Fees for Freedom of Information Requests

When you make an FOI request to the provincial government, you can only access records held by those public bodies (ministries or agencies).

There are no application fees or processing fees for personal FOI requests.

Application Fees:

A non-refundable application fee of $10 is required for all General FOI requests, for every public body included in the request. Indigenous Governing Entities (IGE) are not required to pay application fees. Indigenous Governing Entity “means an Indigenous entity that exercises governmental functions, and includes but is not limited to an Indigenous governing body as defined in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.”

Your request will not be processed until payment is received. Fee payments are accepted 8:30am to 4:30pm PST Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays, by phone at 250-387-1321 option 2. If calling from outside of Victoria, please call toll free at 833-283-8200 option 2. All major credit cards are accepted.

To pay a fee by cheque, please send a cheque or money order made payable to the Minister of Finance, quote your file number and mail it to:

Information Access Operations

PO Box 9569
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9K1

If you would like to access records from another public body outside of government, you will have to submit a request directly to those public bodies. (e.g. Crown Corporations, school districts, health authorities, RCMP)

Processing fees may be charged for:

Please note that additional processing fees may apply to General FOI requests, depending on the size and complexity of the request description. Section 75 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act outlines the processing fees that can be charged for non-personal FOI requests for the following tasks or services:

  • locating, retrieving and producing the record;
  • preparing the record for disclosure;
  • shipping and handling the record;
  • providing a copy of the record.

There are no processing fees charged for:

  • the first three hours spent locating and retrieving a record; or
  • time spent severing (removing) information from a record.

How to Minimize Processing Fees for FOI Requests

Depending on the size and complexity of a General FOI request, processing fees may be charged for services provided. One way to eliminate or minimize the processing fees incurred is to be as specific as possible when making the initial request. Broad requests for ‘any and all information’ about a topic will require substantial time and effort to process, often going far beyond the initial three hours.

Before making a formal FOI request, be sure to Search Open Information Resources to determine if the request has been made by someone else, or if the information has been proactively shared.

Processing Fee Waiver

You may apply to have the processing fees waived if you cannot afford them or if there’s a valid reason to excuse payment, such as the information received deemed a matter of public interest. A simple statement to say you cannot afford the fee is not sufficient: you'll need to provide adequate proof to support your request to have the processing fee waived. Please note that the application fee, which applies to all General FOI requests, cannot be waived.

Applicant fees are non-refundable.

Section 75(5) provides additional information about waiving fees.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the Freedom of Information (FOI) process for B.C. government ministries or the Office of the Premier, contact Information Access Operations:

Information Access Operations

PO Box 9569
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9K1

Telephone: 250-387-1321
Toll Free: 833-283-8200

Fax: 250-387-9843
Email: FOI.Requests@gov.bc.ca