identity of a complainant would be disclosed is to comply with court proceedings.
The City must take reasonable steps to ensure that personal information in its possession is accurate and complete, but it is also an individual’s responsibility to ensure that the City is informed of changes in personal information.
If the information is inaccurate or incomplete, contact:
- Information Services Corporation (ISC) for tax notices and change of ownership; and
- Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) for parking tickets and summons
For any other changes to personal information, contact Service Regina at 306-777-7000.
If you believe that the City of Regina has mishandled your personal information or has not answered your request for access to your personal information please complete the Privacy Complaint Form and mail it to: City of Regina Access Privacy Team c/o Office of the City Clerk, PO Box 1790, Regina, SK S4P 3C8 or email to email@example.com.
Contact the Office of the City Clerk at 306-777-7262 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other useful resources are:
Saskatchewan Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner - oipc.sk.ca/
Access and Privacy, Justice and Attorney General - justice.gov.sk.ca/accessandprivacy