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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about making a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) request? See if your question is answered below, or contact the FOIP Branch at 780-743-7000.

Do I have to make a FOIP request to obtain information from the Municipality?

No. The Municipality 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.

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 disclosure exists in the Act. When this occurs, you 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 Municipality can not release information related to these exemptions without violating the Act and discretionary exemptions to which the Municipality may apply its discretion to the information in deciding whether or not to release.

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

Are there additional fees charged after the initial fee?

A personal request will have fees 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 general information 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 FOIP Regulation. 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.

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 Manager's office. The office will inform you in writing that the request is on hold and awaiting the fee.

Do I have to tell the Municipality why I want the information?

No. However, under certain circumstances it may be helpful to provide the reason, as it would enable the Municipality to process your request more efficiently.

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.

Do I have to give the Municipality my personal information?

To obtain services from the Municipality, you may have to provide your personal information; however, the Municipality can collect only the personal information that is needed to provide the service.

What happens to personal information I submit to the Municipality?

Personal information contained in hardcopy letters, email and other electronic messages sent to those domain names owned by the Municipality (including, but not limited to municipal email addresses and www.rmwb.ca ) are subject to the FOIP Act. Senders of messages should be aware that:

  • Personal and other information contained in electronic or hardcopy correspondence may be used by municipal staff and disclosed to others under the FOIP Act; and
  • The anonymity or confidentiality of the sender and the information contained within the correspondence can not be guaranteed.
  • Correspondence and submissions to Council or committees that are considered in public meetings are public documents. For example, Council meetings, public hearings of Council, Subdivision Development Appeal Board, Assessment Review Board, and Standing Policy Committees of Council are public meetings. This list is not all inclusive.
  • Your personal information will be protected from unauthorized use, access and disclosure and will be retained and destroyed or archived according to the Municipality's Records Retention and Disposition Bylaw.

Does the Municipality 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.

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 Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. 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 Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 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 Orders as a result of investigations, reviews or inquiries, and
  • Informing the public about the Act.

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 have a right of access to records held by the Municipality,
  • The Municipality 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 Municipality about yourself;
  • You have the right to request corrections to your personal information that is held by the Municipality, however, opinion's cannot be changed or removed, and
  • You have the right to an independent review of decisions made by the Municipality. This independent review is conducted by the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner's office.

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