Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP)


Last updated: Feb. 04, 2016 at 4:08 PM

The City of Spruce Grove came under the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act on October 1, 1995. The FOIP Act  aims to strike a balance between the public's right to know and the individual's right to privacy with regard to records held by the City.

Summary of FOIP Act

  • You have the right to request access to records held by the City of Spruce Grove, subject to limited and specific exceptions.
  • You have the right to access information that the City has about you.
  • You have the right to request the City to correct personal information it has about you.
  • The Act controls the way in which the City may collect personal information from you, controls the use that the City may make of your personal information and controls how the City 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.

Information is often made routinely available through official publications and websites, or over the phone.  Public bodies have policies that allow staff to provide certain categories of information on request so you often do not need to use the process provided under the FOIP Act to obtain access to the vast majority of information held by public bodies in Alberta.

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.

Accessing information under the FOIP Act

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 PDF and return it by mail or fax to the address below.  If you are making a request for general information, there is an initial fee of $25. Additional fees may be charged for processing costs in excess of $150. There is no fee for a request for personal information unless the cost of producing copies exceeds $10.

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 City 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 City 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?

  • The records requested would be reviewed to determine whether any of the exceptions to disclosure in the FOIP Act would apply and then all or part of the records would be released based upon the application of the Act.
  • It is unlikely that the report on a residential property would contain personal information or commercial or technical information under section 16 of the Act.
Assessment roll information The assessment roll is made available for inspection at City Hall.  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.

* The City of Spruce Grove 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 City 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 City’s practice is not to release personal information until the 25 year requirement is met.
Information regarding a complainant The City’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 City 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 City 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.

Contact information

FOIP Coordinator

City of Spruce Grove

315 Jespersen Avenue

Spruce Grove, Alberta

T7X 3E8

Phone: 780-962-2611

Fax: 780-948-0343

E-mail FOIP Coordinator Email

Office hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed noon to 1 p.m.