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Freedom of Information and Privacy Office

  • Issued: November 2011
  • Content last reviewed: November 2011

The Freedom of Information and Privacy Office (FOI office) administers the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) for the Ministry of Labour. The Act provides the public with a right to access records and personal information in the custody and control on the Ontario government ministries and agencies. The Ministry of Labour’s FOI office has a coordinating and decision making role with respect to access requests made to the Ministry of Labour. In addition, the FOI office is responsible for coordinating and assisting with privacy matters relating to the collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal of personal information held by the Ministry of Labour.

How to Make a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request

Requests under the Act must be made in writing. When requesting information, please provide specific details about the records you wish to access. The FOI office can assist you in formulating your request and you are welcomed to contact the office directly to discuss your requirements.

If you are requesting access to personal information records on behalf of a client or another person, written authorization from the individual in question should be completed and included with your written access request.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act requires that a $5 application fee must accompany all freedom of information requests. This mandatory fee cannot be waived, and must be paid by cheque or money order made out to the Minister of Finance at the time the request is made. Please do not send cash through the mail. Your written request and fee should be sent to the following address:

Ministry of Labour
Freedom of Information and Privacy Office
400 University Avenue, 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1T7

Telephone Inquiries: (416) 326-7786

The FOI Process

Under the legislation, the Ministry is required to respond to an FOI request within 30 calendar days. You will be contacted by the FOI Office if the ministry requires clarification as to what is being requested. Once a request is clarified, it is considered fully received.

In some cases, records may contain information that will be withheld in accordance with the legislation, such as personal information about other individuals, confidential business information, advice to government, information that is subject to solicitor client-privilege.

The 30-day response period may be extended if the release of records involves personal or confidential information where notification to the affected party is needed, the request involves a large number of records, or if consultation outside the ministry is required. The FOI Office will contact you if your request needs to be extended.

Fees

The ministry may charge a processing fee for costs such as photocopying, severing, and search time. You will be advised of any fee or fee estimate that applies to your request. A deposit of 50% is required for amounts over $100.

It should be noted that requests will be placed on hold until the ministry receives the deposit. In addition, records will only be released once full payment is made.

Appeals

Any decision made by the Ministry of Labour with respect to an access request can be appealed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. An appeal must be filed with the Commissioner’s office within thirty days of notice of the Ministry’s decision. The Commissioner’s office is located at 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto Ontario, M4W 1A8. There is an appeal fee and any questions about the appeal fee should be directed to the IPC. The phone number for the Commissioner’s office is (416) 326-3333.

A link to the IPC’s appeal process is attached:

http://www.ipc.on.ca/English/Resources/Educational-Material/Educational-Material-Summary/?id=279

Handling of Personal Information

As the Internet is not a secure communications vehicle, we would ask that you refrain from relaying any comments or concerns about the handling of your personal information by e-mail. We encourage questions, concerns, or complaints relating to the collection, use, disclosure, disposal, or destruction of personal information in the custody and control of the Ministry of Labour be directed by telephone or in writing to:

Ministry of Labour
Freedom of Information and Privacy Office
400 University Avenue, 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1T7

Telephone Inquiries: (416) 326-7786

Privacy Complaint Process

The FOI office is committed to providing excellent customer service to the public while at the same time ensuring timeliness, fairness, flexibility and client responsiveness.

When contacting the Ministry’s FOI office, you will be asked to provide details of your privacy concerns. At that time, you will be informed of the most appropriate course of action.

In some cases, it may be necessary to refer your concerns to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. A link to the IPC’s privacy complaint process is attached.

http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Resources/IPC-Corporate/IPC-Corporate-Summary/?id=668