Frequently Asked Questions
Q.1: What is the difference between an information request and a privacy request?
An information request can be made by an individual for the right of access to information about programs and activities in federal government records. An application fee of $5.00 is required to process these requests, and additional fees may be charged. A privacy request is made by an individual (or their representative with consent) for access to their personal information held by the government. There are no fees attached to privacy requests.
Q.2: What is a record?
A record is defined in the Access to Information Act as any documentary material, regardless of medium or form.
Q.3: What information is available under the Access to information and Privacy Act?
Most government information is available. Major exceptions are Cabinet documents and information that could be injurious to Canada's security or economy, federal-provincial relations and international affairs. Information about individuals may be disclosed only with their consent or if it is found to be in the public interest. Individuals can obtain their personal information under the Privacy Act.
Q.4: What is the fee for an Access to Information request?
Each request filed under the Access to Information Act requires a $5.00 application fee. A requester can pay by either cheque or money order made payable to the Receiver General for Canada. There may also be additional fees if copying, computer processing or further search and preparation time is required. (The first five hours of search and preparation are free).
Q.5: What is the fee for a Privacy request?
There are no fees under the Privacy Act.
Q.6: Who can make a request for access to information?
Canadian citizens, permanent residents and any individual present in Canada can make a request under the Access to Information Act. Individuals who are none of the above can ask a representative, who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, to make a request on his/her behalf, provided there is written consent.
Q.7: Who can make a request for personal information?
According to the Act, the following individuals can make a privacy request:
- Canadian Citizen or permanent resident
- An offender within the meaning of Part I of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
- All individuals present in Canada
Q.8: Will my Access to Information or Privacy request be processed faster if I submit it through a representative?
If you choose to hire a representative, your application will not be given special attention, nor can you expect faster processing. The Government of Canada treats everyone equally, whether they use the services of a representative or not.
The use of a representative to assist in the completion of your Access to Information or Privacy application is a personal choice. Please note that the Government of Canada does not recommend or endorse any individual representative. You may contact our Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Division for any assistance.
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