Government of B.C.

Before you start

Five things to know before you submit an FOI request:

1 – Contact the ministry

It’s often faster and easier to contact the ministry you believe holds the record(s) you’re looking for.

2 – Check published FOI requests

The Open Information Catalogue, found on the Search Open Information Resources page, may already have the information you’re looking for.

3 – Know the exemptions to FOIPPA

FOIPPA deems some topics as excluded from FOI requests, such as*:

  • Court records, including the records of judges, masters, justices of the peace, judicial administration records or records relating to support services provided to judges;
  • a personal note, communication or draft decision of a person acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity; 
  • a record created by or in the custody or control of an officer of the Legislature, related to the exercise of that officer’s function under an Act; and 
  • a record of a question to be used on an examination or test.

*Information retrieved from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia

4 – FOI requests outside of public body records

FOI is not a process to request answers to questions or information that is not contained in public body records. Those questions should be submitted directly to the applicable public bodies, outside of the FOI process.

5 – FOI requests for Crown Corporations & Agencies

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for records from a Crown corporation or Crown agency must be submitted directly to the organization. Most organizations have their own website with information about how to submit an FOI request.

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information

Overview

A General FOI request is intended to provide access to general records, which could be briefing notes, contracts, or records about a specific activity of a non-personal nature. A General FOI is intended to provide access to government records rather than answers to specific questions or general information.

There are many avenues to try before submitting a General FOI request. In many cases, the records you are looking for may already be publicly available. Search Open Information Resources to discover previously released data and records. 

To request and obtain copies of records of a non-personal nature, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) dictates what can, and cannot, be released.

As defined in Part 2, Division 2 of FOIPPA, each section listed below has its own tests to determine if information should be excepted from disclosure through FOI. Refer to those sections to determine the appropriate tests.

Section 12: Cabinet confidences
Section 13: Advice or recommendations
Section 14: Legal advice
Section 15: Harm to law enforcement
Section 16: Harm to intergovernmental relations or negotiations
Section 17: Harm to financial or economic interests of a public body
Section 18: Harm to conservation of heritage sites
Section 19: Harm to individual or public safety
Section 20: Information to be published or released within 60 days
Section 21: Harm to business interests of a third party
Section 22: Harm to personal privacy
Section 22.1: Information relating to abortion services

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information

Submit a Request

Submit a General FOI Request

Request access to General information held by the B.C. government.

Please Note:

Fees

Section 75 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) outlines the 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 fees charged for:

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

Timeline for General Freedom of Information Requests

A General FOI request may take 30 business days, or more if the request is granted an extension due to a large volume of records, additional time is required to consult with public bodies or third parties, or when further communication is required to clarify your request.

Contact

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:

Office:

Fax:

1 250 387-9843

Address:

PO Box 9569
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9K1