Section 9 - How access will be given

Overview

Section 9 states how access will be given once the public body has decided that the applicant has a right of access to the record.

Section Reference

Section 9 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

9 (1) If an applicant is told under section 8 (1) that access will be given, the head of the public body concerned must comply with subsection (2) or (3) of this section.

(2) If the applicant has asked for a copy under section 5 (2) and the record can reasonably be reproduced,

(a) a copy of the record or part of the record must be provided with the response, or

(b) the applicant must be given reasons for the delay in providing the record.

(3) If the applicant has asked to examine the record under section 5(2) or if the record cannot reasonably be reproduced, the applicant must

(a) be permitted to examine the record or part of the record, or

(b) be given access in accordance with the regulations.

Summary

Section 9 governs how access will be given to the applicant once the public body has determined that access is permitted.

Under subsection 9(2), the applicant either receives a copy of the record with the response or an explanation about any delay in providing the copy.

Under subsection 9(3), if the record cannot reasonably be reproduced, the head permits the applicant to examine the record, subject to any regulations governing access.

Policy

  1. The head of a public body shall assume that the applicant asked for a copy of the record if the applicant does not specify a preferred method of access.

  2. When a public body withholds a record as “out-of-scope" of the Act under section 3, the head of the public body must inform the applicant the reasons why the record was removed.

  3. Public bodies will provide access to a requested record or part of the record, subject to the mandatory or discretionary exceptions of the Act and providing that the information is within the scope of the Act.

  4. Where the applicant has requested a copy of the record and it can reasonably be reproduced, a copy of the record must be included in the response package.  If this is not possible, the applicant must be given reasons for the delay in providing the record.

  5. Where the applicant has asked to examine an original record, the public body may provide the applicant with an opportunity to do so, provided that this does not interfere unreasonably with the operations of the public body. The applicant is entitled to examine only those parts of the record that would otherwise be released.

  6. If providing access to examine the original record may harm the record or interfere unreasonably with the operations of the public body, the public body may provide the applicant with an opportunity to examine a copy of the record.

  7. An applicant may ask a public body to certify that the copy is a true copy of the original.

Procedure

  1. If the applicant is allowed access to a record, the public body’s response letter must include a copy of the record, or provide details regarding how access will be given.

Interpretation

Interpretation Note 1 (Section 9(2)(a)):

A copy of the record or part of the record

When an applicant makes a request for records which contain information that is not in the scope of the request, the non-responsive information may be withheld. This is supported by Order 29-1994.

Examples:

  • An applicant requests access to all records pertaining to the Neighbourhood Public House liquor licence files for 8194937 BC Limited from June 1, 1965 to December 31, 1992.  Upon review of the records, it is determined that records pertaining to another Neighbourhood Public House application are on file.  The public body may choose to withhold the information pertaining to the other public house application as “out-of-scope" of the request as this information is irrelevant to the specific request.

  • An applicant requests a report that lists all government contracts pertaining to a specific law firm.  Upon reviewing the list received from Finance and Administration it is determined that more than one law firm is on the report.  The public body may choose to withhold the information pertaining to the other law firm and only supply the information specifically requested.

Interpretation Note 2 (Section 9(3)):

Where the record cannot reasonably be reproduced, the public body must provide the applicant with an opportunity to examine that part of the record that would be available under the Act. The response must, therefore, include the time and place at which the applicant may examine the record. See section 8 (Responding to Access Requests).

If providing access to examine the original record may harm the record or interfere unreasonably with the operations of the public body, the public body may provide the applicant with an opportunity to examine a copy of the record.  In some cases the applicant may ask that the public body certify that the copy is a true copy of the original.

Examples:

  • An applicant requests an opportunity to examine a record that is 100 years old.  The public body has reason to believe that handling the record may damage it. The public body may, therefore, certify a copy of the record to be a true copy and provide the applicant with the opportunity to view the certified copy.

  • An applicant requests an opportunity to examine a record that is located in another city.  The office that has custody of the original record uses the record regularly and believes that it would unreasonably interfere with the public body’s operations to ship the original to the applicant’s location.  The public body may make a copy of the record and provide the applicant with the opportunity to view the copy.

Sectional Index of Commissioner's Orders

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Last updated: July 12, 2007