Lac Ste. Anne County came under the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act on October 1, 1995. The FOIP Act aims to strike a balance between the public's right to know and the individual's right to privacy with regard to records held by the municipality.
The FOIP Act is based on five fundamental principles:
- To allow a right of access to any person to the records in the custody or control of a public body, subject only to limited and specific exceptions;
- To control the manner in which a public body may collect personal information from individuals; to control the use that a public body may make of that information; and to control the disclosure by a public body of that information;
- To allow individuals a right of access to information about themselves which is held by a public body, subject only to limited and specific exceptions;
- To allow individuals the right to request corrections to information about themselves held by a public body; and
- To provide for independent review of decisions made by a public body under the legislation.
These principles are the building blocks of the Act, as well as a point of reference for the examination of other provisions. Information is often routinely made available through official publications and websites, or over the phone. Public bodies have policies allowing staff to provide certain categories of information on request, so you often do not need to use the process provided under the FOIP Act to obtain access to the vast majority of information held by public bodies in Alberta.
Before making a FOIP request, it may be helpful to contact the public body concerned for advice on the most appropriate method of obtaining access to the information you need. If other methods do not satisfy your needs, a formal request for access to information under the FOIP Act ("a FOIP request") may be the best way to proceed.
If you would like to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, complete the Request to Access to Information form and return it by mail or fax to the Lac Ste. Anne County FOIP Coordinator, Stacey Wagner.
If you are making a request for general information, the initial fee is $25. Additional fees may be charged for processing costs over $150. There is no fee for a request for personal information unless the cost of producing copies exceeds $10.
The FOIP Act requires public bodies to respond within 30 calendar days of receiving your request. The response will either provide the requested information or explain why the information is not being disclosed. In the case of a request for correction of personal information, the response will either state the correction has been made, or say the record has not been corrected but it has been annotated. The 30-day deadline may be extended if, for example, large volumes of records are involved or if third parties need to be consulted.
If you are not sure if your request falls under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, please do not hesitate to contact the FOIP Coordinator.
There are a number of records that can be released under certain circumstances. Examples include:
Building permit information and related documentation: The records requested would be reviewed to determine whether any of the exceptions to disclosure in the FOIP Act apply, and then all or part of the records would be released based on this review.
Drawings and plans: These documents can be viewed but are copyrighted and cannot be copied unless you have written permission from the company/person that created them. If the drawings are hand drawn and do not have a copyright, the document belongs to the person who created the drawings and their written permission is required. While the County can advise you of the name of the company you need to contact, it is the requestor’s responsibility to obtain the required permission.
Real Property Reports: Can a Real Property Report be released to a prospective purchaser of property, to a new owner, or to anyone else?
• The requested records would be reviewed to determine whether any of the exceptions to disclosure in the FOIP Act would apply and then all or part of the records would be released based upon the application of the Act.
• It is unlikely that the report on a residential property would contain personal information or commercial or technical information under section 16 of the Act.
Assessment Roll information: Assessment summaries for all properties are available on our website. An appointment can be made for inspection of the Assessment Roll at the County Office. Please note that it can be viewed only, and an appointment must be booked.
Tax and utility account information: Only registered owners are privy to their own information. If you are not the registered owner of the subject property, proper authorization is required from the registered landowner(s).
Contact information for landowners (i.e. for service of documents, collection of debt or other legal matters): Lac Ste. Anne County is only permitted to release information for the purpose for which it was collected (i.e. administering tax accounts). The information is not collected for the examples given and, therefore, the County is prohibited from in providing information to requestors by the Act. Under the Act, this information can only be disclosed if another piece of legislation provides for it (e.g. Maintenance Enforcement Act, Income Tax Act).
Release of cemetery records: Under the Act, disclosure of personal information is an unreasonable invasion of privacy if the individual has been deceased for less than 25 years. Although this can be considered on a case by case basis, the County’s practice is not to release personal information until the 25 year requirement is met.
Information regarding a complainant: The County’s practice is to not release the personal information of an individual who files a complaint against another individual unless this information is necessary to resolving the issue (e.g. required at trial). If the name of the complainant is to be released, the individual will be advised before having their name disclosed. Information regarding bylaw infractions: The County is unable to advise whether or not an individual or business has been issued a notice or offence ticket for violation of a bylaw. The County can only confirm that bylaws are enforced when individuals and businesses are found to be in non-compliance. Once a violation ticket or court appearance has been dealt with, interested parties should contact the appropriate courthouse with requests for information.
Contract information: Contract information can be released to the public but may be released in a severed form. Under the Act, information harmful to the business interests of a contractor and/or proprietary information must be protected.
Click on the link below to download a printable PDF version of the request form:
Personal information is managed and protected according to the FOIP Act, and we will retain your information only as long as is required for those original purposes. The length of time we retain information varies depending on the product or service and the nature of the information. This period may extend beyond the end of your relationship with us but only for so long as is legally necessary for us to have sufficient information to respond to any issue that may arise later. When your information is no longer needed for the purposes explained to you, we have procedures to destroy, delete, erase or convert it to an anonymous form.
When you send us an email or ask us to respond to you by email, we learn your exact email address and any information you have included in the email. We use your email address to acknowledge your comments or reply to your questions, and we will store your message and our reply in case we correspond further. We may also use your email address to send you information about other services of Lac Ste. Anne County that we believe may be of interest to you. If you don't want us to contact you with other service information by email, you may tell us so at any time. Remember, email over the Internet is generally unencrypted. As part of an application, Lac Ste. Anne County may request that you transmit confidential information to us over the internet. In these cases we will ensure the transmissions are encrypted. We recommend you use caution when forwarding freeformat email messages to us and that you do not include confidential information (for example, an account number) on those unencrypted messages.
Letters from residents normally include personal information like name, address, phone numbers, and possibly opinions and other personal information. In deciding whether to disclose the personal information of individuals at public council or committee meetings, municipalities need to balance the dual objectives of open government and protection of privacy. Under Section 197 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) , meetings of a Council or a Council Committee must be conducted in public, except where there is authority to hold the meetings in the absence of the public. Under Section 198 of the MGA, the public has a right to be present at Council and Committee meetings conducted in public. Given the public nature of Council and Committee meetings, an individual writing to a Councillor or to the Administration of a Municipality may have a reasonable expectation that their correspondence, including their personal information, could be disclosed at a public Council or Committee meeting.