Access to Information and Privacy

About Access to Information and Privacy

Introduction to Access to Information and Privacy

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages' Access to Information and Privacy Office is responsible for implementing and administrating the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and also ensures that the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages respects legislative and central agency policies and procedures.

The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents and all individuals and corporations located in Canada the right to access information in federal government records, regardless of format. The Act upholds the principles that government information should be available to the public, that exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific, and that decisions on the disclosure of information should be reviewed independently of government.

The Privacy Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents or individuals present in Canada the right to access their personal information that is held by the Government of Canada. It protects against unauthorized disclosure of that personal information. In addition, the Act strictly controls how the federal government will collect, use, store, disclose and dispose of any personal information. The Act also entitles individuals to request a correction of their personal information where the person believes there is an error or omission.

Guiding Principles for Assisting Requesters

When processing a request under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages will:

  • process your request without regard to your identity;
  • provide reasonable assistance throughout the request process;
  • provide information on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, including information on the processing of your request and your right to complain to the Information Commissioner of Canada or the Privacy Commissioner of Canada;
  • inform you, as appropriate and without undue delay, when your request needs to be clarified;
  • make every reasonable effort to locate and retrieve the requested records under the control of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages;
  • apply limited and specific exemptions to the requested records;
  • provide accurate and complete responses;
  • provide timely access to the requested information;
  • provide records in the format and official language requested, as much as possible; and
  • provide an appropriate location within the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to examine the requested information. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages's public reading room is located at the following address:
Library
30 Victoria Street, 1st Floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0T8

Submitting a Request

There are two types of requests:

  • Access to information request – for information created, kept or controlled by the federal government
  • Personal information request – for information of a personal nature

Make sure to provide a full description of the information you are seeking and include any relevant details that will help us to locate the information. Narrowing your request will result in a quicker response and lower costs.

You can request the information in two ways:

  • A formal request must be submitted in writing to the government institution that controls the record and must indicate that you are requesting access under one of the acts (either the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act).
  • An informal request for information previously released through a formal request can be submitted in the form of a signed letter stating clearly what information is being requested. There are no fees and no legislated deadlines associated with informal requests. There is also no recourse for a requester who wishes to lodge a complaint.

Formal Access to Information Request or Personal Information Request

Print and fill out the Access to Information Request Form (PDF) or the Personal Information Request Form (PDF). Alternatively, you may write a letter containing the following:

  • A statement that you are making a request under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act;
  • A description, including as much detail as possible, of the records you wish to access (you may wish to consult the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages' Info Source section);
  • Your name, complete address and telephone number;
  • The date and your signature.

Each access to information request must be accompanied by an application fee of $5.00. Payment must be in the form of a cheque or money order payable to the Receiver General for Canada. This fee includes five hours of search time. Additional fees or charges may be applied depending on the request, e.g. for search and preparation time in excess of five hours and/or copies.

There are no application fees for personal information requests made under the Privacy Act.

Informal Request

The Government of Canada encourages the release of information through requests outside of the Access to Information and Privacy process. If you wish to obtain a copy of records released in response to previous requests informally, please send us a signed letter that includes your full name and complete mailing address, as well as the file number(s) requested. There is no recourse for a requester who wishes to lodge a complaint after receiving documents through an informal request.

When requesting information through an informal request, the records will be disclosed in the form that they were released under the Access to Information Act, including format, language(s) and any exemptions or exclusions that were applied at the time of release.

Request to Modify Your Personal Information

To request a correction to your personal information, please complete the Record Correction Request Form. Under section 7 of the Privacy Act, personal information can be used only for the purpose for which it was collected. Information protected by the Privacy Act can be disclosed only with the consent of the person to whom it relates or under the exception terms of section 8(2) of the Privacy Act.

Send Your Request

Send completed access to information or personal information requests, as well as informal requests for previously completed Access to Information and Privacy requests to us at the following address:

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
30 Victoria Street, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0T8
Telephone: 819-420-4723
E-mail: ATIP-AIPRP@clo-ocol.gc.ca

Response Time

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has 30 calendar days to respond to a formal request. Extensions are allowed if a lengthy or complex search is required to locate the information or if consultations are necessary. The Access to Information and Privacy Office will notify you in writing of any required extensions.

There is no time limit to respond to informal requests.

Completed Access to Information Requests

The following is a summary of completed access to information requests processed by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. The requests are listed by the year and month they became available for public release.

Info Source

Info Source: Sources of Federal Government and Employee Information provides information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act; and provides individuals and employees of the government (current and former) with relevant information to access personal information about themselves held by government institutions subject to the Privacy Act and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act.

Annual Reports to Parliament on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act

According to section 72 of the Access to Information Act and of the Privacy Act, the head of every government institution must prepare an annual report on the administration of the Act within its institution at the end of each financial year, for submission to Parliament.

Annual Reports on the Access to Information Act

Annual Reports on the Privacy Act

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
30 Victoria Street, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0T8
Telephone: 819-420-4718
E-mail: ATIP-AIPRP@clo-ocol.gc.ca