How to Make an Access Request

You may ask a public body for access to any record, including your own personal information, under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).

You may ask a health custodian for access to your own health information under the Health Information Act (HIA).

You may ask a private sector organization for access to your own personal information under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).

Note: "Organizations" describes public bodies, health custodians and private sector organizations.

To make a formal access to information (or freedom of information) request under Alberta's access and privacy laws:

  1. You must submit your access request directly to the organization that you believe has custody or control of the records you are seeking.
  2. Under FOIP and PIPA, your access request must be in writing. HIA allows a custodian to accept an oral request for access but a written request is recommended. Please retain a copy of a written access request, as the OIPC may ask you to produce the copy if a review of the response is requested. (FOIP allows for oral requests if your English is limited or to accommodate a disability. PIPA allows an organization to provide alternate means for requesting access if you are unable to make a written request.)
  3. You may ask for a copy of the records or ask to examine the records.
  4. Your request must provide enough detail to help the organization identify what records or information you are asking for. Please say that the request is made pursuant to FOIP, HIA or PIPA.  This helps make it clear that you are making a formal access request, which may be reviewable by the OIPC.
  5. There may be fees associated with processing your access request. A fee estimate must be provided to you before your request is processed. You may ask the organization to waive the fees. If your fee waiver request is denied, you may ask the OIPC to review that decision. You may also ask the OIPC to review whether the organization calculated fees correctly.
  6. Under FOIP and HIA, organizations have 30 days to respond to your request. Under PIPA, organizations have 45 days to respond to your request. The time limits for response can be extended in certain circumstances. You may ask the OIPC to review a failure to respond within the time limit. You may also ask the OIPC to review whether an extension taken by an organization was appropriate.

Making an Access to Information Request to the OIPC

The OIPC is subject to FOIP, except for records that are excluded under section 4(1)(d). Section 4(1)(d) excludes records that are created by or for or in the custody or under the control of the Commissioner and relates to the exercise of the Commissioner's functions under FOIP, HIA or PIPA.

An access to information request to the OIPC must be in writing and must provide enough detail to enable OIPC to identify the record.