Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy

Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

(MFIPPA Access Request Form click on link to access form)

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) came into effect on January 1, 1991. The legislation applies to all municipalities in Ontario and to various other local government institutions. The Act does not apply to private companies, credit bureaus, hospitals, doctors' records or to federal government institutions.
There is also a separate act that applies specifically to Ontario's Provincial Ministries and agencies.

Principles of the Act

  • Access to information rights balanced with privacy protection.
  • All paper documents, computer disk data, e-mail and other forms of stored data are considered to be RECORDS of the "institution".
  • Subject to certain limitations, there is a right of access to information in records.
  • Subject again to certain limitations, the personal information of individuals has to be protected and is not accessible to others.

General Operation of the Act

  • Requesters must complete a request form (available from the Municipal Office or online here) or write a letter stating  that they are asking for access to records under the Act.
  • Requesters must send a completed request form or letter to the Chief Administrative Officer & Clerk. There is a $5.00 application fee that must be paid for all requests. Cheques should be made payable to "Municipality of Central Elgin". Additional fees may be charged.
  • The CAO & Clerk locates the records being requested and within 30 days of receiving the request makes a decision to either release the records entirely, in part or to deny access to them. On occasion, an institution may ask for an extension, if the request is for an extensive number of records and/or if an outside party needs to be contacted.This decision is based on the provisions of the Act and on relevant Orders that have been issued by the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC).
  • The CAO & Clerk issues a decision letter to the requester advising which records are being released and/or explaining why access is being denied to records in part or entirely.  The requester may access the records in the Municipal Office or photocopies or electronic copies can be made for a fee.
  • The decision letter will also explain the appeal process to the IPC, which the requester can pursue if not satisfied with the decision made by the Municipality.
  • The IPC will first attempt to achieve a mediated settlement of the appeal between the appellant and the institution. If this is unsuccessful then the appeal will go to an inquiry and the IPC will issue an Order either upholding the decision of the local Co-ordinator or directing that some or all of the denied records be released to the requester. (Rulings of the IPC may, in some instances, be reviewed by the Courts)

Central Elgin's Approach

The Municipality of Central Elgin promotes accountable and transparent government:

    * Records should be available to the public;
    * Individuals should have access to their own personal information;
    * Exemptions to access should be limited and specific;
    * Institutions should protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information held by institutions.

If the request is on the official request form from the Act (available from the Municipal Office or online here) or if it is only a letter or email but the letter or email refers to the Act, then the matter must be processed in accordance with the Act. Fortunately, the legislation does have a feature in it that allows requesters to withdraw requests.  Central Elgin's experience has been that people often opt to withdraw formal requests when they discover that the information they are looking for is readily available to them. This "informal route" is usually faster and less expensive.

Fees established by Ontario Regulation

The following are the fees that shall be charged for the purposes of subsection 45 (1) of the Act for access to a record:

  • For photocopies and computer printouts, 20 cents per page.
  • For records provided on CD-ROMs, $10 for each CD-ROM.
  • For manually searching a record, $7.50 for each 15 minutes spent by any person.
  • For preparing a record for disclosure, including severing a part of the record, $7.50 for each 15 minutes spent by any person.
  • For developing a computer program or other method of producing a record from machine readable record, $15 for each 15 minutes spent by any person.
  • The costs, including computer costs, that the institution incurs in locating, retrieving, processing and copying the record if those costs are specified in an invoice that the institution has received.

The following are the fees that shall be charged for the purposes of subsection 45 (1) of the Act for access to personal information about the individual making the request for access:

  • For photocopies and computer printouts, 20 cents per page.
  • For records provided on CD-ROMs, $10 for each CD-ROM.
  • For developing a computer program or other method of producing the personal information requested from machine readable record, $15 for each 15 minutes spent by any person.
  • 4. The costs, including computer costs, that the institution incurs in locating, retrieving, processing and copying the personal information requested if those costs are specified in an invoice that the institution has received.

If a head gives a person an estimate of an amount payable under the Act and the estimate is $100 or more, the head may require the person to pay a deposit equal to 50 per cent of the estimate before the head takes any further steps to respond to the request.

View Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

View Information and Privacy Commissioner's Mini-Guide to Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

summer at central elgin

Powered by CivicWeb CMS - © Copyright 2013 iCompass Technologies Inc.