As a local government, the District of Coldstream is compliant with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOI).
The Act applies to all records in the custody or under the control of public bodies like the District of Coldstream. The Act also protects personal privacy and regulates how the District collects, uses and discloses a wide range of personal information in fulfilling its statutory responsibilities and operating its programs.
If the information you are seeking is not available through routine channels, then you may make an FOI request for records containing the information.
Unlike routine requests, formal FOI requests must be made in writing. Your request must provide sufficient detail to assist staff in locating and retrieving the records; please be as specific as possible and include any reference or file numbers if known. You must also indicate whether you want to receive copies of the records or to view the records in person.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) applies to all records (i.e. all recorded information) that are under the custody or control of a public body.
It is important to note that the Act covers access to records, and the information contained therein. It is not the intention of the Act, that District staff compiles and summarizes research in order to answer specific questions. Applicants are expected to conduct their own research from any records received from the District of Coldstream.
Step 1: Make an Informal Information Request Directly to the Department
Before filing a formal FOI request, start by making an informal request. Contact the department responsible for the content you are looking for. If the information is routinely released, or easily accessed you may receive your records as soon as possible without a formal process.
If you are told that the information is not routinely available, you must make a formal Freedom of Information request.
Step 2: Create a Formal Freedom of Information (FOI) Request
The criteria for an FOI request:
1. Must be in writing, using one of the FOI application form options below
Example: If you are representing a person, you must provide the necessary authorization to represent that individual and receive their personal information.
2. Must be made to the correct jurisdiction.
Example: If the request is for a Fire Commissioner's Report for a fire in Coldstream, the applicant should submit its request to the Office of the Fire Commissioner, not the District of Coldstream.
3. Must be in sufficient detail to assist staff in processing the request.
Example: Requesting "all records relating to (subject)..." is too vast and could cover a period of 30+ years of records, including excessive fees and time extensions. Instead, try to narrow down the scope of your request. The FOI Coordinator can help you clearly define the records to search and retrieve the exact documents you are looking for - saving you time and fee charges (see below).
Step 3. Submit your Application
Application Form Options:
- Download the FOI Request for Access to Records Application (PDF)
- Pick up the form at the front desk of Municipal Hall
- Fill out Freedom of Information Request Webform
- Send your request in writing (i.e., letter or email)
Submit a webform, OR deliver, mail, fax or email your request with the subject reading "FOI Request" to:
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Coordinator
9901 Kalamalka Road
Fax: (250) 545-4733
Fees are charged in accordance with the Schedule of Maximum Fees as established by British Columbia Regulation 323/93 and the District of Coldstream's Miscellaneous Fees and Charges Bylaw.
When you make an informal request for information, we may charge you a fee to cover the processing costs for your request.
Formal FOI Requests:
*NEW* For commercial applicants, there is a non-refundable fee that must be received with your records request. This fee does not apply to individuals.
Fees may be charged to cover services to process your FOI request (map copies, for example).
If we are going to charge you any fees, we will send you a fee estimate before processing your request. We may also require you to provide us with a deposit.
The following fees are examples of fees that may apply for non-commercial applicants (i.e. private individuals):
- $7.50 per 1/4 hour ($30/hour) after the first 3 hours spent locating, retrieving, and producing the requested records;
- $7.50 per 1/4 hour ($30/hour) to prepare records for disclosure (includes the time spent photocopying and reassembling files)
- $0.25 per page of regular photocopies provided; and
- Shipping and handling charges (method chosen by applicant)
Commercial applicants are charged the actual cost of providing the services.
When you make an informal request, we will respond to you as quickly as possible. Depending on the kind of information you are requesting, you may be able to get an answer over the phone.
Formal FOI Requests:
The Act includes several specific exemptions to disclosure, which means that, as per legislation, certain types of records and information are to be protected and not made available to the public. Some exemptions are mandatory while others are exercised at the discretion of the FOIPPA Head based on the relevant circumstances surrounding the request.
For example, reasons for refusing access to information held by the District of Coldstream are generally related to the protection of:
- personal privacy;
- business trade secrets or unit pricing;
- solicitor-client privilege;
- deliberations of the Council and Council Committees that are authorized to be held in the absence of the public (i.e. closed or “In Camera” meetings);
- policy advice, staff recommendations or draft regulations not yet made public;
- information that may harm a law enforcement matter (this includes bylaw enforcement matters);
- information that may harm the financial interests of the District of Coldstream or other public body.
- The Act requires us to withhold information if release would be an invasion of privacy or cause harm by one of the means listed in the Act, such as harming a law enforcement investigation or threatening anyone’s health or safety.
If you do not get access to all information you requested, you will be advised of the reasons for the refusal and the provision(s) of the Act on which the refusal is based. If you are not satisfied with how the District of Coldstream responds to your FOI request, you have the right to ask for a review by the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner, an Officer of the legislature who is independent of the government. A decision of the Commissioner is final, subject to certain limited judicial reviews.
The Act requires that we respond to your request within 30 business days of our receipt of your request. We will make every effort to make the records available to you sooner, if possible.
If your request is broad in scope, or if a large volume of records respond to your request, we may extend the time limit for responding under Section 10 of the Act for an additional 30 business days. For particularly large and difficult requests, we may apply to the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner for an additional time extension.
The Act protects personal privacy by restricting the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. Please note that personal privacy rights extend only to private individuals, not businesses, societies, corporations, etc.
When an individual makes an FOI request to the District of Coldstream, their personal information is protected and is not made public.
We only collect personal information when we have the clear authority to do so, or when the collection is related directly to and necessary for an operating program. When we are collecting personal information, we must do so directly from you, unless we have legal authority to collect the information from another source. These rules apply even if the personal information is held by another government body.
Use and Disclosure:
Personal information must only be used for the purpose it was collected or for a use consistent with the reason it was collected. We may also use or disclose personal information in other ways, but only if we have legal authority to do so.