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City Government

Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy

City Archives

Everyone has the right to request access to City records. Access to records is governed by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which applies to local government organizations including municipalities, police services boards, school boards, conservation authorities, boards of health, and transit commissions.

This page contains information about:

The Municipal freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The Act gives individuals the right to request access to any municipal government information: information should be provided unless it falls under a specific exemption. The Act also requires that the City protects the privacy of individuals by governing how personal information is collected, stored in municipal records, and used, and allowing individuals to request a correction of any personal information they believe to be incorrect. Under the Act, the head of the Corporation is responsible for access decisions. For the City of Thunder Bay, City Council has designated the City Clerk as the head, and the City Archives is responsible for daily administration.

For detailed information about exemptions and procedures relating to the Act or its regulations, visit the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, or view the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in full online.

Routine Disclosure

In many cases, information is available without a formal request needed. For example:

Your first step should be to contact the department that is responsible for the records. Most of the time, staff will be able to answer your question directly, and will inform you if you need to file a formal Freedom of Information Access request.

(If you aren't sure which department(s) is responsible for the records you are requesting, contact the City Archives for assistance or consult the directory of city records. A copy of this directory can also be consulted at City Hall, at the Lakehead University Library, and at all branches of the Thunder Bay Public Library.)

For guides to information that is held by the City Archives or by other organizations, you can visit our research guides page.

Access Procedures for Building Plans

Building plans can now be accessed directly from the Building Division. Access and/or copies of building plans will be provided to property owners, contractors working for the property owner, or individuals who have a letter authorizing access from the property owner. Contact the Building Division directly for more information.

If you are not the property owner and are unable to obtain the property owner’s permission for access to building plans, you can still make a formal request under the Act.

Any requests for plans, inspection reports, or permits for City-owned properties will require a formal request under the Act.

For more details please view this document: Building Records Access Guide, Adobe PDF, 1 page, 64 KB

Making a Request

A request for access to information may be made by completing an Access/Correction Request Form. This form is not mandatory: a written request in any format that refers to the Act will also be also accepted. A $5.00 application fee must accompany each request.   


 Access/Correction Request Form
    

 
Adobe PDF, 1 page, 144 KB  

When you file a formal request for access, the City is required by law to respond within 30 days. A response will either provide you with the requested records, or explain why they cannot be released. (Any decision not to release records can be appealed to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.)

Any requests related to Police records should be directed to Thunder Bay Police Service.

Most municipal records will be released upon request, unless there are particular reasons to restrict them. A list of all exemptions can be found in the Act online, or can be obtained by contacting the City Archives. Fees may also be required before records are released.

Forward completed forms, along with a cheque for the $5 application fee payable to the "City of Thunder Bay", to:

City of Thunder Bay
Information/Privacy 
 

Address:

500 Donald Street East
Thunder Bay ON P7E 5V3

Tel:

(807) 625-2270

Email:

archives@thunderbay.ca

Coordinator:

Matt Szybalski, Corporate Records Manager and City Archivist

Forms and application fees can also be dropped off in person at the City Archives, 235 Vickers Street North, or at City Hall, 500 Donald Street East. 

Requests will be responded to within 30 calendar days. The response will either provide access to the requested record, or notify you that the information cannot be released under specific provisions of the Act. If the City requires a time extension to prepare the response, you will be notified of this within 30 calendar days of making your request.

FEES RELATED TO ALL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS

A fee estimate will be provided for any requests where fees are over $25. The requestor may be given a fee estimate before the request is completed, and in some cases a deposit of 50% of the estimated fee may be required to continue with the request. Records will not be released until the fee is paid or waived. All of the fees listed here are standard and are required under the Act.  

Fee 

Explanation 

Rate 

Application Fee 

Must accompany your request. The fee is mandatory and cannot be waived.  

$5 

Search Time

Required to search and retrieve information  

$7.50 / 15 minutes/person 

Computer Programming

If needed to develop a program to retrieve information.

$15 / 15 minutes   

Photocopying and Computer Printouts

$.20 / page 

Computer Disks

 

$10 / disk 

Shipping Costs

 

As required 

Appeal Fee - General Records

Payable to the Information and Privacy Commissioner 

$25 

Fees are only waived in exceptional circumstances. Information about fee waivers will be provided along with the fee estimate.  

Protection of Privacy

The Act sets out rules regarding the collection, retention, use, disclosure, and disposal of personal information in the government’s custody or control.

The City of Thunder Bay takes the privacy of its citizens and employees very seriously. Personal information is collected and used only for specific purposes which are identified at the time of collection, and it will not be disclosed except in rare circumstances when required by law.

Personal information is defined as: recorded information about an identifiable individual, including,

(a) information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual,

(b) information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved,

(c) any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,

(d) the address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,

(e) the personal opinions or views of the individual except if they relate to another individual,

(f) correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence,

(g) the views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and

(h) the individual’s name if it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual;

Please contact the City Archives if you have any questions or concerns about access to municipal records and the protection of your privacy.  

Personal Health Information

The collection, use, and disclosure of personal health information is covered by the Personal Health Information Protection Act. This Act applies to any Health Information Custodian, a person or institution who has custody of personal health information. The City acts as a Health Information Custodian in the cases of the Homes for the Aged and Superior North Emergency Medical Services.

Personal Health Information is defined as: identifying information about an individual in oral or recorded form, if the information,

(a) relates to the physical or mental health of the individual, including information that consists of the health history of the individual’s family,

(b) relates to the providing of health care to the individual, including the identification of a person as a provider of health care to the individual,

(c) is a plan of service within the meaning of the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994 for the individual,

(d) relates to payments or eligibility for health care, or eligibility for coverage for health care, in respect of the individual,

(e) relates to the donation by the individual of any body part or bodily substance of the individual or is derived from the testing or examination of any such body part or bodily substance,

(f) is the individual’s health number, or

(g) identifies an individual’s substitute decision-maker.

You have a right to request access to your own personal health information. In most cases, you can access this information by contacting the Home, or EMS, directly. If you need to make a formal request, you can use the same Access/Correction form and procedure as for a request under MFIPPA. Again, the City will be required to respond within 30 days, and some fees may apply.  

correcting Personal information

Individuals who are given access to their personal information and/or personal health information have the right to request correction of that information where they believe there is an error or omission.

A request for correction may be made by completing an Access/Correction Request Form. Written requests that refer to the Act are also accepted. There is a $5 application fee for each request.


 Access/Correction Request Form
    

 
Adobe PDF, 1 page, 144 KB  

Forward completed forms, along with a cheque for the $5 application fee payable to the "City of Thunder Bay", to:

City of Thunder Bay
Information/Privacy

Address:

500 Donald Street E
Thunder Bay ON P7E 5V3

Tel:

(807) 625-2270

Email:

archives@thunderbay.ca

Coordinator:

Matt Szybalski, Corporate Records Manager and City Archivist

Forms and application fees can also be dropped off in person at the City Archives, 235 Vickers Street North, or at City Hall, 500 Donald Street East. 

When the City decides whether or not the correction will be made, the City Archives will notify you. Decisions may be appealed to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

APPEALING A DECISION

You may appeal any decision made by the City. Appeals should be directed to:

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

Address:

Suite 1400
2 Bloor Street E
Toronto ON M4W 1A8

Tel:

1-800-387-0073 (Toll Free)

Resources

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario provides access to the full text of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as well as related regulations and decisions. The Information Privacy Commissioner of Ontario is also responsible for appeals, investigation of privacy complaints, and educating the public about these Acts. A glossary is available to assist with terms.