Resources for FOI professionals in Ontario

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Below are some resources and reference materials that FOI professionals working at Ontario’s provincial and municipal institutions should find helpful.

Online Resources

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

https://www.ipc.on.ca/

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO) provides oversight of Ontario’s access and privacy laws.  The IPCO website publishes hundreds of guidance documents intended to promote compliance with the laws that IPCO oversees.  The website is also used to publish IPCO’s access and privacy decisionsprivacy investigation reports and the IPCO Annual Report.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Manual

https://www.ontario.ca/document/freedom-information-and-protection-privacy-manual 

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Manual is a general guide to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and to the administration of those Acts.  It is published by the Information, Privacy and Archives Division of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS).  This manual includes a number of helpful sample forms and letters.

Directory of Institutions

https://www.ontario.ca/page/directory-institutions

The Directory of Institutions lists and provides contact information of FOI Coordinators for Ontario government ministries, agencies, community colleges and universities covered by FIPPA as well as municipalities and other local public sector organizations such as school boards, library boards and police services covered by MFIPPA.

Directory of Records

https://www.ontario.ca/document/directory-records

The Directory of Records lists and describes the institutions covered by FIPPA and the types of records maintained by these institutions.  Its publication is mandated by FIPPA.

Books and Printed Materials

David Goodis, The 2018-2019 Annotated Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Acts (Toronto: Carswell, 2018)

The Annotated Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Acts provides commentary, related provisions, and summaries of relevant judicial and IPCO decisions organized around the various sections of FIPPA.  References are also included to the equivalent sections of MFIPPA with notes on any differences.  An updated version of the text is published annually.

Michel W. Drapeau, Marc-Aurèle Racicot and Ashlee Barber, Fundamentals of Privacy and Freedom of Information in Canada, 2nd Edition (Toronto: Carswell, 2017)

Fundamentals of Privacy and Freedom of Information in Canada outlines the purposes behind access and privacy rights, key definitions in the statutes and an overview of the federal and provincial administrative regimes.

Kris Klein and Denis Kratchanov, Government Information: The Right to Information and the Protection of Privacy in Canada, Second Edition (Toronto: Carswell, 2009+)

Government Information: The Right to Information and the Protection of Privacy in Canada describes itself as “the only publication of its kind dealing exclusively with access to information and privacy of personal information in the public sector in Canada.”  Dealing with access to information laws across Canada, this loose-leaf text goes beyond providing annotated versions of legislation by also providing both an overview and history of the right to government information as well as describing how requests for information are processed and how the resulting decisions can be appealed.

Legislation

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) applies to Ontario’s provincial ministries and most provincial agencies, boards and commissions, as well as community colleges, universities, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and hospitals.  FIPPA both imposes an obligation on such organizations to protect individuals’ rights to privacy, and also creates a right of access whereby such organizations must comply with requests to disclose records in their custody or control.

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) applies to local government institutions in Ontario, including municipalities, police services boards, school boards, conservation authorities, boards of health and transit commissions.  Similar to FIPPA, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) imposes an obligation on such organizations to protect individuals’ rights to privacy, and also creates a right of access whereby such organizations must comply with requests to disclose records in their custody or control.

The Personal Health Information Protection Act

The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) applies to health information custodians such as health care practitioners, group health care practices, service providers under the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994, hospitals, psychiatric facilities and independent health facilities.

The purposes of PHIPA are to protect the confidentiality of personal health information in the custody or control of such organizations and to provide individuals with a right of access to their own personal health information as well as the right to seek correction of such information.

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