- Records Management
- About FIPPA
- Privacy Management Program
- Access to Information (FOI)
- Breaches & Complaints
- Changes & Corrections
- Information Disclosure
- Privacy Impact Assessments
- Links and Resources
- Digital preservation
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- Mission, vision and values
- Contact us
- Feedback and comments
- Our blog
- Archival Film Flashes Back to 70s Student Life
- Manuscript Traces SFU's Architectural History
- Early University News Publications Now Digitally Available
- Digitized Programs Commemorate SFU’s Opening & Installation Ceremonies
- Archives Celebrates Fall Convocation with Release of Digitized Programs
- Films Capture Visual History and Sentiment of Time Gone By
- Lost and Found: Simon Fraser Letters
- Oral History Provides Glimpse into Mind of SFU’s First Chancellor Gordon Shrum
- Early SFU Photos Tell a Story That Frames Our World
- Aerial Photos Capture Campus Landscape & Photographer’s Legacy
- You have what...?!! and other interesting things you didn't know about the SFU Archives
- Charting the course of history: documenting SFU's early days from the student perspective (Part 1)
- Charting the course of history: documenting SFU's early days from the student perspective (Part 2)
- Helping others find their history in the future: Preserving the records of the Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry at SFU
- Preserving the sparks of global revolution in the Adbusters Media Foundation fonds
- Reflections of a co-op student
- Debunking popular myths and conspiracies with the Barry Beyerstein fonds
- In "The Beginning...": First student film returns to SFU
- "Got any pictures of Terry Fox?"
- My summer in the archives: a co-op placement retrospective
- Seeing the world through Arthur Erickson's eyes
- Beer (records) in the Archives!
- Quartet in the Quadrangle: PSQ Records Come to SFU
- Navigating silences and filling gaps: finding Black stories in the Archives
- Boxes, boxes, and more boxes: my summer co-op at SFU Archives
How to make a Freedom of Information request
How to request access to university records
1. Identify the records you want to access and contact the department that holds them
Start by contacting the university department or office that has the records you want to access. Discuss your request with a staff member to determine 1) if records exist that respond to your request, and 2) if those records can be disclosed to you directly by the department.
Records that contain confidential or third party personal information (for example, personal information about other people) are subject to exceptions to your right of access under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which means they can’t be disclosed directly by departments. Those records are sent by the department to the Archives and Records Management Department for a formal review in accordance with "Division 2 - Exceptions" of FIPPA.
2. Submit a formal Access to Information request
If the department you contact is unable or unwilling to disclose records to you for any reason, submit your request in writing to the Archives and Records Management Department.
3. Be specific about the records you’re requesting
Be as clear as possible when identifying which specific records you’re requesting, and for what time period. According to section 5(1)(a) of FIPPA, you need to provide sufficient detail in your request to enable an experienced University employee, with a reasonable effort, to identify the records you’ve asked for.
In short, keep the scope of your request narrow and specific. A clearly defined request with a narrow scope will assist the university in searching for records and responding to your request quickly.
4. Application fees
A non-refundable application fee of $10 is required for all general FOI requests submitted to Simon Fraser University (there are no fees for making an FOI request for your own personal information). Your request will not be processed until payment is received. To pay a fee by cheque or money order, please make the cheque or money order payable to Simon Fraser University and mail it to:
Archives and Records Management Department
Maggie Benston Centre, Room 0400
8888 University Dr.
Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6
To make an electronic payment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to proceed.
Please note that additional processing fees may apply to General FOI requests, depending on the size and complexity of the request description. Section 75 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act outlines the processing fees that can be charged for non-personal FOI requests for the following tasks or services:
- locating, retrieving and producing the record;
- preparing the record for disclosure;
- shipping and handling the record;
- providing a copy of the record.
There are no processing fees charged for:
- the first three hours spent locating and retrieving a record; or
- time spent severing (removing) information from a record.
5. 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.
6. Outcome of your request
If any of the records to which you’ve requested access are subject to exceptions under FIPPA (i.e., you don’t have a right to access them, in part or in full), they may be withheld or you may receive them with portions of the document blacked out (or ‘severed’). An accompanying Decision Letter will explain in detail any exceptions applied and give reasons for them.
If you request access to records containing personal information about yourself, the university may ask you to provide sufficient evidence of your identity.
7. Complaint process
If you aren’t satisfied with a department's disclosure of records or the University's formal access decision, you have 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
Processing information access requests
If you are contacted by an external agent such as a lawyer, ICBC employee, or insurance adjuster, who is requesting you provide personal information about another individual, please see the information at this page: Information Disclosure
The Personal Information Directory (PID) contains descriptions of the Personal Information Banks (PIBs) created and maintained by SFU.
A PIB is a collection of personal information that’s organized and capable of being retrieved by using an individual's name or some other personal identifier. Each time a new PIB is created by a department or program collecting personal information, it's added to the Directory.
In accordance with FIPPA, SFU is required to make available to the public a listing of the PIBs it creates and maintains. The PID is our way of making that listing accessible online.
A PIB entry in the Directory includes the following information:
- Title: Gives the name of the records series constituting the PIB.
- Location: Identifies the SFU department with primary responsibility for maintaining the records.
- Types of personal information: Lists the main categories of personal information found in the records.
- Purpose for which personal information obtained / compiled and used / disclosed: States the rationale for the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information in the records.
- Individuals using personal information or to whom it is disclosed: Identifies the types of individuals who use or have access to the personal information in the records; individuals are described in terms of job titles (e.g., "patrol supervisors" or "payroll clerks").
- Individuals included in the PIB: Indicates the types of individuals who are the subjects of the record, described in general terms (e.g., "students" or "employees").
- Legal authorities for the collection of personal information: Enumerates the federal or provincial statutes and SFU policies that regulate the activities generating the records and govern the collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposition of the personal information contained in the PIB.
- RRSDA number: Specifies the SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA) governing the length of time records in the PIB are retained and their final disposition at the end of this period (destruction or transfer to Archives for permanent retention). A link to the full text of the relevant RRSDA is given in each PIB entry.