Frequently Asked Questions... about FOI
1. Why have hospitals been added under the legislation?
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) establishes a right for every person to access information held by hospitals, and provides a formal process for people to exercise that right by making a freedom of information (FOI) request. For example, you may request access to records under a hospital's custody or control relating to:
· Administrative and operational functions;
· Financial considerations and decisions; and
· Personal Information.
There are a number of exemptions and exclusions from the right of access. For example, where the disclosure of a record could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter, it may be exempt from disclosure. As another example, records that relate to the operations of a hospital foundation are excluded from the right of access.
2. Are hospitals not already covered under the Personal Health Information and Protection Act (PHIPA)?
Yes, hospitals have been covered under the Personal Health Information and Protection Act (PHIPA) since 2004. However, PHIPA only governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information and not other types of information.
Under PHIPA, you are entitled to request access to your own records of personal health information, including hospital records. PHIPA also allows a substitute decision-maker to access records of personal health information on behalf of another individual in defined circumstances.
3. Who can make an FOI request?
Anyone can make an FOI request, using the appropriate FOI Access Request Form. The requestor does not have to live in Ontario, or even in Canada. The requester need not be a Canadian citizen.
4. Are there costs associated with making an FOI request?
Yes, a $5.00 mandatory application fee must accompany a request for either personal information or general records under FIPPA. There is also a user pay principle associated with FIPPA meaning a person making an access request must pay some of the costs the hospital incurs in processing the request. Under FIPPA, different fees are applied depending on whether the request is for general records or the requestor's own personal information. The FOI Fee Schedule is available here for viewing.
5. What kind of information can be requested?
FIPPA gives everyone a right of access to most recorded information held by West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. The legislation requires that an institution make available for public viewing a Directory of Records (DoR) housed by the institution and a listing of Personal Information Banks (PIB).
The Directory of Records and Personal Information Banks provides the public with a general idea of the types and categories of records created, used and housed by WLMH. Please note that records referred to in these listings are not necessarily public and that some or all of a record type or personal information bank may be properly exempt from release under the Act.
6. How do I request corrections to my personal information?
If, after obtaining access to your personal information, you believe that there is an error or omission in the information, you may request a correction to that information using the FOI Correction Request Form.
7. What if I am not satisfied with the way my request for access to records has been handled?
Please contact the Freedom of Information Office to address your concerns regarding your access request. If you remain dissatisfied with the response, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) who has oversight for compliance with FIPPA. Appeals must be made within 30-days of when you receive the decision that you wish to appeal.
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DoR - Directory of Records
FIPPA - Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
FOI - Freedom Of Information
IPC - Information and Privacy Commissioner
PIB - Personal Information Bank
PHIPA - Personal Health Information and Protection Act