Working cooperatively is key to the Freedom of Information Act. The Regional District works to assist with requests wherever possible under the authority of Bylaw No. 611 and Amendment Bylaw No. 1276 that manage compliance with Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation. However some requests must be processed through the Freedom of Information Officer, as designated by Provincial law.
Click on this link to view Bylaw No. 611 and Amendment Bylaw No. 1276
We may charge you a fee to cover the cost of processing your FOI request as determined under Bylaw No. 611. If this is the case, we will send you a fee estimate before processing your request. We may also require a deposit from you before starting to process your FOI request. See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information or view the Regional District of Central Okanagan Freedom of Information Policy and Procedures Manual.
There are a number of steps required in order to request information from the Regional District of Central Okanagan under the Freedom of Information Act:
- Contact the Department holding the record to see whether the information is available for release to the public.
- If the information is not readily available from the Department, download the form titled Request for Access to Records and complete the form in as much detail as possible. You may also pick up a form in person from Corporate Services or call the department at (250) 763-4918 and request a form be sent to you by fax or surface mail.
- Please direct your inquiry to the Freedom of Information Officer.
- You have several options for delivering the material, which requires a signature of the applicant. If you have the technical capability to fill out the form and sign it, you may email an electronic version to firstname.lastname@example.org or you may drop it off in person to our office, fax it to (250) 763-0606 or surface mail it to our office:
Regional District of Central Okanagan
1450 KLO Road,
Attn: Freedom of Information Officer
You will receive a reply within 30 business days of the receipt of your form by the Regional District Freedom of Information Officer.
You may get more information about Freedom of Information on the following link: http://www.cio.gov.bc.ca
Frequently Asked Questions About Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
- What information can I request?
- How do I make a request?
- Is there a fee to process my request?
- How will the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) respond to my request?
- How long does the request process take?
- Will I get everything that I ask for?
- How is my personal information protected?
What can I request?
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act applies to all records (i.e. all recorded information) that are under the custody or control of a public body. The Act defines records as follows:
"record"includes books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers, paper and any other thing on which information is recorded or stored by graphic, electronic, mechanical or other means, but does not include a computer program or any other mechanism that produces records;
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 staff undertake compiled and summarized research in order to answer specific questions. Applicants are expected to conduct their own research from any records received from the RDCO.
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How do I make a request?
There are two ways to request information from the Regional District:
You may use our FOI Application Form, although it is not required to make a formal request. You may deliver, mail, fax or e-mail your FOI request to:
Information and Privacy
Regional District of Central Okanagan
1450 K.L.O. Road
Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
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Is there a fee to process my request?
When you make an informal request for information, the department that has the information may charge you a fee to cover its costs in processing your request. Departments charge in accordance with our Freedom of Information Bylaw No. 611.
Formal FOI Request
We may charge you fees to cover the cost of processing your FOI request. We will not charge you fees for access to your own personal information or for the first three hours spent searching for and retrieving the records. The RDCO does not charge fees for FOI requests amounting to $5.00 or less.
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.
Our fees are charged in accordance with our Freedom of Information Bylaw No. 611 and the Schedule of Maximum Fees as established by British Columbia Regulation 323/93.
For example, the following fees apply for non-commercial applicants (i.e. private individuals):
- $7.50 per ¼ hour ($30/hour) after the first 3 hours spent locating, retrieving and producing the requested records;
- $7.50 per ¼ 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)
To help reduce fees and to minimize taxpayer expense, please narrow
the scope of your request as much as possible. Also, you should try to specify
a date range as our records date back more than 40 years!
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How will the RDCO respond to my request?
When you make an informal request, the department you approach 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.
The Act requires us to respond to your FOI request within 30 business days of receiving it, although we will respond sooner if possible. If your request is especially complicated, we may extend our response time by an additional 30 business days.
The Act allows 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 the RDCO withholds any information, we will tell you which section or sections of the Act were used in making this decision.
If we deny you access to any record or part of a record, 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.
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How long does the request process take?
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 majority of requests are processed within 30 business days of us receiving your request.
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Will I get everything that I ask for?
Depending on what you ask for, you may not get access to all information contained within the records that respond to your request.
The Act includes several specific exemptions to disclosure, which means that, by law, certain types of records and information is to be protected and not made available to the public. Some exemptions are mandatory while others are exercised at the discretion of the FOI Head (as defined in our Freedom of Information Bylaw No. 611 and Amendment Bylaw No. 1276) based on the relevant circumstances surrounding the request.
For example, reasons for refusing access to information held by the RDCO are generally related to the protection of:
- personal privacy;
- businesses trade secrets or unit pricing;
- solicitor-client privilege;
- deliberations of Board 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 RDCO or other public body.
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 RDCO responds to your FOI request, you have the right to ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia to review the RDCO's response.
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How is my personal information protected?
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 RDCO, 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 is 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:
The 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. We have security arrangements to protect personal information from unauthorized use or disclosure.
For example, if you make a bylaw enforcement complaint, we ask for your personal information (name, address, telephone number) in order for us to keep you informed of our handling of your complaint. As a complainant, your personal information is protected and is not made public. The only time that your identity as a complainant would be disclosed to another public body is to comply with Court proceedings.
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