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Access to Information Act and Privacy Acts

Updated January 2019

The Access to Information Act (ATIA) gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents, individuals present in Canada, and corporations located in Canada the right to have access to information in federal government records that are not of a personal nature. The Act protects information that could be expected to injure private or public interests. If the information is not exempt, excluded, or of a personal nature, the federal government must let requesters see it or give them a copy.

The Privacy Act (PA) gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents and individuals present in Canada certain rights with respect to personal information about themselves held by federal institutions. The law also protects specific types of personal information, prevents others from having access to your personal information, and gives you substantial control over its collection, use and disclosure. The Privacy Act does not give you access to personal information about another individual.

How to Contact the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator

Debbie Stenson

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator

Canada Council for the Arts

150 Elgin St. P.O. Box 1047

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5V8

E-mail: atip-aiprp@canadacouncil.ca

Telephone : 613-566-4414, ext. 4696

Toll free: 1-800-263-5588, ext. 4696 or

Fax: (613) 566-4390

TTY : 1-866-585-5559 (toll free)

Most information is available.

Proof may be required to show that you have the right to make a request:

  • Canadian citizenship, such as a copy of your passport or citizenship certificate;
  • your status as a permanent resident, such as a copy of your permanent resident card; or
  • temporary status in Canada, such as a work, study and/or visitor permit.

Both Acts allow for a legal response time of 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of an official request. However, this period may be extended for limited and specific reasons identified in the Acts. For instance, extensions may be taken if:

  • the request is for a large number of records or necessitates a search through a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the government institution;
  • consultations are necessary to comply with the request that cannot be completed within the original time limit; or
  • additional time is necessary for translation purposes or for converting personal information into an alternative format.

Privacy Act

Individuals can obtain their personal information under the Privacy Act. Specify the personal information you are seeking:

  • dates;
  • subject; and
  • type of information, etc.

The more precise your request, the faster it can be answered. Be specific enough so that the information can be retrieved.

Personal Information Request Form [PDF, 244.9 KB]

To obtain the personal information belonging to someone else, you must submit their written consent authorizing you to receive their personal information. Complete and submit the Consent Form to Disclose Personal Information to a Designated Third Party [PDF, 211.9 KB].

Access to Information Act

To make a request, complete the Access to Information Request Form [PDF, 246.8 KB] or, send a dated and signed letter with the following information:

  • a statement, indicating that you are making a request under the ATIA
  • as specific a description as possible of the records to which you seek access. You may consult  Info Source for a description of records held by the Canada Council;
  • your name, address and telephone numbers.

Enclose a $5.00 application fee payable to "Canada Council for the Arts".

Requests made under the Act may be transferable to a federal institution with greater interest under certain circumstances.

Informal Access request

You may search and informally request records that were released by the Canada Council in response to requests made under the Access to Information Act. Records requested informally will be disclosed as they were previously released under the Access to Information Act, including format, language and any exemptions or exclusions that were applied at the time of release.

No fees are charged for informal requests. The statutory right to complain to the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada does not extend to informal requests.

In processing your access request under the Access to Information Act, the Canada Council will:

  1. Process your request without regard to your identity.
  2. Make a reasonable effort to assist with the request.
  3. Inform you if your request needs to be clarified.
  4. Make reasonable efforts to locate and retrieve the requested records.
  5. Apply limited and specific exemptions to the requested records.
  6. Provide accurate and complete responses.
  7. Provide timely access to the requested information.
  8. Provide records in the format and official language requested, as appropriate.
  9. Provide an appropriate location within the Canada Council’s offices to examine the requested information

Visit the Office of the Information Commissioner's website for information on your rights under the Access to Information Act.

You may initiate a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner about any matter related to your Access to Information request. A complaint must be made within 60 days from the date that you received a response to your request. There is no cost to you for the investigation of a complaint. Complaints must be submitted in writing to:

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
30 Victoria St.
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3

Visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner website for a summary of your rights under the Privacy Act.

You may initiate a complaint about any matter related to your Privacy Act request. You may also initiate a complaint if you believe that a government institution has not respected your privacy rights. Complaints must be submitted in writing to:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3

The Annual Report on the administration of the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act at the Canada Council for the Arts describes how the Council discharged its responsibilities, including successes and challenges, in relation to the Acts in a given fiscal year. These reports are prepared in accordance with Section 72 of the Access to Information Act, and in accordance with Section 72 of the Privacy Act.

Annual Reports on the Administration of the Access to Information Act

Annual Reports on the Administration of the Privacy Act