The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”) applies to local government organizations, including municipalities, police, school boards, boards of health, conservation authorities, etc.

Its two main purposes are:

  1. to provide a right of access to information held by institutions covered by the Act (subject to limited and specific exemptions); and
  2. to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information held by government institutions.

The Department of Corporate Services administers the Act on behalf of the County of Oxford.


Any person can make a request for access to records. In most cases, it is not necessary to submit a formal written request under the MFIPPA.

How to make a request to access information

Any person can make a request for access to records.
In most cases, it is not necessary to submit a formal written request under the MFIPPA. Requests for information can generally be made by contacting the appropriate department directly, either by phone, e-mail or in person.

If the requested records do not fall under one of the mandatory or discretionary exemptions listed in the Act, the department may simply release the record. This concept is known as “routine disclosure”. Likewise, in the absence of a request, select classes of records may be released whenever the public interest is likely to be engaged and no exemption applies. This concept is known as “active dissemination”.

Some examples of records currently being disseminated in the absence of a request are council agendas, council minutes, and financial reports. These records are posted on the County website.

What if my request requires significant effort or is not publicly available?

In the event a request pertains to records which are not generally made public, or if a response would involve significant search and/or preparation time, the requester will be directed to submit a formal request under the MFIPPA and in accordance with the County of Oxford’s Access and Privacy Policy No. 8.9.

What is the formal procedure for accessing information?

The procedure for formally accessing information under the Act is as follows:

  • All requests are to be made in writing and forwarded to the attention of the Legislative Services Coordinator, Department of Corporate Services, County of Oxford, 21 Reeve Street, P.O. Box 1614, Woodstock, Ontario, N4S 7Y3.
  • A Freedom of Information Request Form 8.9A is available for use by the public, but a simple letter will suffice as long as it specifies that a request is being made under the Act.
  • The requester must provide sufficient detail to enable the Legislative Services Coordinator, upon a reasonable effort, to identify the requested record(s).
  • If the request is for access to or correction of personal information, a photocopy of some form of photo identification bearing a signature is required in order to assist in verifying the identity of the requester.

What does it cost?

As prescribed by regulation, a $5.00 application fee must accompany the request. The request is not active until the requester pays the fee. Depending on the nature of the request and the volume of records requested, there may be additional mandated fees under the Act.

For example, there is a photocopying charge of $0.20/page that is prescribed by regulation. Fee estimates will be given if anticipated fees are $25.00 or more. If the estimate is over $100.00, a 50% deposit will be required prior to processing the request any further.

How long will the process take?

The Act requires that the municipality issue a decision letter within 30 days of receipt of the request. This means that the County must either grant access to the requested record(s) or notify the individual that access is denied under a specific provision in the Act along with an explanation of how the provision applies.

In certain situations, a time extension beyond the 30 days may be in order.

How to correct your personal information

Pursuant to Section 36 (2) of the Act, an individual has the right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of their own personal information held by the County if the individual believes there is an error or omission. If it is demonstrated that an individual’s personal information is outdated, incomplete or inaccurate, it will be severed from the record and corrected by staff.

If there is a dispute about the currency, completeness or accuracy of the information in the record, the requester may attach an explanatory note or statement of disagreement to the information reflecting any correction that was requested but not made. If this is not satisfactory, the requester has the right to appeal.

Any questions?

Contact the Legislative Services Coordinator, Department of Corporate Services at 21 Reeve Street, P.O. Box 1614, Woodstock, ON, N4S 7Y3 or (519) 539-9800 (ext. 3017) or 1-800-755-0394 or

To protect the privacy of clients, tenants, patients and employees of the County of Oxford, the MFIPPA places certain restrictions on the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.

Both the internal sharing of information within the organization and the external sharing of information outside of the organization is limited by the Act.

  • Section 32 of the Act provides that an institution shall not share personal information in its custody or under its control except:
  • with the consent of the individual to whom the information relates (for an individual who is a minor, seriously ill or mentally incapacitated, consent may be obtained from a legal guardian or power of attorney);
  • for the purpose for which it was obtained or for a consistent purpose;
  • if the disclosure is made to another County employee who needs the information in the performance of his/her work duties (employees do not have an automatic right to access personal information by virtue of their employment in a certain department or program);
  • for the purpose of complying with any statute;
  • if disclosure is to a law enforcement agency to aid an investigation;
  • in compelling or compassionate circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual or to facilitate contact with the spouse, close relative or friend of an individual who is injured, ill or deceased; or
  • to the provincial or federal government in order to facilitate the auditing of shared cost programs.

Complaints or inquiries about the County’s privacy policies and/or practices relating to the handling of personal information should be directed to the Legislative Services Coordinator who will investigate all complaints. If you are still not satisfied, you have the right to Appeal.

Is there an appeal process?

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (“IPC”) is an impartial body that reports to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, but acts independently of the government of the day. The IPC is charged with the task of upholding and promoting open government and the protection of personal privacy in Ontario.

In accordance with Section 39 of the MFIPPA, a requester has the right to appeal the County’s access/correction decision to the IPC if not satisfied with the result. Requesters may appeal most actions involved in responding to a request including refusals to give access, fees and time limits.

Where do I send my appeal?

You may request the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review this decision within thirty days from the date of the decision letter. You can do so by filing an appeal online at The appeal fee is $25.00 (for general record requests) or $10.00 (for personal information requests). Alternatively, appeals can still be mailed with a cheque or money order payable to “Minister of Finance” to: Registrar, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, M4W 1A8.

How much will is cost?

An appeal fee of $10.00 for personal information requests and $25.00 for all other requests must accompany the letter of appeal, and the appeal must be submitted within 30 days of receipt of the County’s decision letter.

Likewise, an individual who feels that his/her privacy has been breached because personal information was improperly disclosed by the County may, without charge, file a complaint with the IPC.

Contact Information

For more information about access and privacy at the County of Oxford, see Access and Privacy Policy No. 8.9 or contact the Legislative Services Coordinator, Department of Corporate Services at 21 Reeve Street, P.O. Box 1614, Woodstock, ON, N4S 7Y3 or (519) 539-9800 (ext. 3017) or 1-800-755-0394 or