1. What are the principles or intent of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)?

There are five basic principles of this legislation aimed to provide an individual with an appropriate balance between access to government information and protection of the individual’s personal information. These principles are:

  • You, the “public”, have a right of access to records held by the City
  • The City must protect your personal privacy and follow rules and guidelines in collecting, using and disclosing, to others, your personal information
  • It is your right to see your personal information held by the City about yourself
  • You have the right to request corrections to your personal information that is held by the City. However, opinion’s cannot be changed or removed
  • You have the right to an independent review of decisions made by the City. This independent review is conducted by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario’s office.

2. What is a Freedom of Information Request?

Requests for information held by the City of Markham are made to the Legislative Services Department which is responsible for managing compliance with MFIPPA. Decisions on access to information are subject to independent review by the Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario.

3. How to make a Freedom of Information Request?

You can make an online request, or complete an Freedom of Information (FOI) request form [PDF], and print it, and submit this with the required $5.00 request fee, payable to the City of Markham. It is important that requests be clear, specific and as detailed as possible. Send the form and fee to City of Markham, Legislative Services Department, 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham, Ontario L3R 9W3.

How to complete a MFIPPA request using the FOI request form provided by the City of Markham:

  1. Enter your name, address and phone number. If applicable enter company name, Fax and e-mail are optional;
  2. Indicate if you are requesting general or personal information. Enclose initial fee of $5.00, indicate if you would like to examine the records or receive a copy of the records;
  3. Give as much detail as possible, describe the records you would like to access, the business unit (department) of the City of Markham that you believe holds the records and include the time period for the records;
  4. Please sign, date and send your request to the Legislative Services Department with the required fee.

Online: To make an online request.

By mail: Legislative Services Department Attention: Manager, Access & Privacy 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3

In person: Legislative Services Department (main floor) Markham Civic Centre 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3

4. Fees

When submitting a request you must pay an initial application fee of $5.00. A request requiring this fee will not be processed until the fee is received. The fee may be received in the form of cash or cheque made out to the “City of Markham”. There are additional fees associated with FOI requests detailed below:

  • Fee for Request for General Information
    • Application fee: $5.00 – to be paid when you submit your request
    • Search Time: $7.50 – 1/4 hour required to search and retrieve request
    • Record Preparation: $7.50 – 1/4 hour required to prepare records and release
    • Photocopying: $0.20 – per page
    • Computer Programming: $15.00 – 1/4 hour if needed to develop program to retrieve information
    • Flashdrive: $10.00 – for each disk
  • Fee for Request for Personal Information
    • Application fee: $5.00 – to be paid when you submit your request
    • Photocopying: $0.20 – per page
    • Computer programming: $15.00 – 1/4 hour needed to develop a program to retrieve information
    • Flashdrive: $10.00 - for each disk

If the estimate of fees to be paid is $100.00 or more, you will be required to pay a 50% deposit. Please note that the fee charges are prescribed by Section 45 of the MFIPPA and section 6 of the Regulations and Guidelines for Municipalities and Local Boards. All monies are payable by cash, money order or certified cheque. If you are paying in person, INTERAC, VISA and Mastercard are also accepted.

Fee Charges for Filing an Appeal

If you wish to launch an appeal, a fee of $10.00 for personal information and $25.00 for all other appeals must be sent to the Commissioner’s office.

5. Timeline for Requests

MFIPPA allows for a 30 day period to complete a request. This timeframe is designed to allow the City ample time to search for records, review the records and complete any necessary redactions to the records prior to their release.

In certain circumstances MFIPPA allows for an extension of time to complete the request. This would occur in situations where there is a large number of records to collect and review. In these circumstances a letter will be sent to the requestor from the City outlining the reasons why the extension is required and providing a revised timeline for response.

6. Will I be granted access to everything I requested?

The Act contains limited and specific provisions which direct the City to withhold records containing certain types of information. If your request falls under one of these provisions it may be denied, or your copy of the record may contain severed portions.

A few examples of information that will not be released include:

  • Names and addresses of everyone who applied for a particular job vacancy;
  • Name of a complainant;
  • A legal opinion given by the City Solicitor to Council on a matter involving litigation.

7. Appeal Process

If you are unhappy with the City’s decision you have the right to appeal to the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Additional information on the appeal process is provided at the bottom of each decision letter issued by the City of Markham. An appeal must be made within 30 days of the government organization making its decision. To appeal, write a letter to the Registrar at the IPC, describing why you are not satisfied with the government organization's decision. Alternatively, you may wish to use the Appeal Form available from the Information and Privacy Commissioner. This form must be completed and mailed to the Registrar at the IPC at the address on the form. There is a $25 appeal fee when the information sought is general information. (The appeal fee is $10 when the information sought is personal information.) For more information on how to file an appeal, please refer to our brochure, The Appeal Process and Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner.

8. Role of the Information & Privacy Commission

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, who is appointed by the Provincial Legislature, oversees all aspects of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for all public bodies affected by the Act including the City of Markham. The Office of the Commissioner is the independent body that reviews the application of the legislation including:

  • Conducting reviews of decisions made by the City of Markham under MFIPPA, at the request of an applicant or affected third party;
  • Conducting investigations into complaints regarding privacy breaches, to ensure compliance with provisions of MFIPPA and compliance with rules relating to the destruction of records;
  • Making Orders as a result of investigations, reviews and inquiries; and
  • Informing the public about the Act.