Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Online Request

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Access to Information and Privacy

  1. What information is available under the Access to Information and Privacy Acts?

    A: Most government information is available. Major exceptions are Cabinet documents and information that could be injurious to Canada’s security or economy, federal-provincial relations and international affairs. Information about individuals may be disclosed only with their consent or if it is found to be in the public interest. Individuals can obtain their personal information under the Privacy Act.

  2. Who can make a request under the Access to Information Act?

    A: Canadian citizens, permanent residents and any individual present  or corporation in Canada can make a request under the Access to Information Act. Individuals who are neither of the above can ask a representative, who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, to make a request on his/her behalf, provided there is written consent.

  3. Who can make a request under the Privacy Act?

    A: Canadian citizens, permanent residents and any individual present in Canada can make a request under the Privacy Act.

  4. How long does the Department have to respond?

    A: Both Acts allow for a legal response time of 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of an official request. However, this period may be extended for limited and specific reasons identified in the Acts. For instance, extensions may be taken if:

    1. 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;
    2. consultations are necessary to comply with the request that cannot be completed within the original time limit; or
    3. additional time is necessary for translation purposes or for converting personal information into an alternative format.
  5. Can I obtain personal information on individuals other than myself?

    A: To obtain the personal information belonging to someone else, you must submit their written consent authorizing you to receive their personal information. The consent must be signed and dated by the person giving the consent. Permission is not required to obtain the information of any dependants who are under 18 years of age.

  6. Can I receive personal information on someone who is deceased?

    A: Personal information can be released if an individual has been deceased for 20 years or more. Reasonable proof of death must be provided. Examples of what constitutes reasonable proof include obituary notices, death certificates, photographs of tombstones and provincial vital statistics. If a person has been dead for less than 20 years, only the executor or executrix of the estate or, in the case of an individual who has died without a will, the administrator of the estate, may request the personal information of the deceased. The executor or administrator of the estate does not have an unlimited right of access to all of the deceased’s personal information, but only that information which will allow them to fulfill their legal responsibilities to finalize the estate.

  7. Can I lodge a complaint related to the Access to Information Act?

    A: Yes, you may lodge a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner about any matter related to your Access to Information Act request. For example, your complaint may involve exemptions applied, delays in providing a response, fee estimates, etc. A complaint must be made within 60 days from the date that you received a response to your request. There is no cost to you for the investigation of a complaint. Complaints must be submitted in writing to:

    Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
    30 Victoria St.
    Gatineau (Qu├ębec) K1A 1H3
  8. Can I lodge a complaint related to the Privacy Act?

    A: Yes, you may lodge a complaint about any matter related to your Privacy Act request.  You may also lodge a complaint if you believe that a government institution has not respected your privacy rights. Complaints must be submitted in writing to:

    Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
    30 Victoria Street
    Gatineau, Quebec
    K1A 1H3

    Or you may submit your complaint online at: Online Complaint Form.

Online Requests

  1. What do I do if I don’t know how to answer a question?

    A: If you are unsure of how to answer a question, use the "Help" feature by clicking on the icon in the top-right corner of the question box. This feature provides information to assist you when answering questions.

  2. How can I change or review my answers?

    A: At the end of the request, you will be asked to review and validate your answers. You will be able to select "modify" beside the answer that you would like to change. If you do change an answer, you may need to answer different or additional questions based on your new answer.

  3. Will I be able to review my answers before submitting my online request?

    A: When you have answered all the questions, you will be presented with a summary of the questions and your answers. Review your answers and make any necessary changes.

  4. How do I pay for my online request?

    A: A request made under the Access to Information Act costs $5.00 CAD, while requests made under the Privacy Act are free.

  5. What do I do if I need to provide a new document after I submitted my online request?

    A: Once you have submitted your online request, you cannot include other documents. If your request is incomplete or requires clarification, an ATIP officer will contact you directly.

Technical

  1. What file types can I attach for my supporting documents with my online request?

    A: The maximum size of each file is 2 MB (two megabytes). The following file formats are allowed:

    1. Portable Document Format (PDF)
    2. JPG, TIFF, or PNG (Image)
    3. DOC, DOCX (Microsoft Word Document)

    Information: How to scan your documents

    One file will be allowed per document type. For example, if you are required to provide multiple pages of your passport, you must scan and save all pages as one file. Scanned documents must be clear and legible. Submitting unclear documents will result in processing delays.

    Tips for reducing file size

    1. PDF
      1. Recreate the PDF with Adobe Distiller set to "lowest file size".
      2. Ensure that all images in the PDF are set to 96 Dots Per Inch (DPI).
      3. Remove all unnecessary images.
    2. JPG
      1. Scan your document at a lower DPI.
      2. Remove all empty space around the image.
      3. Shrink the image.
      4. Reduce the JPG image quality.
    3. TIFF and PNG
      1. Scan your document at a lower DPI.
      2. Remove all empty space around the image.
      3. Shrink the image.
      4. Save the file as a JPG.
    4. DOC, DOCX
      1. Remove unnecessary images, formatting and macros. Save the file as a recent Word version.
      2. Reduce the file size of the images before they are inserted in the document.
      3. Create a PDF document.
  2. What browsers are supported by the online request?

    A: At this time, you may use the most common Internet browsers. If you are using Internet Explorer, we recommend that you download the most recent version of the browser.

  3. How do I upgrade my browser?

    A: You can link directly to the most common Internet browser sites to download or upgrade your version of browser software.

    1. Chrome
    2. Firefox
    3. Safari
    4. Internet Explorer
  4. Why do I need to clear my browser cache?

    A: When you visit a website, information, such as the location of the page or the URL, is retained in your browser’s memory. In order to protect the privacy of your information, you should empty your browser’s memory by clearing your cache. This will ensure that your information remains private. Your browser help will provide instructions on clearing your cache.