CITIZEN ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Most municipal information is available to the public as a matter of course. Citizens can also request that the municipality provide access to municipal documents by filing a request under The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Under FIPPA, the municipality is required to provide any citizen access to documents, unless there is a clear reason for keeping them confidential or they contain personal information (e.g. contain information about an ongoing legal matter, personnel records, etc.)
Citizens have the right to complain to the Ombudsman if the municipality denies access to a municipal document. The Ombudsman, after an investigation, may recommend that the municipality provide the document. Municipalities are expected to comply with the Ombudsman’s recommendations.
Citizens have immediate access to certain documents under municipal legislation:
• Assessment rolls
• Annual financial plan
• Financial statements
• Reports of the municipal auditor
• Minutes of council and committee meetings, held in public
• By-laws and resolutions of council and resolutions of committees of council
• An Election Finance Statement filed by a registered candidate in an election
• A council member’s Statement of Assets and Interests
• A council member’s Record of Disclosure during a meeting
• A report of the Ombudsman received by council, where required
Other information that is available to citizens includes:
• Council member indemnity and expense claim forms
• Tender documents once awarded
• Development agreements
• Conditional use permits and variation orders.
• Any document that is presented at an open council meeting should be available to the public, as a general rule.