What is Freedom of Information?

FOIP specifies that any person has a right to access records in the custody and control of a local public body (Mount Royal), subject only to limited and specified exceptions.

  1. What is a Record?
  2. What does Custody and Control mean?
  3. Specified Exceptions to Disclosure
  4. The University Records Management Policy
  5. Public Interest Override

  1. What is a Record?

A record is any recorded information in any form or format.

Records can include:

  • documents
  • handwritten notes
  • draft documents
  • books
  • vouchers
  • drawings
  • Post-its
  • information in electronic format i.e. databases
  • letters
  • papers
  • e-mail
  • calendars
  • maps
  • photographs
  • voice mail

Remember: With limited exceptions, Mount Royal records may be accessed by the public.

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  1. What does Custody and Control mean?

Custody generally means physical possession of a record by Mount Royal. This includes situations where the records of a third party are stored on the premises of Mount Royal. There may also be situations where Mount Royal uses a record storage centre or a faculty member retains student grades at home. In these circumstances, Mount Royal still has custody of the records.

Control is when Mount Royal has the authority to manage the record throughout its life-cycle, including directing and administering its use or disclosure. Examples of records under the control of Mount Royal include;

    1. A record created by an outside consultant for Mount Royal
    2. A record that is closely integrated with the records of Mount Royal and is relied upon by it in carrying out operations or services.
    3. A record that Mount Royal, by contract, has the right to inspect, review, or copy.

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  1. Specified Exceptions to Disclosure

Sections 16 to 29 of the Act outline 14 instances or exceptions to disclosure, where Mount Royal records would not be made public.

There are two types of exceptions under the act; mandatory where the harm that can result from the disclosure of information is such that a decision to refuse is provided for in the Act. The other exception to disclosure is discretionary, where it is Mount Royal's decision whether or not to disclose based on a harms test.

The following are considered mandatory exceptions to disclosure:

  • Disclosure harmful to business interests of a third party
  • Disclosure harmful to personal privacy
  • Cabinet and Treasury Board Confidences

The following are considered discretionary exceptions to disclosure:

  • Disclosure harmful to to law enforcement
  • Disclosure harmful to individual or public safety
  • Confidential evaluations
  • Disclosure harmful to intergovernmental relations
  • Local public body confidences
  • Advice from officials
  • Disclosure harmful to economic and other interests of a public body
  • Testing procedures, tests and audits
  • Privileged information
  • Disclosure harmful to the conservation of heritage sites etc.
  • Information that is or will be available to the public.

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  1. The University Records Management Policy

For further information contact the Information Management & Privacy Advisor Jeremy Duffin.

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  1. Public Interest Override

Section 32(1) of the Act is a provision that obligates the head of Mount Royal (President) to disclose, without delay, any information about a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or disclosure of which, for any reason, is clearly in the public interest.

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