Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act (FOI)
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA or FOI)
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) promotes two general principles:
Freedom of Information - which is the idea that people ought to have access to records held by public bodies (with a few limited exceptions); and
Protection of Privacy - which is the idea that a person has the right to expect that information about oneself will not be collected, used or disclosed without their consent.
Freedom of Information
What is FOI?
In accordance with the Act, any person (or organization/entity) may request access to records held by the City of Richmond. An applicant may only request access to records that are within the City’s custody and/or control. The general right of access to records is restricted by certain specified and limited exceptions. For example, an applicant will not gain access to someone else's personal information without their permission or information which would harm third party business interests.
The Act also provides an appeal procedure. Should an applicant believe that the response the City has provided is incomplete or inaccurate, they may contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia.
What is not a FOI request?
The majority of records held by the City of Richmond can be accessed without a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Prior to initiating a formal FOI request, contact the appropriate Department to ask whether the record you are seeking is available through a routine request. The Richmond Service Directory provides contact information for over 500 City services. In addition to talking to Departmental staff, you may conduct your own research on the City’s website. Examples of documents routinely available, many of which are published online, include: agendas, minutes, bylaws, annual reports, budgets, property related information, and maps.
It is also important to note that the FOI process is not a method to request that City staff research a particular topic. It is not the intention of the Act that City staff undertake compiled and summarized 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.
The only requests for records that will be put through the FOI process are those that may involve sensitive or confidential information. Requests for all other types of records will be referred to the appropriate Department for response.
The City also only processes requests for records that are under our control or jurisdiction. For example, requests for policing records must be made directly to the Richmond Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
How do I make a FOI request?
All FOI requests must be made in writing and provide sufficient detail to assist staff in locating/retrieving the records sought. You may use the standard Freedom of Information Request Form or you may submit your request in your own format (with the required information).
If you wish to make an FOI request, submit your request to
Attention: Manager, Records and Information
2nd Floor, City Hall
6911 No. 3 Road
Richmond, BC V6Y 2C1
Section 75 of the Act provides that the City may charge fees for certain limited costs of providing applicants with records. If there are costs involved in processing a formal request, the applicant will be provided with a fee estimate before the application is fully processed as per the Fee Schedule of the Act.
Protection of Privacy
The Protection of Privacy regulations contained in the Act hold the City to very strict standards around the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information. Should you have any concerns regarding the City’s collection of information and your privacy, please contact the City Clerk’s Office using the contact information listed below.