Access to Records

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act  (the "Act") extends information and privacy rights to the Municipality of North Cowichan. The principles of the Act are to provide a balance between access and protection:

  • the public has the right to access government information
  • individuals have the right to have their personal information protected

What does the Act cover?

  • all records in North Cowichan's custody and control

Methods to Access Records

1. Routinely Available Records

Much information is handled through the normal release of information, usually by front-line staff (but not personal information). Information provided through routine channels includes answers to general questions related to departmental and governmental operations.  

There is a fee for physical copies of Routinely Available Records provided in accordance with the Fees Bylaw [PDF - 826 KB].

Routinely available records include:

  • Agendas of open Council, Committee and Board Meetings
  • Annual Reports
  • Bid Results
  • Brochures, information pamphlets
  • Budgets
  • Building and Development Statistics Reports
  • Business Licences 
  • Bylaws
  • Collective Agreements
  • Documents approved by Council
  • Job Postings
  • Election Results, Nominations Papers
  • Expense Accounts
  • Financial Statements
  • Financial Disclosure Forms
  • Permits issued, including: Development, Development Variance, Driveway, Highway Construction, Soil Removal/Deposit, Temporary Use
  • Forestry Audits
  • Forestry Quarterly Report
  • Garbage Pickup Schedule
  • Information Bulletins
  • Instruction Sheets
  • Leases, Licences of Occupation
  • Legal Plans (with copyright stamp)
  • Maps
  • Master Drainage Study
  • Minutes of open Council, Committee and Board meetings
  • Multi-Family Design Guidelines
  • OCP Planning Analyses
  • Organizational Charts
  • Petitions to Council (personal information removed)
  • Policies
  • Property Tax Notices (by address only, personal information removed)
  • Public Hearing and Public Meeting Information Packages, and records received at the meeting
  • Reports and records considered at open Council, Committee and Board meetings
  • Rights-of-Way (with copyright stamp)
  • Road List
  • Road Maintenance
  • Service Cards
  • SOFI (Remuneration and Expense) report
  • Strategic Plan
  • Subdivision - Preliminary Layout Approvals, Approved Plans

2.  Streamlined Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests

Where the request is for records related to property you own, or you have written permission from the current property owner to receive copies of the records, Development Services staff can assist in providing these records through an approved streamlined FOI process.  

The request may be made by email or at the Development Services counter, and the exemptions to disclosure in the Act apply.  Photocopy fees are $.25 per b/w page, $1.65 per colour page and $6 per page for plans and maps as set out in the Fees Bylaw [PDF - 826 KB].

3. Formal Freedom Of Information (FOI) Requests

Formal FOI requests made under the Act provide a method of seeking access to information that is not otherwise available through the routine or streamlined channels.  Although our philosophy is to release this government information wherever possible, the Act sets out a series of mandatory and discretionary "exceptions to disclosure" against which the records must be reviewed and upon which the Municipality's decision will be based.

An FOI request must be made in writing.  You may complete the Request for Access to Records [PDF - 842 KB] form, email FOI@northcowichan.ca or send a letter addressed to the Information Management Division (7030 Trans Canada Highway, Duncan, BC V9L 6A1).  The request must be for records in North Cowichan's custody and control and have sufficient detail to assist staff in processing the request.

Fees

The fees set out in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Regulation apply. If there are costs involved in processing the request, you will be provided with a written fee estimate before the application is fully processed. There is no charge for your own personal information.

Form

Request for Access to Records [PDF - 843 KB]

Processing Information

If you have any questions, please contact the Information Management Division at (250) 746-3189 or email foi@northcowichan.ca.

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