The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act establishes public right of access to records in the custody or under the control of public bodies such as school boards and provides a formal request process for information that is not available through routine channels. Most requests for information will be satisfied through routine channels.
A FOIP request should be the avenue of last resort.
It is not necessary for an applicant to make a FOIP request in order to obtain most requested information. The preference is to have the vast majority of requests processed as routine requests, with the Act only being officially invoked in situations where other concerns, such as inclusion of third party information, indicate a FOIP request process is necessary.
A FOIP Directory of Records and listing of Personal Information Banks, held by the Calgary Board of Education, is available on the CBE website to assist in identifying records under the custody or control of the Calgary Board of Education. Public FOIP resources outlines manuals (guidelines and policies) that are used in decision making that affects the public.
There are fundamentally two types of requests for information:
- Routine or
- FOIP Request for Access to Information
1. Routine Requests
The Calgary Board of Education provides a great deal of information through our schools, school websites, annual publications, the CBE website, etc. Schools and departments are encouraged to maintain current channels for routine release of information and access procedures, keeping in mind the Act’s exceptions.
Information accessible through routine channels includes:
(a) CBE Website
There is a great deal of information available on CBE websites, from the corporate site to individual school sites. If the information required cannot be located, contact your child’s school or call the Public Information number at 403-817-4000.
(b) Answers to Questions
Inquiries from members of the public where an individual seeks the answer to a question rather than asking for access to records are handled as a routine request. Inquiries are routinely made in person, by telephone, or in writing and may be received by any office or any employee of the Calgary Board of Education. Occasionally, a person will combine a question on a policy issue with a request for access to records. Staff should continue to refer policy questions, or portions of requests that concern policy matters, to the appropriate school and/or department for response.
c) Personal Information Established by Legislation
Information available outside of the Act have access procedures regulated by law. Copies of records, made from information in a registry that is in the custody of other public bodies, are excluded from the Act. Examples include information in accordance with the Vital Statistics Act, Local Authorities Election Act, records found in a registry such as the Personal Property Registry, Registrar of Motor Vehicle Services, Registrar of Corporations, Registrar of Companies, Land Titles Office, etc.
(d) Personal Information Only to the Person the Information is About
Categories of records containing personal information are in most instances routinely available only to the individual that the information is about, or their guardian if they are a minor. Exceptions to granting immediate access to an individual’s personal information may be the inclusion of a record which would identify a third party who provided information with the expectation of confidentiality.
(e) Routine Correction to Personal Information
Routine corrections to personal information can be handled, in most instances, by making a simple request. This includes all factual information. For example, requests for changes to an employee’s name and/or address would be handled routinely. Requests for correction to information such as evaluations, professional opinions, etc. may need to go through a formal Request for Correction of Personal Information.
2. FOIP Request for Access to Information
Requests for information that requires review and possible severing need to be processed through a formal Request for Access to Information. All formal FOIP requests must be processed through the Legal Services, Attention FOIP Coordinator.