Statement from BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner on freedom of information during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted individuals, families and communities across British Columbia. It has also significantly interfered with the operations of our governments and businesses. I recognized the adjustments public bodies were having to make when I decided on March 18, 2020 to allow an additional 30 days to process freedom of information requests. The decision covered requests made between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. Read more.
The District of Saanich is committed to:
- Making it easy to access information and records online, directly through contact with departments, or formally under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
- Providing information in Saanich’s Data Catalogue
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is provincial legislation which balances an individual’s right to information and privacy in two ways:
- Freedom of Information - To make public bodies more open and accountable by providing the public with a legislated right of access to government records.
- Protection of Privacy - To prevent the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of personal information by public bodies.
Access to District of Saanich Records
Routinely Available Records
Most of the information sought by the public is available and provided routinely. Information may be available online or by contacting the appropriate Saanich department. A written request is not required. Routinely available records include: Council agendas and minutes, policy and procedures manuals, guidelines, annual reports, and bylaws.
Formal Requests for Records
If the information you are seeking is not routinely available, you can submit a formal request for access under the Act. Written requests can be submitted to Legislative Services by email, fax, regular mail, or hand delivered. You may also submit a Request for Access to Records form [PDF - 106 KB]. Email requests may be sent to email@example.com.
Please make your request clear, specific, and concise to reduce processing times and possible fees. Indicate in your request the date range for the records you are seeking and whether you would like to receive the records by email, regular mail, or pick- up.
The Act provides under Section 75 that the District may charge fees for the costs of providing applicants with records. Commercial applicants must pay the actual cost of providing the service. The charge for non-commercial applicants is $7.50 per quarter hour after the first three hours for locating, retrieving and preparing records for disclosure. Additional fees such as photocopying and shipping also apply.
If there are costs involved in processing a formal request, we will send you a fee estimate before processing your application. Applicants are encouraged to maintain open communication with the Information and Privacy Advisor in order to understand the application of the fee schedule.
For a list of fees and charges please refer to Schedule 1 of the Act.
Saanich Police Department Information Requests
The Saanich Police Department is a separate local public body. To request police records, you must contact them directly. For more information, please see Saanich Police Department’s FOI Page.
Protection of Privacy – Privacy Management Program
The District of Saanich respects an individual’s right to have certain personal information protected. The District protects the personal information it collects, accesses, uses, and stores from individuals including employees, citizens, service providers, and others, in accordance with FIPPA by:
- Ensuring compliance with the Districts’ Records Classification and Retention Schedule (RCRS)
- Collecting the minimum amount of personal information as required for business purposes
- Obtaining consent from individuals in a prescribed way (for example in writing) when collecting their personal information for a prescribed purpose
- Describing the purposes for which personal information is used in ‘statements of notification’ on all District forms and collection sites
- Ensuring personal information collected is accurate
- Providing an individual access to their information and the means to correct their personal information
- Responsible use of information and information technology, including administrative physical and technological security controls and appropriate access controls
- Developing and continually revising privacy management policies
Please refer to the Privacy Management Framework for more information on protecting personal information.
How to correct your personal information or what to do if you have a concern regarding privacy protection:
Contact the program area at 250-475-1775 and discuss with Saanich staff the personal information you would like corrected or submit your request in writing to the Information and Privacy Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.