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Freedom of Information Act

sammiec
November 9th, 2004, 11:39 AM
I received this email today:

Dear everyone,

I sent in written requests for public information. I requested Toronto stats on dog licenses, dog bites, total animal bites and total number of dogs to be affected by the proposed ban. From the Toronto Health unit, I was flatly refused. Although I spoke to a manager on the phone who said it would be open to me if I put a request in writing, but now I cannot seem to get a phone call in to him anymore. Curious.

Now I just got a lovely form letter back from the lovely Mr Mcguilty. Apparently he "values my views and appreciates me sharing them". In response to my legal request for statistical data that I have every right to access they send me a form letter assuring me that because of an "INCREASING NUMBER OF ATTACKS BY PIT BULLS - OFTEN ON CHILDREN - WE FEEL IT IS NECESSARY TO PUT MECHANISMS IN PLACE TO BETTER PROTECT ONTARIO CITIZENS".

Either these people did not even read my request, as they are legally required to do. Or they are slyly ducking my rights in order to push their own agenda.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am off to wipe my (bum) with this form letter.

Yours in shared disgust,

There is an independent firm that deals with providing this information to the public. Anyone that is interested should request this information. We have the right to access this information and it should be provided to us.

IPC (http://www.ipc.on.ca/scripts/index_.asp?action=31&P_ID=1&N_ID=1&U_ID=0)

Luvmypit
November 9th, 2004, 11:51 AM
Good job but keep calling these arse holes... Keep the pressure on and when in doubt say your calling on the media to investigate why you can't the info that you are entitled too. I will write too.

Dukieboy
November 9th, 2004, 11:56 AM
City of Toronto

Requests for info:
Here's the link

http://www.toronto.ca/cap/index.htm

Here the application:
http://www.toronto.ca/forms/pdf/cs_clk_accesscorrection.pdf

Schwinn
November 9th, 2004, 12:36 PM
Maybe forward that to the media, as well. I'd be interested to see how they would handle it.

Dukieboy
November 9th, 2004, 12:42 PM
Remember Wolkams or Walkams piece in the Star? He must have obtained the stats from the City

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1098094028731&call_pageid=970599109774&col=Columnist969907626796

mastifflover
November 9th, 2004, 12:44 PM
I would pass this on to the media, anything else we can to help MB with his foot in mouth disease. Not giving information to us is against the law and the media will eat this up that only if you are pro ban will you get info.

sammiec
November 9th, 2004, 12:49 PM
Just so we're clear, this was not my email; this is an email that I have received from someone else that has been vocally fighting this ban (set up the rally at Queen's Park)

I have passed your information on.

raingirl
November 9th, 2004, 12:54 PM
Statistics Canada posts all their statistics online. They are a little slow in putting them up (last I checked they had 2001 stats) but info is easy to find there.

I'm an internet slueth and can find anything if you let me know exactly what you want.

For the freedom on information act, you need to call their freedoms officer or privacy officer, get info on how much it costs (most places like police etc charge a $5.00 processing fee which is allowed). Then, most places only allow one written request at a time, so you can't request more than one peice of info. They won't compile info for you either.

i.e. if you want info on dog bites from the police, you have to ask for each individual report, not all reports of dog bites because they can't do that.

Here's a link to the Act: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/English/90f31_e.htm

For stats on dog licenses, stats canada might have it, otherwise you have to write to the privacy officer of the division that does dog licenses, and ask something simple as to how many dog licenses were issued, and what breeds were they.

I just did a basic search on stats can website and nothing on dogs at all.

Oh, and just to clarify, the IPC doesn't have anything to do with the freedom of information act.

The IPC was set up in response to PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act).

They are completly different. the IPC is set up so people have someone to complain to if their information is released without their consent, as all privacy consents must be under the PIPEDA legislation (sorry, I've had extensive training in these at work)

sammiec
November 9th, 2004, 01:24 PM
Thanks Raingirl!

