Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
What is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act?
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, proclaimed October 1, 1995, has the dual function of ensuring the public has the right to access information held by governing and public bodies of Alberta, while also protecting an individual's privacy. This law affects most provincial government departments, agencies, boards and commissions.
Records of local public bodies (also referred to as MUSH sector records, which include records from municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals) are also subject to the act. MUSH records include:
- School Boards and charter schools since September 1, 1998
- Health care bodies since October 1, 1999
- Post-secondary educational institutions since October 1, 1999
- Public libraries and local government bodies since October 1, 1999
What records at the Provincial Archives of Alberta are subject to the FOIP Act?
All government records received by the Provincial Archives of Alberta after October 1, 1995 are automatically subject to the 'act'.
Government records received prior to 1995 that had access conditions placed on them and were not routinely available as of October 1, 1995 are also subject to the 'act'.
All records from the MUSH sector are subject to the FOIP Act. As with government records, any MUSH sector records received prior to either 1998 or 1999 that had access restrictions placed on them will be subject to the 'act'.
What records at the Provincial Archives of Alberta are NOT subject to the FOIP Act?
All records donated to the Provincial Archives by private individuals or non-government and non-MUSH organizations are not subject to the 'act'. However, there may be access conditions placed on some of these records at the donor's request.
Any government records received prior to 1995 and MUSH sector records prior to 1998 or 1999 that did not have access conditions placed on them are routinely available outside the FOIP process.
How does a member of the public access records subject to the FOIP Act?
If a member of the public wants to access records that are subject to FOIP, they must speak to the Access Archivist at the Provincial Archives of Alberta. With the Access Archivist's assistance, the applicant will fill out a formal Access to Information Request form. Once a formal request is made, the Provincial Archives has 30 calendar days to respond to it.
If the information being requested is the applicant's own personal information, there will be no fee. If the information requested concerns another person or is general information, a non-refundable $25.00 application fee will be charged. The payment may be made either by cash or cheque made payable to the Government of Alberta. Credit cards are not accepted.
How do government departments access records that they created that have been transferred to the Provincial Archives of Alberta and are subject to the FOIP Act?
If an employee of a government department wants access to their department's records held by the Provincial Archives and subject to FOIP, please contact a Government Records Archivist.
Directory of Personal Information Banks
Each Alberta government department is required to make available to the public a directory of personal information banks (PIBs) that lists the type of personal information held by a public body. A member of the general public can view a personal information bank to get information about: - The title or name of the information bank - The location of the information bank - What kind of personal information is contained in the information bank - What categories of individuals the information pertains to - Why the information was collected and how it is used and/or disclosed - The legal authority for the collection of the information.
A personal information bank does not provide direct access to an individual's records; rather, it provides information about the kind of content the records contain and the reason it was collected. - Download: Directory of Personal Information Banks for the Provincial Archives of Alberta