This form is being offered to you as an on-line service and is available to you in Rich Text (RTF) and Portable Document (PDF) formats. More detailed instructions will also be offered on the form.
If you choose the RTF format, you will have two options for completing the form:
1. Fill in the form on-screen and then print it for submission by mail to the responsible federal government institution; 2. or print the form and fill in the fields by hand for submission by mail to the responsible federal government institution.
If you choose the PDF format, you must print the form and fill in the fields by hand for submission by mail.
Access to Informtion Request Form (TBS/SCT 350-57):
* Access to Information Request Form (TBC/CTC 350-57) (RTF) * Access to Information Request Form (TBC/CTC 350-57) (PDF)
Instructions for completing the form:
1. Determine which federal government institution is most likely to have the information you are seeking.
2. To apply for information under the Access to Information Act, complete the Access to Information Request Form. Describe the information being sought and provide any relevant details necessary to help the institution find it. If you require assistance, refer to Info Source: Sources of Federal Government Information for a description of program records held by the institution or contact its Access to Information Coordinator.
3. Forward the access request to the Coordinator of the institution holding the information. Enclose a $5.00 money order or cheque. Note: Cheques and money orders are payable to the Receiver General for Canada with some exceptions. Please refer to Info Source – Sources of Federal Government Information - Section I -- Institutions Without Receiver General Accounts for a list of institutions to which Access to Information Requests must be accompanied by cheques or money orders made out to the institution itself and not to the Receiver General for Canada.
WHAT IS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST?
Freedom of information legislation are rules that guarantee access to data held by the state. They establish a "right-to-know" legal process by which requests may be made for government-held information, to be received freely or at minimal cost, barring standard exceptions. Also variously referred to as open records or (especially in the United States) sunshine laws, governments are also typically bound by a duty to publish and promote openness. In many countries there are constitutional guarantees for the right of access to information, but usually these are unused if specific support legislation does not exist.
Over 85 countries around the world have implemented some form of such legislation. Sweden's Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 is the oldest.
Canada Main article: Freedom of information in Canada
In Canada, the Access to Information Act allows citizens to demand records from federal bodies. The act came into force in 1983, under the Pierre Trudeau government, permitting Canadians to retrieve information from government files, establishing what information could be accessed, mandating timelines for response. This is enforced by the Information Commissioner of Canada.
There is also a complementary Privacy Act, introduced in 1983. The purpose of the Privacy Act is to extend the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a federal government institution and that provide individuals with a right of access to that information. It is a Crown copyright. Complaints for possible violations of the Act may be reported to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Canadian access to information laws distinguish between access to records generally and access to records that contain personal information about the person making the request. Subject to exceptions, individuals have a right of access to records that contain their own personal information under the Privacy Act but the general public does not have a right of access to records that contain personal information about others under the Access to Information Act.
Each province and territory in Canada has its own access to information legislation. in many cases, this is also the provincial public sector privacy legislation. For example:
* Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Alberta) * Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Manitoba) * Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Nova Scotia) * Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario) * Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Saskatchewan) * Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information (Quebec)
From 1989 to 2008, requests made to the federal government were catalogued in the Coordination of Access to Information Requests System.
A 393 page report released in September 2008, sponsored by several Canadian newspaper groups, compares Canada’s Access to Information Act to the FOI laws of the provinces and of 68 other nations:Fallen Behind: Canada’s Access to Information Act in the World Context.
In 2009, The Walrus (magazine) published a detailed history of FOI in Canada.
Other countries are working towards introducing such laws, and many regions of countries with national legislation have local laws. For example, all states of the United States have laws governing access to public documents of state and local taxing entities, in addition to that country's Freedom of Information Act which governs records management of documents in the possession of the federal government.
A related concept is open meetings legislation, which allows access to government meetings, not just to the records of them. In many countries, privacy or data protection laws may be part of the freedom of information legislation; the concepts are often closely tied together in political discourse.
A basic principle behind most freedom of information legislation is that the burden of proof falls on the body asked for information, not the person asking for it. The requester does not usually have to give an explanation for their request, but if the information is not disclosed a valid reason has to be given.
If a letter is submitted instead of the Access to Information Request form, the following information must be included:
* statement that the information is being requested under the Access to Information Act: * name of the appropriate federal government institution; * description of the records (be as specific as possible); * preferred method of viewing the records (e.g. receiving photocopies of the original documents or viewing the originals in the government office where they are located); * name, street, address, city or town, province or territory, postal code, telephone number(s) and signature of the applicant; * date of request; and * application fee.
Fees and costs An application fee of $5 applies and additional costs may be charged for each request. Applicants will be notified in advance if there are additional costs and if a deposit is required.
Cheques and money orders are payable to the Receiver General of Canada with some exceptions.
Please refer to Section F - Institutions Without Receiver General Accounts for a list of federal government institutions to which access to information requests must be accompanied by cheques or money orders made out to the institution itself and not to the Receiver General of Canada.
Time to process a request Under the Access to Information Act, federal government institutions must acknowledge a request within 30 days, however, in special cases, more time may be needed to process a request. Applicants who feel that it is taking too long to process their requests may submit a complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner (See Section A – Roles and Responsibilities).
Privacy Act The following procedures should be followed when making a formal request under the Privacy Act.
There is no fee to apply for information under the Privacy Act.
To change personal information If an individual believes that the personal information a federal institution has on file about them is untrue or misleading, they may ask to have it corrected. Even if the institution does not agree to change this information, it must make a note that a request for the change was made and attach the note to the file.
Time to process a request Under the Privacy Act, all or most of the information requested should be provided to an applicant within 30 days of receiving the request. If a time extension is required, the applicant will be notified within the first 30 days and told why up to another 30 days may be needed. Applicants who feel that it is taking too long to process their requests may submit a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (See Section A – Roles and Responsibilities).