Freedom of Information
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is legislated under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to give the public a right of access to records.
What Information can I request to access?
You have the right to request access to any records in the custody or under the control of the RDOS including a record that contains your own personal information.
A record is defined in the Act as 'books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers, papers 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'.
How do I make a request for access for information?
Information can be requested either informally through a routine request, or formally through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
Before making a formal request for information, you should see if the information you are seeking is available through informal means. Routine requests for information should be made to the department that you believe has the information.
If you are unable to retrieve the information through a routine request you may make an FOI request for records under the Act. To obtain access to a record you must make your request in writing. You may use our FOI Request Form, but you are not required to use the form to make a formal request. Written requests can be made in the following manner:
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By fax: (250) 492-0063
- By standard mail or in person: Freedom of Information Coordinator
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
101 Martin Street
Penticton, BC V2A 5J9
Make a Freedom of Information Request
Click here for the FOI request form.
Will there be a fee?
Under section 75 of the Act, the RDOS may require you to pay a fee. If we determine that there will be a fee we will send you a fee estimate before processing your request.
The RDOS will not charge fees for:
- Access to your own personal information
- The first three (3) hours spent searching for and retrieving records
- The amount of time spent severing information from a record
In accordance with the Act the maximum fees are:
- $7.50 per quarter hour after the first 3 hours for locating, retrieving and producing the record;
- $7.50 per quarter hour for preparing the record for disclosure;
- Actual costs for shipping and handling the records;
- $0.10 a page for copying a record.
It is important to keep the scope of your request as specific as possible to avoid incurring a fee and to make it easier for staff to respond to your request.
How long will it take to process my request?
The RDOS must respond to your request for information within 30 business days of receiving your request. Most requests can be responded to within the 30 business day time frame, however, if the scope of the request is broad and the volume of records is large, the RDOS may require a time extension under section 10 of the Act for an additional 30 business days.
A response to a request may also take longer than 30 business days if the responsive records contain third party information. Under section 23 of the Act, the RDOS must notify the third party that a request has been made if responsive records contain information the disclosure of which may affect their interests or invade their personal privacy. The RDOS must provide the third party with 20 business days to make written representation on whether they consent or object to the disclosure of the information.
Will I get all the information that I asked for?
Although the Act allows the public to request access to records in the custody or control of the RDOS, the Act also prescribes very specific and limited exceptions to disclosure. These exceptions include:
- Someone else's personal information;
- Deliberations of the Board and Board Committees that are authorized to be held in the absence of the public (i.e. Closed or 'In Camera" meetings);
- Advice or recommendations developed by or for the RDOS;
- Legal advice;
- Information that could harm law enforcement (including bylaw enforcement matters)
- Information that could harm the economic or financial interests of the RDOS or another public body;
- Information that could harm the safety of an individual or the public;
- Information that could harm a third party's business interests.
The RDOS will redact information that is exempted under the Act in order to provide the remainder of the record. If you are unsatisfied with the response to your request you have the right to request a review to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia by writing to:
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
P.O. Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, BC V8W 9A4
Tel. (250) 387-5629
Fax (250) 387-1696
For more information, please contact:
Manager of Legislative Services