Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP)
Lethbridge County operates under the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act. The purpose of the FOIP Act is to balance the public's right to know and the individual's right to privacy with regard to records held by the County.
Effective August 15, 2020: MODIFICATIONS TO FOIP ACT TIMELINES END
On June 15, 2020, the State of Public Health Emergency in Alberta ended and as a result, the timelines in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP Act) will return to normal on August 15, 2020. This means that the modified timelines in the FOIP Act that were established by Ministerial Order No. SA 009/2020 will remain in place from June 15, 2020 until August 14, 2020.
In summary, this means that:
- FOIP response due dates and extensions taken before August 15, 2020 according to the modified timelines will continue to be in effect after August 15 (i.e. there would be no reverting to shorter timelines on current FOIP access requests in process).
- FOIP requests received and processed during the 60-day period from June 15 to August 14, 2020, will continue to be subject to the modified timelines established by the Ministerial Order.
- All new requests received on August 15 and onward, will be subject to the timelines in the FOIP Act that existed before the Ministerial Order.
- Beginning August 15, there will no longer be an ability to take an extension on any FOIP access request for COVID-19 reasons; the only extensions available will be those that existed before the Ministerial Order, and are for permitted reasons outlined in Section 14 of the FOIP Act.
- Public bodies should continue to communicate with applicants and third parties, as required, about any changes to due dates associated with new or current access requests that are underway.
It is the policy of Lethbridge County to charge fees for access to information under the FOIP Act. Please select the below link to view the FOIP Fees:
The vast majority of information held by public bodies in Alberta allows staff to provide certain categories of information on request so you often do not need to use the process provided under the FOIP Act. The public routinely has access through proactive disclosure to such documents as Council minutes, packages, bylaws, policies, organizational reviews and other items posted throughout the website. If you are looking for documents such as these, (including older records) that may fall under proactive disclosure, you can contact Lethbridge County Administration and make a routine request for that information to be placed on the website or provided in another form. If your request is more in-depth or is otherwise not appropriate for the website for any reason (i.e. is protected by FOIP or contains protected information) you may be asked to make a FOIP Request.
Summary of a FOIP Act
- You have the right to request access to records held by Lethbridge County, subject to limited and specific exceptions
- You have the right to access information that the County has about you
- You have the right to request the County to correct personal information it has about you
- The Act controls the way in which the County may collect personal information from you, controls the use that the County may make of your personal information and controls how the County can disclose information about you
- You have the right to request independent review of any issue related to FOIP by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
Before making a FOIP request, it may be helpful to contact the public body concerned for advice on the most appropriate method of obtaining access to the information you need. If other methods do not satisfy your needs, a formal request for access to information under the FOIP Act ("a FOIP request") may be the best way to proceed.
Making a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Request
If you would like to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, you may complete the Access to Information Form and return it by mail or fax to the address below. We do not accept verbal requests. If you are making a request for general information, there is an initial fee of $25. Please note: if your request is large or time consuming other fees may apply. You can request a quote from the FOIP Coordinator prior to submitting your form. For more information or assistance filling out your form please contact the FOIP Coordinator. If you are not sure if your request falls under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, please do not hesitate to contact the FOIP Coordinator.
Accessing information Outside of the FOIP Act
There are a number of records that can be released under certain circumstances. Examples include:
|Document Type||Release Requirements|
|Building permit information and related documentation||The records requested would be reviewed to determine whether any of the exceptions to disclosure in the FOIP Act apply and then all or part of the records would be released on the basis of this review.|
|Drawings and plans|
These documents can be viewed but are copyrighted and cannot be copied unless you have written permission from the company/person that created them. If the drawings are hand drawn and do not have a copyright, the document belongs to the person who created the drawings and their written permission is required. While the County can advise you of the name of the company you need to contact, it is the requestor’s responsibility to obtain the required permission.
Note: The County is unable to copy oversized drawings. These will be sent for commercial reproduction at the expense of the requestor or you may contact the creator of the drawings/plans directly.
|Real Property Reports|
Can a Real Property Report be released to a prospective purchaser of property, to a new owner, or to anyone else?
|Assessment Roll Information||The assessment roll is made available for inspection at the Lethbridge County administration office. Please note that it can be viewed only.|
|Tax and Utility Account Information||If you are not the registered owner of the subject property, or named on the account, written permission is required from the registered owner or the individual named on the account.|
|Contact information for residents (ie. for service of documents, collection of debt or other legal matters)|
Under the Act, this information can only be disclosed if another piece of legislation provides for it. Lethbridge County is only permitted to release information for the purpose for which it was collected (ie. purposes of administering utility accounts or licensing program). The information is not collected for the examples given and, therefore, the County is prohibited by the Act in providing information to requestors.
Under certain circumstances, address information may be obtained through the Land Titles Office.
*Examples of legislation include Maintenance Enforcement Act, Income Tax Act.
|Release of Cemetery Records||Under the Act, disclosure of personal information is an unreasonable invasion of privacy if the individual has been deceased for less than 25 years. Although this can be considered on a case by case basis, the County’s practice is not to release personal information until the 25 year requirement is met|
|Information Regarding a Complainant||The County’s practice is to not release the personal information of an individual who files a complaint against another individual unless this information is necessary to resolving the issue (eg. required at trial). If the name of the complainant is to be released, the individual will be advised prior to having their name disclosed.|
|Information Regarding Bylaw Infractions||The County is unable to advise whether or not an individual or business has been issued a notice or offence ticket regarding the violation of a bylaw. The County can only confirm that bylaws are enforced when individuals and businesses are found to be in non-compliance.|
|Contract information||Contract information can be released to the public but may be released in a severed form. Under the Act, information harmful to the business interests of a contractor and/or proprietary information must be protected.|
The FOIP Act requires public bodies to respond within 30 calendar days of receiving your request. The response will either provide the requested information or explain why the information is not being disclosed. In the case of a request for correction of personal information, the response will either state that the correction has been made or advise that the record has not been corrected but it has been annotated. The 30 day deadline may be extended if, for example, large volumes of records are involved or if third parties need to be consulted.
Service Alberta - Access to Records
Service Alberta has a new webpage called “Access to Records” that lets people know how to make a FOIP Request.
The “Access to Records” page (http://servicealberta.ca/foip/access-to-records.cfm) provides people with general instructions about how to access records from a public body, how to make a FOIP request for general information, how to make a request for personal information, and how to request a correction of personal information Cover Page.
#100, 905 - 4th Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4E4
Phone: (403) 328-5525
Fax: (403) 328-5602
Email: FOIP Coordinator
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.