Requesting personal information

Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and Part X of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) give you the right to request access to, and correction of, your own personal information held by public institutions and service providers.

What is personal information?

Under FIPPA, MFIPPA and Part X of the CYFSA, “personal information" means recorded information about an identifiable individual. This may include the individual’s name, address, sex, age, education, medical or employment history and any other information about the individual.

Government institutions, children's aid societies and other child and family service providers collect personal information as part of their role in providing services to the public. For example, you give personal information to a government institution when you fill out an application for programs or services, such as a driver's license or building permit.

How can I find out what records provincial and local government institutions have?

The Directory of Records for provincial government institutions describes the kinds of personal information kept by each provincial government institution. Municipal institutions have their own directories, which should be available at offices such as city halls, police departments and boards of education.

You can request access to your own personal 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 institution most likely to have the information you are looking for
  • Complete a request form or write a letter requesting the information
  • Forward your request to the Freedom of Information Coordinator, along with the $5.00 application fee

You should receive a response within 30 days.

How do I get access to my personal information from a child and family services provider?

Under Part X of the CYFSA, all you need to do is ask a children's aid society or other child and family service provider to see and get a copy of your personal information in your file. People of any age can ask to see the personal information in their file and it is free. In most cases, service providers must get back to you in 30 days.

Are there any fees in addition to the request fee?

Yes. Although no fees are charged for the time required to manually search records of personal information, or to prepare such records for disclosure, you may be charged certain other fees, including photocopying fees under FIPPA or MFIPPA.

Under Part X of the CYFSA, it is free to ask for a copy or corrections to your information.

Will I receive everything I ask for?

Not necessarily. While these laws provide a general right of access to information, certain exemptions may apply.

What if access is denied?

What if access is denied?

If a public institution denies you access to information that you requested under FIPPA or MFIPPA it must give you written notice of its decision and inform you of your right to file an appeal with our office.

If a children's aid society or other child or family service provider denies you access to your personal information in your file under Part X of the CYFSA, they must give you written notice of their decision and let you know about your right to file a complaint with our office.

If you have more questions, please contact us.

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