Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy
The Administration Department is responsible for administering BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The Act provides the public a right of access to all records (i.e. all recorded information) that are under the custody and control of the Town, with limited exceptions. The Act also protects your right to personal privacy by regulating how the Town collects, uses and discloses a wide range of personal information. The Act, however, is not intended that staff undertake compiled and summarized research in order to answer specific questions.
Information NOT Requiring a Formal Request
Under the Act, and the Community Charter, public bodies must make available to the public, without a request for access, specific types of records including: Council agendas and minutes from open meetings; bylaws; policies and procedures; budgets; annual reports; etc.
There are records that are routinely requested by the public, such as information related to building permits, property taxes, utilities, business licenses, etc. and can be released, except if the information contains personal information of another individual or third party. There may be fees associated with providing these documents and some of these are available from the Town's website.
If the records you are seeking is not routinely available, you can submit a request for access in writing. The request should provide sufficient detail (simple, clear and focused) to reduce processing time and possible service fees. Your request should be sent to the following:
Town of Sidney
2440 Sidney Avenue
Sidney, BC V8L 1Y7
Depending on what you ask for, you may not get access to all information contained within the records. The Act includes specific exemptions to disclosure and therefore certain types of records are to be protected and not made available to the public. For example, records containing the following information would be withheld from disclosure: personal privacy; business trade secrets or unit pricing; solicitor-client privilege; information that may harm a law enforcement matter (e.g. bylaw enforcement matters), deliberations of Council that are authorized to be held in "closed" or "in-camera" meetings, etc.
The Act requires the Town to respond to your request within 30 days of receiving it. We will make every effort to make the records available to you sooner, if possible. If your request is complex, we may extend this time within what the Act allows. Sometimes our duty to protect someone's privacy or prevent harm means you may not receive all information you requested, and if so you will be advised of the reasons for refusal. If you are not satisfied with the Town's response to your request, you have the right to request the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review the matter.
The Act also provides for a municipality to charge a fee for certain costs of providing applicants with records. As per the Town’s Bylaw, fees may be charged and a 50% deposit required before a request is processed. For more information on this matter, please contact the Administration Department.