Access to Information

Introduction

How to Make a Freedom of Information Request

Commonly Requested Records

FOI Request Procedures

Previous Access to Information Requests

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Introduction

Most requests received by UBC are for information that is not confidential or sensitive. These are called routine requests. Faculty and staff should make every reasonable effort to respond to routine requests.

Requests for records that may contain confidential or sensitive information are called freedom of information (FOI) requests. These requests are processed at the Office of the University Counsel.

An applicant may request access not only to records containing personal information about him/her, but may also request access to general records of the University. The FIPPA requires UBC to release requested records, subject to limited exceptions.

How to Make a Freedom of Information Request

1. All requests must be submitted in writing, which may include letters, faxes and emails.

2. Requests for the applicant’s own personal information must be signed by the applicant (electronic or photocopied signatures are not acceptable) and must specify:

  • the type of personal information requested
  • the date on which the consent is effective and, if applicable, the date on which the consent expires

You may choose to download and use UBC’s Authorization for Disclosure to Self form.

3. Requests for third party personal information must be accompanied by the signed authorization of the third party (electronic or photocopied signatures are not acceptable) to release his or her information to the applicant. This authorization must specify:

  • to whom the personal information may be disclosed
  • the personal information for which the third party is providing consent for disclosure
  • the date on which the consent is effective and, if applicable, the date on which the consent expires
  • the purpose of the disclosure of the information

You may choose to download and use UBC’s Authorization for Disclosure form.

4. The request must be for access to records (recorded information). For example, “I request copies of any reports submitted to the Board of Governors relating to the renovation of the UBC library” is a valid FOI request because it is a request for records. However, “Why did UBC renovate the library?” is not a valid FOI request because it is not a request for records.

5. FOI requests must provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of UBC, with a reasonable effort, to identify the records sought. Please keep in mind that any missing information may require requests for clarifications, which will delay the processing of your request and may also result in extra fees.

6. Requests should include the following contact information for the applicant:

  • current legal name
  • address
  • day-time telephone number
  • e-mail address

7. Requests should be sent to:

Freedom of Information Specialist
The University of British Columbia
Office of the University Counsel
6328 Memorial Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

Fax: (604) 822-8731
Email: access.and.privacy@ubc.ca

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Commonly Requested Records

Student Academic Records: If you need to make an FOI request for student academic or educational records, UBC will consider this request to be for the student transcript, which contains the complete academic history of a student. Student transcripts are routinely available for a fee from Enrolment Services. For more information visit http://www.students.ubc.ca/coursesreg/transcripts/. If you require any records in addition to the student transcript, you must request them from the Office of the University Counsel by providing the following details:

  • the specific additional records that you are requesting about the student and, if possible, the department in which those records are located
  • the student’s complete legal name, and any alternate forms of the name that may appear in UBC’s files
  • UBC Student ID number
  • date of birth
  • degree(s) achieved and/or program being or has attended
  • status (undergraduate, graduate, continuing studies, etc.)
  • an authorization signed by the student

Student Health Records: Most student health records at UBC may be requested directly from the student health unit involved, which may be either UBC Student Health Services or UBC Counselling Services.

The UBC Hospital is not part of UBC. Its health records may be requested from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority at 604.736.2033.

Employment Records: Faculty and staff members can make a routine access request to review their personnel files at Faculty Relations or at Human Resources. If you need to request employment records through the FOI process, provide the following details:

  • the employee’s complete legal name, and any alternate forms of the name that may appear in UBC’s files
  • UBC Employee ID number
  • date of birth
  • current or last place of work at UBC
  • for student employment records, the job program under which the job placement was made
  • an authorization signed by the employee

Please DO NOT include Social Insurance Numbers in any type of FOI request.

Records of a Deceased Individual: Under the FIPPA, deceased individuals have a right to privacy.  Please contact the Freedom of Information Specialist to learn about the requirements to access records of deceased students, alumni, or employees.

Non-personal Records:  As UBC is authorized to recover costs for the time taken in the search and in the reproduction of non-personal records, it is to your advantage then to make a request as specific and concise as possible. You should identify the divisions and/or units where you believe the records requested may be found. If possible, you should also provide the name of UBC faculty or staff members who may have the requested records.

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FOI Request Procedures

Request for personal information

  • Request is received by the Office of the University Counsel (OUC).
  • Request is entered into the FOI Requests database and assigned a file number.
  • Acknowledgement letter is sent to the applicant.
  • Letters requesting additional information are also sent at this stage and the file is placed on hold. If no additional information is received within 10 business days, the request is considered abandoned.
  • Retrieval of Records email is sent to the various unit(s) identified to search, prepare, and send the requested records to the OUC.
  • Once the area(s) have completed their search, all found records are forwarded to the Office of the University Counsel.
  • Upon receiving the records, the FOI Specialist reviews the records and determines if any third party notification letters have to be sent out and if any information should be redacted (black out) from the records in accordance with the FIPPA.
  • Once all records have been reviewed, the material is prepared for release.
  • UBC does not charge recovery cost fees for FOI responsive records containing an applicant’s personal information.
  • A response letter is sent to the applicant, along with copies of any releasable records.
  • After receiving a response letter, an applicant has 30 days in which to request a review of the UBC’s decisions by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Request for non-personal information

  • Request is received by the Office of the University Counsel (OUC).
  • Request is entered into the FOI Requests database and assigned a file number.
  • An acknowledgement letter is sent to the applicant.
  • Letters requesting additional information are also sent at this stage and the file is placed on hold. If no additional information is received within 10 business days, the request is considered abandoned.
  • Retrieval of Records email is sent to the various unit(s) identified to provide estimates of how long it will take to locate, compile, and organize the requested records and how many pages they anticipate the records will comprise.
  • Once the area(s) have provided their estimates to the Office of the University Counsel, the FOI Specialist prepares an aggregate fee estimate and mails it to the applicant. The file is placed on hold until payment is received.
  • FIPPA exempts from any recovery fee the first three hours spent during a record search. Consequently, if the total aggregate is three hours or less, no fee is involved.
  • Upon receiving payment of the fee estimate, A Retrieval of Records email is sent out to the various unit(s) identified to search, prepare, and send the requested records to the OUC.
  • Upon receiving the records, the FOI Specialist goes through the records and determines if any third party notification letters have to be sent out and if any information should be removed from the records in accordance with the Act.
  • Once all records have been reviewed, the material is prepared for release.
  • A response letter is sent to the applicant, along with copies of any releasable records.

After receiving a response letter, an applicant has 30 days in which to request a review of the UBC’s decisions by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

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Previous Access to Information Requests

Here are lists of access requests received by UBC since January 2013. These are published quarterly.

Jan 1 – Mar 31, 2013

Apr 1 – Jun 30, 2013

Jul 1 – Sep 30, 2013

Oct 1 – Dec 31, 2013

Jan 1 – Mar 31, 2014

Apr 1 – Jun 30, 2014

Jul 1 – Sep 30, 2014

Oct 1 – Dec 31, 2014

Jan 1 – Mar 31, 2015

Apr 1 – Jun 30, 2015

Jul 1 – Sep 30, 2015

Oct 1 – Dec 31, 2015

Jan 1 – Mar 31, 2016

Apr 1 – Jun 30, 2016

Jul 1 – Sep 30, 2016

Oct 1 – Dec 31, 2016

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Office of the University Counsel
6328 Memorial Road,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada
Tel: (604) 822-1897
Fax: (604) 822-8731
Email:

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