Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act

WHAT IS F.O.I.P?

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act aims to strike a balance between the public's right to know and the individual's right to privacy, as those rights relate to information held by public bodies in Alberta.

This law, proclaimed October 1, 1995, affects all provincial government departments, agencies, boards and commissions. The Act came into effect for local governments (municipalities) on October 1, 1999.

The County of Grande Prairie No. 1 takes the privacy of our citizen's personal information seriously. We strive to protect your privacy when we collect, use and disclose information and abide by the provisions of the FOIP Act. In balancing access and privacy, the County endeavours to operate in an open and transparent environment. Accordingly every effort is made to provide people with the information they require in a timely and efficient manner.

To make a formal F.O.I.P request please complete the either the General FOIP Request Form [PDF - 237 KB] or the Personal FOIP Request Form [PDF - 238 KB]. If you are uncertain which type of FOIP Request you require please see below.

General Information Personal Information

General information is information other than personal information. For example, it would include information about a third party.

  • There is an initial fee of $25.
  • You will be provided with an estimated cost before processing begins.
  • If the total cost of processing your request is more than $150, you are asked to pay a 50% deposit.
  • The records are provided when the fee is paid in full.

Personal information is your own personal information or the personal information of an individual you are entitled to represent.

  • You must provide proof of your identity before records containing your personal information are released to you.
  • If you are requesting records for another person, you must provide proof that you have authority to act for that person (e.g. guardianship or trusteeship order, power of attorney).
  • There is no initial fee for accessing your own information.
  • If the cost of photocopying is more than $10 ou will be notified of the fee.

 ** If you belong to an external agency (RCMP, Canada Revenue Agency, utilities company, fire reports, insurance company, etc.) and need to make a FOIP request please contact the FOIP Coordinator (foip@countygp.ab.ca).

The Purposes of The Act are:

  1. To allow any person a right to access the records in the custody or under the control of a public body subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act,
  2. To control the manner in which a public body may collect personal information from individuals, to control the use that a public body may make of that information and to control the disclosure by a public body of that information,
  3. To allow individuals, subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this Act, a right of access to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body,
  4. To allow individuals a right to request corrections to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body, and
  5. To provide for independent reviews of decisions made by public bodies under this Act and the resolution of complaints under this Act.

The FOIP Act does not apply to private businesses, non-profit organizations or professional regulatory organizations operating in Alberta. In these cases, Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) will apply.

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Collecting and Using Personal Information

Either before or when we collect information about you, we will explain how be intend to use it. We will limit the information we collect to what we need for those purposes, and we will use it only for those purposes. We will obtain your consent if we wish to use your information for any other purpose that is not consistent with the purpose for which it was originally collected.

Any personal information collected for the creation of an online user account is for the customization of your account and is collected under the authority of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, section 33(c).

If you choose to provide us with personal information in an email or by filling out a form and submitting it to us through our website, we will use that information to respond to your message and to help us get the information you have requested.

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How we Protect Your Information

Personal information is managed and protected according to the FOIP Act, and we will retain your information only as long as it is required for those purposes that it was originally collected. These purposes will be explained to you at the time of collection.

The length of time we retain information varies depending on the product or service and the nature of the information. This period may extend beyond the end of your relationship with us but only for so long as it is legally necessary for us to have sufficient information to respond to any issue that may arise at a later date. When your information is no longer needed for the purposes explained to you, we have procedures to destroy, delete, erase or convert it to an anonymous form.

We have thorough security standards to protect our systems and your information against unauthorized access and use.

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Release of Your Information

We will only release your personal information to third parties only in limited circumstances authorized under section 17(2) and 40 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). Some of these circumstances are:

  • Where we have your written consent, or
  • To those departments within the County of Grande Prairie who assist us in serving you, or
  • Where we are required or permitted to do so by law.

We give a limited amount of information, only as necessary, in support of these limited circumstances.

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Your Right to Review Your Information

We will give you access to the information we retain about you upon written request. Most of this information is in the form of your transaction records. These are available to you through your account statements, by visiting County offices, or by accessing your account through our online services.

If you require other information, simply contact the department or office where your account is maintained. We will ask you specific details such as your name, address and account number, in order to assis you with your request.

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Keeping Your Information Accurate

We will make every reasonable effort to keep your information accurate and up-to-date.

Having accurate information about you enables us to give you the best possible service. You can help by keeping us informed of any changes: for example, a new address or telephone number. If you find any errors in our information about you, let us know and we will correct them immediately and make sure the correct information is conveyed to anyone we may have misinformed. If any information remains in dispute, we will note your opinion in the file.

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Record Requests

As a local public body, the County of Grande Prairie No. 1 is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). The County respects the privacy of all individuals and is committed to protect the personal information that is shared with us.

A number of public records are available online free of charge. These records include bylaws, council agendas and minutes for the current year and two years previous, land use maps and area structure plans.

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Making Requests

Requests for copies of County documents or a file review are made in writing to the FOIP Coordinator using the Access to Information (FOIP) Request Form. The request can be submitted in person, by mail, email or fax.

The following information must be included on the form:

  • Name, address, telephone number and email address of the requestor/applicant
  • Sufficient information to identify the public record
  • Date of submission of the request

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Wait Time

Within five (5) business days of the receipt of the request, the FOIP Coordinator will do one or more of the following: (Note: The five days begin one working day after receipt of the request.)

  • Acknowledge receipt of request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records will be available.
  • Seek clarification of unclear requests.

Within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the request, the FOIP Coordinator will do one or more of the following:

  • Provide an estimate invoice if the time and material charges required to complete the request are greater than $150.00 so the 50% deposit can be paid.
  • Deny the request with explanation of the denial.
  • Provide a copy of the records as requested in total or with information severed (removed), and the reason for removal, if appropriate.
  • Make an appointment for the applicant to review the record as requested.

All records will be released if they do not fall within the specific exemptions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other statues which exempt or prohibit disclosure of specific information or records. The FOIP Coordinator will describe why each withheld record or redacted portion of a record is exempt from disclosure.

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Exemptions and Denials

The following are a few common reasons why a record may be exempt from disclosure or denied:

  • Common exemption: The County does not disclose lists of individuals for commercial purposes such as real estate circulars, renovation contractors, etc.
  • Third-party notification: Requested records that contain information that may affect the rights of others may be exempt from disclosure. The FOIP Coordinator may give notice to others whose rights may be affected by the disclosure, prior to providing the records. The applicant's personal information is kept confidential and not revealed to the third party.
  • Withdrawn or abandoned requests: When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill their obligations to inspect the records, pay the deposit, or make final payment within 30 days for the requested copies, the FOIP Coordinator will close the request and notify the requestor the request has been closed.

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For more information on the FOIP Act, please contact:

FOIP Coordinator
Sherry Green, Corporate Records and Information Coordinator
County of Grande Prairie No. 1
Phone: 780-532-9722 ext. 1175
Email: foip@countygp.ab.ca

or:

Policy and Governance Branch
Service Alberta
3rd Floor, Commerce Place
10155 - 102 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4L4

In Alberta, dial 310-0000 followed by 780-427-5848
Email: foiphelpdesk@gov.ab.ca
Web site: http://www.servicealberta.ca/foip/