Freedom of Information Requests
Bowen Island Municipality is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act), as are all local Governments. The Act ensures that public bodies are accountable and open to the public. This is accomplished through a balance of the public's right to "Freedom of Information" and "Protection of Privacy".
- Freedom of Information: to make public bodies more open and accountable by providing the public with a legislated right of access to Government records.
- Protection of Privacy: to protect your right to privacy by prohibiting the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of your personal information by public bodies.
- Is applicable to all records in the custody of the local government, subject to exceptions provided for in the Act.
- Does not replace other procedures for access to information, or limit in any way access to information that is not personal and is available to the public.
- Allows the public to request copies of government records and receive them in a timely manner.
- Please read the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for more information.
Most information is routinely available without a formal request. We encourage you to contact the appropriate departments directly in order to ascertain if the information you seek is readily available.
Some records and information cannot be disclosed
The Act includes several specific exemptions to disclosure, which means that, by law, certain types of records and information are to be protected and not made available to the public. Some exemptions are mandatory while others are exercised at the discretion of the FOI Coordinator based on the relevant circumstances surrounding the request.
For example, reasons for refusing access to information are generally related to the protection of:
- personal privacy;
- business trade secrets or unit pricing;
- solicitor-client privilege;
- deliberations of Council and Committees that are authorized to be held in the absence of the public (i.e. Closed meetings);
- policy advice, staff recommendations or draft regulations not yet made public;
- information that may harm a law enforcement matter (this includes bylaw enforcement matters);
- information that may harm the financial interests of BIM or other public body.
The Act requires us to withhold information if release would be an invasion of privacy or cause harm by one of the means listed in the Act, such as harming a law enforcement investigation or threatening anyone’s health or safety. If we withhold any information, we will tell you which section or sections of the Act were used in making this decision.
If you do not get access to all information you requested, you will be advised of the reasons for the refusal and the provision(s) of the Act on which the refusal is based. If you are not satisfied with our response to your FOI request, you have the right to ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia to review our decision.
How to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request
A written request for access to records is necessary if the information you seek is not routinely or readily available to the public.
1. Complete the Request for Access to Records form
- keep your request simple and specific to reduce processing time
- make sure to sign your form
- return your form to the Corporate Officer by e-mail, mail, fax or in person
Please note: if you are requesting access to another person’s personal information without their advanced consent, Bowen Island Municipality is required to give notice to that person if records are to be disclosed.
Bowen Island Municipality may charge fees to process your FOI request.
There is no charge for access to your own personal information or for the first three hours spent locating and retrieving records.
If it will take longer than three hours to retrieve the records you requested and prepare them, we will prepare and send you an estimate invoice before we continue with your request. You may choose to revise your request to reduce the time it will take to complete it. The full fee must be paid before the records are provided to you.
The most common fees are:
|Locate, retrieve, produce and prepare records||
After the first three hours:
|Photocopy or print copies (in black and white)||$0.25/page|
For a full list of fees, please see Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw No. 482, 2019.
2. We acknowledge and review your request
- we will acknowledge your request within two business days
- we will review your request, making sure that your request is for information that is in the custody of Bowen Island Municipality, and not some other public body
- we may contact you to clarify your request
- we will let you know when you can expect to have your request fulfilled. The Act requires us to provide a response within 30 business days of receiving it. If your request is complex, we may extend this time up to an additional 30 business days.
- we will give you an estimate of any fees you will need to pay, if applicable.
3. We gather the information
- department staff assigned to your request search for and gather all the records related to your request, and send them to the FOI coordinator
4. We review the information
- we review the records and redact or refuse access to any information where disclosure would be an invasion of privacy or cause harm by one of the means listed in the Act (see examples above).
5. We send you the information
- we prepare our final response package with your requested information. If all applicable fees have been paid, we will send the response package to you by the means you requested
Questions? Please contact:
Bowen Island Municipality
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is responsible for monitoring how the Act is administered by public bodies. The Commissioner's office has the power to investigate , mediate and resolve appeals concerning access to information disputes.
Last Updated on 2022-04-12 at 2:45 PM