Under FIPPA and MFIPPA, with limited exceptions, government organizations are required to provide individuals with a right to access and request correction of their own personal information. Similarly, under PHIPA, with limited exceptions, health information custodians are required to provide individuals with a right to access and request correction of their own personal health information.
Provincial government organizations are required to list their personal information banks in the Directory of Records, which is available for viewing online at http://www.accessandprivacy.gov.on.ca/. The directory describes the kinds of personal information kept by each provincial government organization. Municipal government organizations should have their own directories available at offices such as city halls, police departments and boards of education.
Government organizations are encouraged to respond to informal requests for access. However, government organizations may require the individual to make a written freedom of information request by completing a request form, or writing a letter to the organization requesting personal information under FIPPA or MFIPPA. You may wish to use our generic Request Form. For information on how to respond to requests for personal information under FIPPA and MFIPPA, please refer to Practices No. 9 - Responding to Requests for Personal Information.
Government organizations may charge a $5 fee for access. Additional fees may be charged for services such as photocopying and shipping, in accordance with the fees prescribed by regulation. However, no fees may be charged for the time required to locate and prepare records containing personal information. Government organizations have 30 days to respond to request for access, and must do so in writing. When government organizations refuse to provide access to personal information, they must inform the individual that that the decision may be appealed to the IPC. An appeal fee of $10 will apply. Individuals may appeal decisions by writing or by filling out our Appeal Form and sending it to the Registrar of the IPC at the address on the form.
Health information custodians are also encouraged to respond to informal requests for access. However, custodians may require that the individual make the request in writing. Health information custodians may use our generic forms, Request to Access Personal Health Information (PHIPA) and Request to Correct Personal Health Information (PHIPA).
PHIPA permits health information custodians to charge a reasonable cost recovery fee when providing access. Health information custodians have 30 days to respond to requests for access and/or correction of personal health information. If the custodian refuses or does not respond to the request within 30 days, the individual may complain to the IPC. Individuals may complain by writing or by filling out our Access/Correction Complaint Form and sending it to the Registrar of the IPC at the address on the form.