Request records from government

Last updated on June 2, 2023

Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), the public can access and review B.C. government records. You can ask for records that contain:

  • Information about government activities or programs
  • Personal information from government records about yourself or on behalf of someone else

Last updated: May 19, 2023

Ask questions or get general information about government: Get help with government services.

Before you request records

1. Check if the records you're looking for have already been released

2. Find out which organization has the records you want

You can request records that are held by a provincial government ministry or agency.

If you want to request records from other public organizations outside of the provincial government, you need to contact them directly. For example, Crown Corporations, school districts, health authorities or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) all process their own requests for records.

3. Understand that some information cannot be released

Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), a public body may choose to withhold or be required to withhold sensitive information. Find a full list of what's exempt from freedom of information requests in Part 2 of the Act.

Fees for requested records

There are 2 types of fees that may apply to general information requests: Application fees and processing fees.

There are no fees for personal information requests.

Application fees:

Processing fees: There may also be processing fees for large or complex requests. You'll be notified if processing fees are required.

Pay online

  • Pay online when you submit your request
  • Have your credit card, Debit Mastercard, or Visa Debit card ready

Pay by phone

  • Phone: 1-833-283-8200 (toll free). Select option 2
  • Have your credit card ready

Pay by cheque, cash or money order

  • Make your cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance
  • Quote your file number 
  • Mail your cheque or money order to: Information Access Operations, PO Box 9569, Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9K1

After you request records

Requests can take up to 30 business days. The time to respond may be extended if:

  • A large volume of records is requested
  • Consultation with other organizations is needed
  • More details are needed to identify records

Check the status of a request

The process for requests

A file is created: Your request is received, assigned a file number and assigned to a team at Information Access Operations for processing. If payment was not made, you will receive a payment reminder.

Records are gathered: If your request generates a processing fee, you will receive a letter with information about your options for what happens next. Once all clarification and/or fees have been resolved, the ministry or agency that holds the records will continue to process your request.

A legislative review is conducted: The team reviews the records for your request to make sure you get everything you requested and that information that must be withheld is severed. A stamp corresponding to specific relevant sections of the FOIPPA legislation is added to the record to indicate the reason why the information is being withheld. If needed, the team consults with other ministries or organizations. 

The release of records is approved.

A response package is sent: Most records are shared electronically.For personal information requests, you will need to show identification or verify your identity before you can receive the records.

If you have a complaint

Contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) within 30 business days of receiving a response to your request.