I passed that information along to the person that wrote me the email because it says on their website; The role of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario (IPC) is set out in two statutes: the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Acts). The IPC acts independently of government to uphold and promote open government and the protection of personal privacy

The person in the email had contacted the governement and received no response. Am I wrong in assuming that this company would help this person get to the information that they are looking for?? :confused:

It says that under its statutory mandate they are responsible for : "ensuring that the government organizations comply with the access and privacy provisions of the Acts"

I posted the email and the link in hopes that if others were trying unsuccessfully to reach the government for information that they could go there.

I am having trouble navigating throught the StatsCan site, do you mind providing me with some of the links you found.

Nice work Raingirl

raingirl
November 9th, 2004, 04:04 PM
No. The IPC doesn't make sure information is provided. They make sure that information that is private doesn't get released. Sorta the opposite.

The IPC is the place you go if you...say you signed a release to have the last 2 years of your medical records sent to a lawyer. If the doctor released 5 years instead of 2, you could appeal to the IPC and have them apply the provisions in the act and penalize the doctor.

before the IPC was around (they have only existed since Jan 2004) you had no one in the government to turn to if your privacy was violated. now you can complain to the IPC and the investigate and lay charges in cases of privacy violation.

Basically, the IPC takes complaints and tries to fix them. They will not look for info for you.

I request stuff all the time, and you almost never get a response. You either get the info or you don't. Most of the time you do, but it can take a LONG TIME. I requested some police files, took them 7 months to even call me about it.

sammiec
November 9th, 2004, 04:17 PM
But what I mean is; this person that sent me the email stating that they had requested information from the government as they have every right to do and the government is refusing to comply - the IPC can help if they file a claim? The government is not complying with citizen's rights??

Not that IPC will get the information for a person, but look into why one is not receiving information that one is entitled to.. am I on the wrong track?

LL1
November 9th, 2004, 04:19 PM
Actually the IPC has been around since the late 80s. And the IPC does ensure information is provided, they also make orders that direct government to respond to requests and release information after requests have been denied.

The Act the requests you are looking for are covered under is the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, at this link, not the one provided earlier in the topic: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/English/90m56_e.htm

The one raingirl posted covers the Provincial government, not the City of Toronto or the Dept of Public Health.


No. The IPC doesn't make sure information is provided. They make sure that information that is private doesn't get released. Sorta the opposite.

The IPC is the place you go if you...say you signed a release to have the last 2 years of your medical records sent to a lawyer. If the doctor released 5 years instead of 2, you could appeal to the IPC and have them apply the provisions in the act and penalize the doctor.

before the IPC was around (they have only existed since Jan 2004) you had no one in the government to turn to if your privacy was violated. now you can complain to the IPC and the investigate and lay charges in cases of privacy violation.

raingirl
November 9th, 2004, 06:51 PM
That's odd. When they told us about the Ombudsman through the IPC they told us it was new as of the PIPEDA legislation.

I guess I didn't understand what you meant. Based on what you said, then yes, I beleive the IPC can help your friend get the info.

I was looking at the IPC website, did your friend complete the form on their site (the request form) and submit the fee first? I was reading some of the caselaw on their sites, and in most instances, the requests were too broad and thus they had to be broken down.

Based on what your friend put in the letter above, she may have to specify "a breakdown of all dog licenses issued in 2003, including the dog breed" then do a separate request for "all records of dog bites".

Problem is, who keeps the record of dog bites? OSPCA? Toronto Health? Then you need to find out who they report to, and ask them how to request that info. Some public info is exempt.

For instance. I was ordering police records on a specific person. I can only get records which involve this person only, if they consent. If other people are involved, they have to consent as well.

If you are requesting dog license info, they might not be able to release it withour a privacy consent from the license owner.

LL1
November 10th, 2004, 02:46 PM
The link Dukieboy posted is correct, send in a request with a cheque for $5 and they will respond.

sammiec
November 10th, 2004, 02:56 PM
Thanks for your information guys, I will pass it along. :thumbs up