Section 71 - Records Available Without Request

Overview

This section requires the head of a public body to establish categories of records appropriate for routine release to the public.

Section Reference

Section 71 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

  1. The head of a public body must establish categories of records that are in the custody or under the control of the public body and are available to the public, on demand, without a request for access under this Act. These must not contain personal information, unless that information is permitted to be disclosed under sections 33.1 or 33.2, or the disclosure of the information would not constitute an unreasonable invasion of the personal privacy of the person the information is about.
  2. The head of a public body may require a person who asks for a copy of an available record to pay a fee to the public body.
  3. Subsection (1) does not limit the discretion of the government of British Columbia or a public body to release records that do not contain personal information.

Summary

These requirements do not replace existing procedures for access to information, either through a formal request under the Act or through other channels. Sections 2, 3 and 71 of the Act recognize and preserve access rights that exist outside the scope of the Act.

Public bodies must establish records that are available without a formal request under the Act. This does not limit the discretion of the government of British Columbia or of the head of a public body to release or withhold general (non-personal) information. The head of a public body may charge a fee for providing copies of records that are routinely releasable.

Policy

  1. Public bodies, including ministries, shall promote the routine release of information, where release is authorized by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  2. Public bodies, including ministries, shall establish records that are available without a formal request, in accordance with the privacy and access provisions of the Act, other relevant legislation, and operational requirements.
  3. Public bodies, including ministries, may charge fees for information made available routinely.
  4. Where a routine release is reactive (in response to a specific question or informal request), public bodies shall establish a reasonable period of time within which the records must be produced to a person who has asked for a copy of the records. This period will normally be within two or three days, not including mailing and delivery time. Most records established as routinely releasable should be available "on demand" unless they are not located in the office where the request is made.
  5. When providing copies of records under this section, public bodies shall inform the person that if they are not satisfied with their response, they may make a formal request for the records.

Procedure

  1. Provincial government ministries will identify categories of records which can be routinely released without the necessity of a formal request under the Act.

Interpretation

Does not limit the discretion

A public body may release or withhold any record, not formally requested under the Act, that does not contain personal information whether or not it has been established as routinely releasable.

Sectional Index of Commissioner's Orders

For orders organized by the Act's section numbers, Click here.

For a summary of Commissioner's orders and policy interpretation of key points, Click here.

Last updated: March 2016