Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOI)
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the 'Act') provides specific rights regarding personal privacy and information that is created, collected or controlled by the City of Delta.
The principles of the Act are to provide a balance between access and protection:
- The public has the right to access government information.
- Individuals have the right to have their personal information protected.
It has always been a priority in Delta to be helpful in providing information and assistance to the public. Since the advent of the Act, however, we have had to apply its provisions, which means that while we give access to some information more readily, we must restrict access to documents containing personal information.
What does the Act cover?
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act covers all records on which information is recorded, i.e: correspondence, reports, forms, microfilm, drawings, and electronic media.
The important thing to remember is that the Act covers records and the information contained in those records. It is not the intention of the Act that staff compile and summarize research. Think of using the Act as a library card - it allows you access to a book (record), but you have to do the research work necessary for your purposes.
For further information on the Act, please refer to the website of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia at www.oipc.bc.ca.
Methods to Access Records
There are two ways to access Municipal records:
1. Routine Channels
An increasing amount of information is now being released to the public without using the Act, an indication of a move towards a new culture of openness and accountability in government. This includes the normal release of information, usually by front-line City of Delta staff. Examples of this would be minutes, bylaws, guidelines, policies, manuals, property-related information, publications, pamphlets, annual reports, routine inspection reports, licences and permits (but not the personal information supporting them). Click here for direct access to council-related documents.
Information provided through routine channels includes answers to general questions related to departmental and governmental operations.
2. Formal FOI requests
Formal Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made under the Act provide a method of seeking access to information that is not otherwise available through the routine channels.
The Act sets out a series of mandatory and discretionary "exceptions to disclosure" against which the records must be reviewed and upon which the Municipality's decision will be based.
How to Make a Formal FOI Request
The criteria for an FOI request:
- Must be in writing, by means of a letter, or on the FOI Request Form (27 KB) provided by the City Clerk's Office.
- Must be made to the correct jurisdiction. An example: if the request is for a report prepared by the Metro Vancouver Regional District, the applicant should submit its request to Metro Vancouver, not the City of Delta.
- Must be in sufficient detail to assist staff in processing the request. An example: Please don't say you want "all records relating to (whatever)." That could cover a period of 100 years of records, if they were still available! Instead, try to narrow down the scope of your request. The City's FOI Coordinator can help you in this regard.
The Municipality uses the fee schedule as set out in the Act's regulations. There is no charge for the first three hours to locate and retrieve records. Beyond three hours, the charge is $7.50 per 1/4 hour ($30/hr). The photocopying cost is $.25/page. If there are extensive costs involved in retrieving and photocopying records to meet the request, you would be provided with a fee estimate before the application is fully processed. There is, however, no charge for your own personal information.
To submit your formal FOI request to the City of Delta, or for further information, please contact the Municipality's FOI Coordinator, City Clerk’s Office: 4500 Clarence Taylor Crescent, Delta, BC, V4K 3E2; phone 604-946-3220; fax 604-946-3390; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a formal FOI request for Delta Fire & Emergency Services records, please fill out the FOI request form and mail to Administration Offices of Delta Fire: 4645 Harvest Drive, Delta, B.C. V4K 4J5. Fax: 604-946-0436.
To make a formal FOI request for Delta Police records, please refer to their website at www.deltapolice.ca.