Right-to-Know (Access to Information)
What is Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP)?
As a public body, the West Hants Regional Municipality is subject to the Government of Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The Municipal Government Act – which provides authority for most of the activities and operations of municipal government in Nova Scotia – also contains provisions relating to FOIPOP in Part XX. These pieces of legislation ensure that the Municipality is transparent and accountable to its citizens, while protecting individual privacy rights and personal information.
What information can be accessed, and what are my rights?
Everyone has a right of access to most recorded information held by the Municipality, but certain exemptions do apply. Foremost, citizens have the right of protection of the privacy of personal information in the custody or under the control of the Municipality (which includes such things as: your name, address, telephone number, etc.). Additionally, legislation prohibits the FOIPOP Administrator from disclosing:
- information that could reasonably be expected to harm inter-municipal or intergovernmental relations or reveal information provided by other municipalities or governments in confidence, unless there is consent
- information that could reasonably be expected to harm the financial and economic interests of the municipality or another municipality or the Province
- information related to certain labour relations mediation or conciliation proceedings
- information subject to solicitor-client privilege
- someone else’s personal information
- information that could significantly harm a third parties business interests
- information that could harm law enforcement; and
- information that could harm the economic or financial interests of a public body, other individuals, or the public
Citizens have a right of access to their own personal records under the control of the Municipality, including their own personal information and the right to update or correct this personal information.
How can I access information?
What is the process and how much will it cost?
If you would like to access information, all requests must:
- Be made in writing
- Specify the information requested
- Be accompanied by a $5.00 application fee.
When making a request, please try to be as specific as possible about the information you are seeking in order to avoid delays in processing.
Depending upon the nature of the request, additional charges may apply. An estimate will be provided to the applicant who must either pay the charges in advance or make an application for the charges to be waived.
NO FEES WILL BE CHARGED FOR THE APPLICANT’S OWN PERSONAL INFORMATION.
What kind of response can I expect to receive?
There are three types of responses you might get from the Municipality once a decision has been made about giving you the records:
- Access in full: you are getting everything that you have requested;
- Access in part: some of the information requested will be provided; or
- Withheld in full: none of the information requested will be disclosed.
Responses are normally provided within 30 days of receipt of the request.
Making a Request
To make a request, please fill out and sign the Municipality’s pdf FOIPOP Application (161 KB) . Requests may be submitted by mail or email, but must include the $5.00 fee to initiate the process (unless it has been waived).
If access is denied or you disagree with the response provided, you have the right to contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia (1-888-243-1564) to request a review of the Municipality’s decision. You must request this review within 60 days of the Municipality’s decisions. There is no charge for the review.