Access to Information
The University of Western Ontario routinely provides information to the public through its administrative and academic units, its Department of Communications & Public Affairs, and its web site. A request for information contained in University records can also be made formally under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. However, it is not necessary to file an official request for information that is routinely released to the public.
There is no automatic requirement to invoke the formal provisions of FIPPA in order to obtain information. In keeping with past practice, informal inquiries are welcomed and will continue to be dealt with by the appropriate department heads. Faculty and staff are encouraged to continue to release general information, respond to routine inquiries, and provide copies of records as appropriate while respecting the need to protect privacy.
Formal requests for access to information can be made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and should be submitted to Western's Information and Privacy Office. A formal application for access must be in writing, accompanied by a $5.00 application fee, and provide sufficient detail to enable the University to identify the records. Requesters should also indicate whether they are requesting a copy of a record or are requesting an opportunity to examine a record. If an individual is seeking access to his/her own personal information, the request must also identify the location of the personal information being requested or the personal information bank. All written requests must also include the following contact information: name, address, and day-time telephone number.
Requesters may find it convenient to submit their request on Western's FIPPA Access/Correction Request Form. However, any written request that makes reference to the Act and is accompanied by the required application fee will be accepted.
The FIPPA Access/Correction Request Form is available from Western's Information and Privacy Office or you may click on this link to print a form: FIPPA Access/Correction Request Form (PDF).
Upon receipt of a written request, an acknowledgment letter will be sent to the requester. If a request does not sufficiently describe the record sought, staff in the Information and Privacy Office will contact the requester for clarification of the request.
The University will make every reasonable effort to respond to a request within thirty days after a complete request is received, unless specific exceptions in FIPPA apply that warrant an extended period of time for the University to respond.
In processing a request, costs for time, materials and services will be incurred. If it appears that the cost of processing the request will be over $25.00, the requester will be given a fee estimate before the University grants access to the records. If the cost estimate is $100.00 or more, the University may require the requester to pay a deposit equal to 50 percent of the estimate before taking any further steps to respond to the request.
Tips on Formal Applications
- Mail or deliver the completed request with original signature and the $5.00 application fee to Western's Information and Privacy Office. Cheques should be made payable to The University of Western Ontario.
- As a formal request is not complete until the original is received and the $5.00 fee paid, e-mails and faxes are not acceptable for a formal request under FIPPA.
- Be as specific as possible in describing the records that you would like to access. The more specific your request, the more quickly and accurately it can be answered. If you are using the FIPPA Access/Correction Request Form and need more space, continue your description on a separate sheet of paper and attach it to the request form. In particular, include the location and time period of the records, if known.
- If you are requesting your own personal information, please be sure that you give the name appearing on the requested records and any identifying number that relates to the records, such as your student number. You will have to provide proof of your identity before the records are released to you.
- If you are requesting records for another person, you will have to provide proof that you have the authority to act for that person.