Government of B.C.

Before you start

Making an informal request to the appropriate ministry that you believe holds the record(s) you’re looking for is often a faster and easier way to get the information you need.

To submit a personal Freedom of Information for someone else, including a child, you must have proof of your authority to act on their behalf or their signed consent for disclosure to you.

Know which records are excluded from FOIPPA

Adhering to the guidelines outlined by FOIPPA, there are some topics that are 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 who is acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity;
  • A record created by or in the custody or control of an officer of the Legislature that is related to the exercise of that officer’s function under an Act; and
  • A record of a question that is to be used on an examination or test.

Understand the limitation of FOI requests

FOI is not a process to request or obtain 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.

Submit your request to the correct public body

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

Overview

Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), you have the right to request access to your personal information held by B.C. government ministries or their service providers, free of charge.

A Personal Freedom of Information request can be made for yourself, or for a person that you’re responsible for.

What is “Personal Information”?

Personal information is recorded information about an identifiable individual. Some types of personal information include, but not limited to, a person’s home address and telephone number, marital or family status, health care information, or employment history. Business contact information is not considered Personal information.

Types of personal information commonly requested under FOIPPA

These are some examples of the types of records you may need from their respective ministries:

Ministry of Children and Family Development:

  • Child in Care records
  • Child Protection records
  • Adoption records
  • Foster Parent records
  • Daycare Subsidy records

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General:

  • BC Corrections Branch records
  • RoadSafetyBC records (e.g. Driver Fitness file)
  • Crime Victim Assistance Program records

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction:

  • Income Assistance records
  • Disability Assistance records
  • Health Assistance Branch records

Community Living BC:

  • Eligibility records
  • Assessment records
  • Planning records
  • Service Provider (Agency) Records

BC Public Service Agency:

  • B.C. government staff employment records
  • B.C. government employee payroll records
  • B.C. government employee occupational health records

Learn more about some of the common types of personal records requested under FOIPPA.

Locate some of the Frequently used forms for Freedom of Information requests. 

Request your own recorded personal information

Follow these steps to complete and submit the Request for Access to Personal Information form:

  1. Select the ministry you believe holds the records you want (for example, which ministry’s program or service were you using when the records were created?).
  2. Provide the following information:
    • full legal name and any other names you currently or previously used;
    • complete mailing address where correspondence may be sent;
    • daytime telephone number(s) so that you may be contacted about your request;
    • date of birth and any identifying number that relates to the records, such as your employee number or case file number.
  3. Describe the personal records you require, clearly and concisely. Identify the program or service to which the records apply (if applicable).
  4. Describe the date range for the records you require. For example, if you need only records for the period of January 1, 2016 to October 31, 2018, or January 1, 2018 to present, enter those dates. (Dates help to locate records.)
  5. Email, fax or mail your completed Request for Access to Personal Information form to the address provided on the form.

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information

Submit a Request

Submit a Personal FOI Request

Request access to your personal information held by the B.C. government.

Please note:

Fees and Timelines

How much does it cost?

There is no charge for an FOI request for information about your personal information, but there may be a fee for other types of records. We anticipate that a freedom of information request will take a minimum of three hours to find and retrieve the records you have requested, but longer and more extensive searches may result in a fee, as determined by the public body facilitating your request. Some of the fees involved may include:

  • Costs for locating, retrieving and producing the records beyond the initial three hours
  • Preparing the records for release (but not for reviewing and/or severing the records)
  • Creating a copy of the records
  • Shipping and handling to you

How long will it take?

Our goal is to complete your FOI request within 30 business days, but there are factors that may delay the process, such as:

  • Incomplete or insufficient details to identify a requested record
  • A request for a large volume of records
  • Consultation with a third-party or another public body

These factors may result in a request for a 30-business-day extension for 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