FOI - Frequently Asked Questions

What information can I request?

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) applies to all records (i.e. all recorded information) that are under the custody or control of a public body.

It is important to note that the Act covers access to records, and the information contained therein.  It is NOT the intention of the Act, that District staff compiles and summarizes research in order to answer specific questions.  Applicants are expected to conduct their own research from any records received from the District of Coldstream.

How do I make a Request?

There are two ways to request information from the District of Coldstream:

  1. Informal Request via Routine Channels
    Since almost all of the District’s information is available through routine channels, you should always start by making an informal request. To do this, contact the department that you think might have the information you are looking for.  If the information you are seeking is not available through routine channels, then you may make a Formal FOI Request for records containing the information.
     
  2. Formal FOI Request
    Your Formal FOI request must be made in writing and provide sufficient detail (see note below) to assist staff in locating and retrieving the records. You should also indicate whether you want to receive copies of the records, or if you want to view the records in person.

    To help reduce fees and to minimize taxpayer expense please narrow the scope of your request as much as possible. Also, you should try to specify a date range as our records date back more than a century.

Is there a fee to process my request?

Fees are charged in accordance with the Schedule of Maximum Fees as established by British Columbia Regulation 323/93 and the District of Coldstream's Miscellaneous Fees and Charges Bylaw No. 1541.

Informal Requests:

When you make an informal request for information, we may charge you a fee to cover costs in processing your request.

Formal FOI Requests:

The District of Coldstream does not charge fees for access to your own personal information, or for the first three hours spent searching for and retrieving the records.

Fees may be charged to cover other charges relating to the cost of processing your FOI request (map copies, for example).

If we are going to charge you any fees, we will send you a fee estimate before processing your request.  We may also require you to provide us with a deposit.

The following fees apply for non-commercial applicants (i.e. private individuals):

  • $7.50 per 1/4 hour ($30/hour) after the first 3 hours spent locating, retrieving and producing the requested records;
  • $7.50 per 1/4 hour ($30/hour) to prepare records for disclosure (includes the time spent photocopying and reassembling files)
  • $0.25 per page of regular photocopies provided; and
  • Shipping and handling charges (method chosen by applicant)

Commercial applicants are charged the actual cost of providing the services listed in section 7 of Regulation 155/2012, subject to the restriction set out in section 75(2) of the Act.

How will the District of Coldstream respond to my request?

Informal Requests:

When you make an informal request, we will respond to you as quickly as possible.  Depending on the kind of information you are requesting, you may be able to get an answer over the phone.

Formal FOI Requests:

The Act includes several specific exemptions to disclosure, which means that, by law, certain types of records and information are to be protected and not made available to the public.  Some exemptions are mandatory while others are exercised at the discretion of the FOIPP Head based on the relevant circumstances surrounding the request.

For example, reasons for refusing access to information held by the District of Coldstream are generally related to the protection of:

  • personal privacy;
  • business trade secrets or unit pricing;
  • solicitor-client privilege;
  • deliberations of the Council and Council Committees that are authorized to be held in the absence of the public (i.e. closed or “In Camera” meetings);
  • policy advice, staff recommendations or draft regulations not yet made public;
  • information that may harm a law enforcement matter (this includes bylaw enforcement matters);
  • information that may harm the financial interests of the District of Coldstream or other public body.
  • The Act requires us to withhold information if release would be an invasion of privacy or cause harm by one of the means listed in the Act, such as harming a law enforcement investigation or threatening anyone’s health or safety.

If you do not get access to all information you requested, you will be advised of the reasons for the refusal and the provision(s) of the Act on which the refusal is based.  If you are not satisfied with how the District of Coldstream responds to your FOI request, you have the right to ask for a review by the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner, an Officer of the legislature who is independent of the government. A decision of the Commissioner is final, subject to certain limited judicial reviews.

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner

How long does the request process take?

The Act requires that we respond to your request within 30 business days of our receipt of your request.  We will make every effort to make the records available to you sooner, if possible.

If your request is broad in scope, or if a large volume of records respond to your request, we may extend the time limit for responding under Section 10 of the Act for an additional 30 business days. For particularly large and difficult requests, we may apply to the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner for an additional time extension.

How is my personal information protected?

The Act protects personal privacy by restricting the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.  Please note that personal privacy rights extend only to private individuals, not businesses, societies, corporations, etc.

When an individual makes an FOI request to the District of Coldstream, their personal information is protected and is not made public.

Collection:

We only collect personal information when we have the clear authority to do so, or when the collection is related directly to and necessary for an operating program.  When we are collecting personal information, we must do so directly from you, unless we have legal authority to collect the information from another source.  These rules apply even if the personal information is held by another government body.

Use and Disclosure:

Personal information must only be used for the purpose it was collected or for a use consistent with the reason it was collected.  We may also use or disclose personal information in other ways, but only if we have legal authority to do so. 

Address

The District of Coldstream
9901 Kalamalka Road
Coldstream, BC V1B 1L6
Tel: (250) 545-5304
Fax: (250) 545-4733
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Closed on Statutory Holidays
 
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