The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act introduced by the government of Canada serves as a boon to its citizens by endowing on them the right to information. FOIP coordinates with the government and local bodies to protect and promote both privacy rights and freedom of information in Canada.
Every human has the right to access information of what is happening around them. Also, all humans have the fundamental right to privacy. FOIP in coordination with different authorities grants the citizens the right to protect their personal information and also gain general information.
Through FOIP requests, citizens can file complaints and convey their concerns to the government. The government agencies too can keep the public updated on law violations and local crimes. FOIP covers different institutions such as government authorities and organisations, health authorities, school boards, educational institutions and local bodies such as municipalities.
FOIP requests are classified into two categories: general information and personal information. The public bodies are required to keep general information and records and provide the same on request of the citizens. The government agencies are also responsible for safeguarding the personal information of the citizens and protecting their privacy.
The FOIP Act provides citizens with a number of rights. These rights are as follows:
- Right to obtain general information
- Right to protect personal information
- Right to obtain personal information
- Either an e-mail,
- Or fax,
- It can also be submitted personally at the FOIP office.
The individuals have the right to get information about any person which is held by a public body. Although there is a limit to which the public bodies can disclose information.
There are also measures which restrict the public bodies from disclosing information of individuals and also controlling the use and the collection of the same information. The citizens also have the advantage of protecting their personal information recorded by the public bodies.
Through an FOIP request individuals can even gain their own information and can request for correction of personal information which is held by public bodies.
HOW TO OBTAIN INFORMATION
Any individual who wishes to gain information about something or someone has the freedom to do so. To obtain the record, a process has to be followed.
- The first and foremost step is to recognize the agency or department that is most likely to have the record of the information the applicant is seeking.
- The individual then has to apply for the record by either submitting a written letter or filling in the Request to Access Information form.
The information can be obtained online and offline. For instance, if you are in the City of Vancouver then you can fill in the online form and request access to information. However, if you are a resident of the City of Calgary you need to visit the FOIP office personally and submit the request in writing.
The individual should clearly and in detail mention the nature of the information he/she desires to obtain. They should also, for their convenience, be accurate in describing the records. The applicants have the choice of either going through the record and examining it at the time of receipt or they can request a copy of the file.
The FOIP request should be sent to the concerned authority through:
Along with the application form the applicants are required to submit an initial fee. For the requests of general information, an initial fee of $25.00 is charged in both the City of Calgary and Alberta. In Alberta, no fee is charged for access to personal information until the expenditure exceeds $10.
Since the process of accessing information is very challenging and complex, the FOIP Software helps the government agencies and other authorities to deal with information in a transparent manner. The FOIP Software provides a platform to the state and local bodies to stay connected with the citizens and keep them updated on the local crimes and violation of laws.
The FOIP Software has a number of other features. Some of these features are:
- It allows citizens to find new information and also view previous requests
- It keeps the citizens updated on various announcements
- It allows citizens to report non-emergency crime issues
- It allows automated license tracking
- It helps manage citizens’ interaction with the government agencies
The FOIP Software connects the government agencies and the public, thus making the process of collecting and giving information easy and transparent.