Accessing Information

Your right to access government-held information forms an important part of a democracy and reflects a more open and transparent government.

Under our access and privacy laws, you can request access to your own personal information or general information held by provincial and municipal government institutions.


WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION CAN I REQUEST?

You have the right to request access to government-held information, which may be in paper or electronic format and may include items such as photographs, videos and maps.


HOW DO I MAKE A REQUEST?

You should first contact the appropriate government institution directly to see if you can get the information informally. However, you may have to make a formal freedom of information request in writing.

 

WHO DOES ONTARIO ACCESS AND PRIVACY LEGISLATION APPLY TO?

The legislation applies to provincial and municipal government institutions.
At the provincial level, this includes:

  • all provincial ministries,
  • most provincial agencies, boards and commissions,
  • colleges of applied arts and technology,
  • universities, and
  • hospitals.

(Please see the full directory of provincial institutions).

At the municipal level, this includes:

  • municipalities,
  • police services boards,
  • public library boards,
  • school boards,
  • conservation authorities,
  • boards of health,
  • transit commissions,
  • certain municipal electricity corporations, and
  • certain local housing corporations.

Municipal government institutions also have their own directories, which you should find at offices such as city halls, police departments and boards of education.

 

MAY I REQUEST INFORMATION FROM NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS?

No, not through our office. Except for the full health sector, Ontario’s legislation applies only to provincial and local government institutions. It does not apply to private companies, banks, credit bureaus or federal government institutions.

Please contact the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada for information held by the federal government or the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for information held by private sector companies.

 

WHAT DOES THE IPC DO?

Our office ensures that provincial and municipal government institutions and health information custodians abide by Ontario’s three access and privacy laws:

 

 

Requesting General Information
Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) give you the right to request access to government-held information, including information about you. You can request access to general information held by provincial and municipal government institutions by making a freedom of information request.   HOW DO I MAKE A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST? There are three easy steps: Find the instit...
Requesting Personal Information
Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) give you the right to request access to, and correction of, your own personal information held by public institutions. WHAT IS PERSONAL INFORMATION? Under FIPPA and MFIPPA, “personal information” means recorded information about an identifiable individual. This may include the individual’s name, address, sex, age, education, medical or...