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Town responds to 13 FOI requests in 2022

By Randy Thoms Mar 19, 2023 | 10:01 PM

Fort Frances Civic Centre. Image: Randy Thoms

The town of Fort Frances is revealing details about freedom of information requests it responded to last year.

The town is obligated to file a report every year to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC), but this is the first time such detail has been made public,

There were 12 requests, with another made to the town that was handed off to another organization to respond.

Seven of the requests came from individual members of the public, four were made by agents or representatives, with two others from the media.

Town clerk Gabrielle Lecuyer says what is most notable is a shift in what is requested.

“What we’re seeing now is the shift of what’s happened is more requests are incoming, not so much on our records because a lot of it is already there. You’re receiving requests for email activity. We’re also seeing things like legal professionals, maybe as a means to start litigations, lawsuits with different institutions,” notes Lecuyer.

Eleven of the requests were completed within the legislated time limit of thirty days.

Fees were collected in seven of twelve cases.

Lecuyer notes that the fees charged are mostly legislated and don’t recoup the full cost of fulfilling the request.

“As an example, to file an MFIPPA (Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) request it’ll cost you $5 search time. We are prescribed by legislation in terms of what we can charge. So we can only charge $7.50 for every quarter of search time. Same amount, $7.50, to prepare records, printouts when we’re printing records. Twenty cents per page. We can’t even charge what’s in our fees and charges. By law, we have to follow legislation. So when we say, are we recouping cost? We’re not.”

Lecuyer notes the legislation being followed is 30 years old and doesn’t reflect recent technological changes and municipal obligations when it comes to record keeping.


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