Access to Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1)

Act current to 2016-06-06 and last amended on 2016-04-05. Previous Versions

Requests for Access

Marginal note:Request for access to record

 A request for access to a record under this Act shall be made in writing to the government institution that has control of the record and shall provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of the institution with a reasonable effort to identify the record.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “6”.
Marginal note:Notice where access requested

 Where access to a record is requested under this Act, the head of the government institution to which the request is made shall, subject to sections 8, 9 and 11, within thirty days after the request is received,

  • (a) give written notice to the person who made the request as to whether or not access to the record or a part thereof will be given; and

  • (b) if access is to be given, give the person who made the request access to the record or part thereof.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “7”.
Marginal note:Transfer of request
  •  (1) Where a government institution receives a request for access to a record under this Act and the head of the institution considers that another government institution has a greater interest in the record, the head of the institution may, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by regulation, within fifteen days after the request is received, transfer the request and, if necessary, the record to the other government institution, in which case the head of the institution transferring the request shall give written notice of the transfer to the person who made the request.

  • Marginal note:Deeming provision

    (2) For the purposes of section 7, where a request is transferred under subsection (1), the request shall be deemed to have been made to the government institution to which it was transferred on the day the government institution to which the request was originally made received it.

  • Marginal note:Meaning of greater interest

    (3) For the purpose of subsection (1), a government institution has a greater interest in a record if

    • (a) the record was originally produced in or for the institution; or

    • (b) in the case of a record not originally produced in or for a government institution, the institution was the first government institution to receive the record or a copy thereof.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “8”.
Marginal note:Extension of time limits
  •  (1) The head of a government institution may extend the time limit set out in section 7 or subsection 8(1) in respect of a request under this Act for a reasonable period of time, having regard to the circumstances, if

    • (a) the request is for a large number of records or necessitates a search through a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the government institution,

    • (b) consultations are necessary to comply with the request that cannot reasonably be completed within the original time limit, or

    • (c) notice of the request is given pursuant to subsection 27(1)

    by giving notice of the extension and, in the circumstances set out in paragraph (a) or (b), the length of the extension, to the person who made the request within thirty days after the request is received, which notice shall contain a statement that the person has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the extension.

  • Marginal note:Notice of extension to Information Commissioner

    (2) Where the head of a government institution extends a time limit under subsection (1) for more than thirty days, the head of the institution shall give notice of the extension to the Information Commissioner at the same time as notice is given under subsection (1).

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “9”.
Marginal note:Where access is refused
  •  (1) Where the head of a government institution refuses to give access to a record requested under this Act or a part thereof, the head of the institution shall state in the notice given under paragraph 7(a)

    • (a) that the record does not exist, or

    • (b) the specific provision of this Act on which the refusal was based or, where the head of the institution does not indicate whether a record exists, the provision on which a refusal could reasonably be expected to be based if the record existed,

    and shall state in the notice that the person who made the request has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the refusal.

  • Marginal note:Existence of a record not required to be disclosed

    (2) The head of a government institution may but is not required to indicate under subsection (1) whether a record exists.

  • Marginal note:Deemed refusal to give access

    (3) Where the head of a government institution fails to give access to a record requested under this Act or a part thereof within the time limits set out in this Act, the head of the institution shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to have refused to give access.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. I “10”.
Marginal note:Fees
  •  (1) Subject to this section, a person who makes a request for access to a record under this Act may be required to pay

    • (a) at the time the request is made, such application fee, not exceeding twenty-five dollars, as may be prescribed by regulation;

    • (b) before any copies are made, such fee as may be prescribed by regulation reflecting the cost of reproduction calculated in the manner prescribed by regulation; and

    • (c) before the record is converted into an alternative format or any copies are made in that format, such fee as may be prescribed by regulation reflecting the cost of the medium in which the alternative format is produced.

  • Marginal note:Additional payment

    (2) The head of a government institution to which a request for access to a record is made under this Act may require, in addition to the fee payable under paragraph (1)(a), payment of an amount, calculated in the manner prescribed by regulation, for every hour in excess of five hours that is reasonably required to search for the record or prepare any part of it for disclosure, and may require that the payment be made before access to the record is given.

  • Marginal note:Where a record is produced from a machine readable record

    (3) Where a record requested under this Act is produced as a result of the request from a machine readable record under the control of a government institution, the head of the institution may require payment of an amount calculated in the manner prescribed by regulation.

  • Marginal note:Deposit

    (4) Where the head of a government institution requires payment of an amount under subsection (2) or (3) in respect of a request for a record, the head of the institution may require that a reasonable proportion of that amount be paid as a deposit before the search or production of the record is undertaken or the part of the record is prepared for disclosure.

  • Marginal note:Notice

    (5) Where the head of a government institution requires a person to pay an amount under this section, the head of the institution shall

    • (a) give written notice to the person of the amount required; and

    • (b) state in the notice that the person has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the amount required.

  • Marginal note:Waiver

    (6) The head of a government institution to which a request for access to a record is made under this Act may waive the requirement to pay a fee or other amount or a part thereof under this section or may refund a fee or other amount or a part thereof paid under this section.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 11;
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 2.

Access

Marginal note:Access to record
  •  (1) A person who is given access to a record or a part thereof under this Act shall, subject to the regulations, be given an opportunity to examine the record or part thereof or be given a copy thereof.

  • Marginal note:Language of access

    (2) Where access to a record or a part thereof is to be given under this Act and the person to whom access is to be given requests that access be given in a particular official language, a copy of the record or part thereof shall be given to the person in that language

    • (a) forthwith, if the record or part thereof already exists under the control of a government institution in that language; or

    • (b) within a reasonable period of time, if the head of the government institution that has control of the record considers it to be in the public interest to cause a translation to be prepared.

  • Marginal note:Access to record in alternative format

    (3) Where access to a record or a part thereof is to be given under this Act and the person to whom access is to be given has a sensory disability and requests that access be given in an alternative format, a copy of the record or part thereof shall be given to the person in an alternative format

    • (a) forthwith, if the record or part thereof already exists under the control of a government institution in an alternative format that is acceptable to that person; or

    • (b) within a reasonable period of time, if the head of the government institution that has control of the record considers the giving of access in an alternative format to be necessary to enable the person to exercise the person’s right of access under this Act and considers it reasonable to cause that record or part thereof to be converted.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 12;
  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 100(E);
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 3.
 
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