Freedom of Information and Privacy
The public may request information from the City based on the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), which defines the type of information that public bodies in British Columbia can collect or control, and the privacy rights of individuals and corporations.
The Act’s purpose is to make public bodies more accountable to the public and to protect personal privacy by:
- giving the public a right of access to records;
- giving individuals a right of access to, and a right to request correction of, personal information about themselves;
- specifying limited exceptions to the rights of access;
- preventing the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of personal information by public bodies; and
- providing for an independent review of decisions made under this Act.
Port Coquitlam’s Bylaw No. 3536, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw, governs the administration of the FOIPPA in the City.
Most information is available upon request and does not require a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request. However, if you are unsure you may contact the Corporate Office at 604.927.5421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Formal FOI requests may be addressed to Corporate Office.
What kinds of information can I request?
How do I make a request?
You should always start by making an informal request. To do this, contact the department that you think might have the information you are looking for.
If you are told that information is not routinely available, then you may make an FOI request for records containing that information. Your FOI request must be made in writing and must specify whether you want to receive copies of the records or view the records in person.
FOI Request Forms are available online above on this page or can be downloaded as a pdf format and then by submitted by hand, mail, email or fax to:
City of Port Coquitlam
City Hall, 2nd Floor
2580 Shaughnessy St.
Port Coquitlam BC V3C 2A8
Is there a fee for requests?
When you make an informal request for information, the department that has this information may charge you a fee to cover its costs in processing your request. Each department is responsible for setting its own fees.
We may charge you fees to cover the cost of processing your FOI request. We will not charge you fees for access to your own personal information or for the first three hours spent searching for and retrieving the records. If fees are applicable to your request, we will provide you a fee estimate before processing your request. We may also require you to send us a deposit.
Our fees are set out in the Schedule of Maximum Fees set by the Province in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. They include the following for non-commercial applicants:
- $7.50 per ¼ hour ($30/ hour) spent locating, retrieving and producing the records
- $0.25 per regular photocopy
To reduce fees and to minimize taxpayer expense, please narrow your request as much as possible. If possible, please let us know what department has the records you are requesting. Also, you should try to specify a date range; keep in mind that our records go back more than a century!
How will the City respond to my request?
When you make an informal request, the department you approach will respond to you as quickly as possible. Depending on the kind of information you are requesting, you may be able to get an answer over the phone.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act requires us to respond to your FOI request within 30 days of receiving it (we may extend this time if your request is especially complicated). The Act allows us to withhold information if release would be an invasion of privacy or cause harm by one of the means listed in the act, such as harming a law enforcement investigation or threatening anyone’s health or safety.
If we deny you access to any record or part of a record, you have the right to ask for a review by the independent Information and Privacy Commissioner, an officer of the legislature who is independent of the government. A decision of the Commissioner is final, subject to certain limited judicial reviews.
How do I request access to my personal information?
The City of Port Coquitlam does not have one big file on each person. If we have your personal information, it may be contained in a number of different files. If you believe that we have personal information about you, you should contact the department where you think this personal information is located and ask for that information.
To minimize taxpayer expense, please specify what kind of information you are requesting. You should not make an FOI request for your personal information unless you are unable to get what you need through informal channels.
How is my personal information protected?
The Act protects personal privacy by restricting the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. Please note that only private individuals have personal privacy rights, businesses do not.
We only collect personal information when we have the clear authority to do so, or when the collection is related directly to and is necessary for an operating program. When we are collecting personal information, we must do so directly from you, unless we have legal authority to collect the information from another source. These rules apply even if another government body holds the personal information.
Use and Disclosure
The personal information must only be used for the purpose it was collected or for a use consistent with the reason it was collected. We may also use or disclose personal information in other ways, but only if we have legal authority to do so. We have security arrangements to protect personal information from unauthorized use or disclosure.
For example, we will usually disclose copies of any letters you send to the City after removing your name, address, telephone number and any information that may reasonably be used to identify you.
We will make an exception to this rule when we deem that releasing your name and address would not be an unreasonable invasion of your privacy. For example, we will usually release your name and address if you sent a copy of your letter to Mayor and Council or to any person or organization outside of the City.
What if I think the City has incorrect information about me?
If you believe there is an error or omission in your personal information, you have the right to request us to correct it. We will carefully consider your request and respond to you as soon as possible.
Location and Mailing Address
City Hall, 2nd Floor
2580 Shaughnessy Street
Port Coquitlam BC V3C 2A8
Business Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)