Access to Information
How to Request Access to University Records Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Step 1: Identify the records and contact the department that holds them
Contact the University department or office that has the records to which you seek access. Discuss your request with a staff member to determine if records exist that respond to your request and if those records can be disclosed to you directly by the department. Records that contain confidential or third party personal information are subject to exceptions to your right of access under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) and are not disclosed directly by departments. Those records are sent by the department to the Archives and Records Management Department for a formal review pursuant to "Division 2 - Exceptions" of the Act.
Step 2: Submit a formal Access to Information request
If the department refuses to disclose records to you because they contain confidential or third party personal information or for any other reason, submit your request in writing to the department if you have not already done so. Include a street mailing address, phone number and email address on your request. Requests for general information may be made by email, however, requests for access to one's own personal information must be made by a signed letter. If you wish, you may copy your request to the University's Information and Privacy Officer, Archives and Records Management Department.
Step 3: Be specific about the records you are requesting
When making a request, be clear and identify the specific records and subject matter to which you seek access. Also, specify dates or a time period for the records you request. Pursuant to section 5(1)(a) of the Act you must provide sufficient detail in your request to enable an experienced University employee, with a reasonable effort, to identify the records sought. Keep the scope of your request narrow and specific. A clearly defined request with a narrow scope will greatly assist the University in searching for records and responding to your request quickly.
Step 4: Records review procedure
If all or part of your request is reviewed by the Archives and Records Management Department you will receive an Acknowledgement Letter that may also notify you of any time extensions or fees that apply.
Once the Archives and Records Management Department has completed its formal review of the records an Access Review Recommendation is submitted for approval to the appropriate decision-making authority in accordance with University Policy I10.02 - Head of the Institution and Delegation of Authority.
Step 5: Outcome of your request
Records to which exceptions apply may be withheld entirely or be "severed" (i.e. portions blacked-out). A Decision Letter will explain in detail the exceptions applied and give reasons. If you request access to records containing personal information about yourself the University may ask you to present yourself in person to the appropriate department with one piece of picture ID before the records are disclosed to you.
Step 7: Complaint process
If you are not satisfied with a department's disclosure of records or the University's formal access decision, you have thirty (30) business days from the date of a disclosure or formal Decision Letter to complain in writing to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner
PO Box 9038, Stn Prov Govt