The following is a guide for faculty and staff, in regard to the release of information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
The FIPPA Act
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) provides the public the right of access to records in the custody or under the control of UFV. Additionally, through limited exceptions to the Act, FIPPA safeguards against invasion of personal privacy and prevents unfair advantages in commercial transactions.
The Act's five key principles are:
- Provides the public a right of access to records
- Gives individuals a right of access to, and a right to request corrections of, personal information about themselves
- Specifies limited exceptions to the rights of access
- Prevents the unauthorized collection, use, or disclosure of personal information
- Provides for an independent review of decisions made under the Act
Types of information requests
Some types of information (or records) can be routinely disclosed to the public while other types may have exceptions, and require a formal process:
Many requests are for records containing information to which exceptions do not apply. Individual departments may respond to these types of requests by following their own departmental procedures for the release of information.
Types of records that may be released through routine channels include:
- A record that was received from or previously sent to the applicant.
- A record that does not contain personal information about a third party and will only be released to the individual to whom the information relates.
- Personal information may also be released to a third party with a signed consent form from the individual to whom the information relates. If in doubt, contact the FIPPA Officer.
A typical example of a request for personal information is a student asking for a copy of his or her transcript.
Some requests are governed by exceptions to the Act, as they involve records that are not routinely available. This includes requests that seek access to UFV information, such as information (including the identity) of a third party, or a record that contains information a department believes is confidential. These requests require formal proceedings to ensure the protection of personal privacy and the prevention of unfair advantages in commercial transactions.
Formal FIPPA request process
Below is a description of the request process for employees and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (AIPP) office.
UFV employees should assist requesters with formal FIPPA requests, but not make decisions about providing the information being sought. The requester must complete a formal request form or submit a signed letter outlining the information desired.
Requesters need to be encouraged to be specific about the information requested and include contact information such as their name, address and telephone number. Unsigned communications, such as e-mail messages, verbal requests, and telephone messages, are unacceptable and, if received, should be forwarded to the AIPP office.
FIPPA requests must be date stamped and forwarded to the AIPP office on the day they are received.
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (AIPP) office
The AIPP office establishes a request file and determines the due date for delivery of the information. All records that are to be released to the requester are due within 30 days of the receipt of the request. The AIPP office works with the departments concerned to identify and obtain copies of the records.