Answering Frequently Asked Questions
What is a record?
- Section 2(J) of LA FOIP define a record as “a record of information in any form and includes information that is written, photographed, recorded or stored in any manner, but does not include computer programs or other mechanisms that produce records”.
What kind of information can I request from the City of Saskatoon and what is the process? What if I decide to cancel my request?
- You as the Applicant, can ask for any record you think the City of Saskatoon has in its custody or possession, ask for information concerning you, or have a representative submit an access to information request on your behalf.
- The identities of Applicants are generally considered personal information and are not disclosed to a City employee tasked with actually searching for and locating the information requested (except when the individual is seeking access to their own personal information).
- Once the initial review has been conducted, the Access and Privacy Officer will send out a call for records. Department staff assigned to your request will search for the responsive records. If your request is particularly complex or asks for a large number of records or third-party information, we may extend the initial 30 days.
- The City Clerk’s Office will make the decision to either release the requested records entirely, in part, or to deny access to them. This decision is based on the provisions of the Act.
- If you as the applicant communicates to the Access and Privacy Officer that you are no longer seeking access to the requested information, your request can be considered “withdrawn.”
Please note: some requests for information contain the personal information of others and therefore can only be released with the consent of that individual.
What does 'Under the Control' or 'Possession' mean?
- Under the Control means having the authority to administer the use or disclosure of a record. Custody means having physical possession of a record.
How should I word my Access to Information (ATI) request?
- When submitting your ATI request, please include a detailed description of the records or information you are seeking, and for what time period. Please specify the different record formats such as paper records (e.g. drawings), electronic records (e.g. letters, reports, emails, chat messages), or multimedia records (e.g. photographs). Please specify any reference or file number, dates, date ranges, agency or institution names, program or service names, reports names, record types etc.
Important: The duty to assist provision does not require the City Clerk’s Office to:
- Create documents if they do not exist (for example, transcriptions of a telephone conversation);
- Provide a technical explanation (for example, explaining the principles of engineering to help the Applicant understand a report);
- Provide a legal interpretation of the information in records;
- Disclose the nature or content of records that are withheld or that are not responsive to the request; and/or
- Give an opinion or judgment that is not already recorded.
How soon will I receive my requested record, when will work start on my request - and is there any express service?
- Where a request is straightforward you should receive an answer within 30 days. The Act and/or the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner permits additional time to process more complex requests or large numbers of documents. Any time extensions will be provided to you in writing.
- The Access and Privacy Officer may deem a request abandoned if the applicant fails to respond within 30 days to a written request for additional information necessary to process the request, or for payment of a fee.
- Before work starts on your request, the Access and Privacy Officer may contact you to discuss your request. This conversation will help the Access and Privacy Officer understand what you are requesting. Work cannot begin on your request until the scope of your request is clear. Please ensure that you provide a telephone number or email address where we can reach you if need be.
- There is no express service - we process requests for information in the order that they are received. A clearly defined request with a narrow scope will assist the Access and Privacy Officer in responding to your request as quickly as possible.
Will I receive all the information I have requested, everything I want?
No, not necessarily, a few different outcomes can happen:
- City Clerk’s Office will transfer the request to another local authority or a government institution if another local authority or a government institution has a greater interest in the record, within 15 days of receiving your request;
- City Clerk’s Office will specify that no such record(s) exist;
- The record(s) will be fully disclosed;
- The record(s) will be denied in full (e.g. information will be published within 90 days); or
- The record(s) will be redacted.
Decisions concerning disclosure must be based on the content of the documents and the law alone, not upon who has asked for the information. The City Clerk's Office will provide you with an explanation as to. For example:
- Personal privacy
- Legal privileges
- Deliberations, advice, consultation, or draft regulations not yet made public
- Business interests of a third party or business trade secret
- Information that may harm a law enforcement matter (this includes bylaw enforcement matters)
- Information that may harm the financial or economic interests of the City
What about court proceedings, can I receive transcripts?
- These records can only be released by the City if it is within the City’s possession or custody when the request has been made under the Act. Remember: A transcription of the bylaw court proceedings regarding an Animal Control Occurrence, as an example, should be directed to Transcript Services (Government of Saskatchewan) - https://sasklawcourts.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Transcript_Order_Form_Revised_2021.pdf.
Does the City of Saskatoon publish Access to Information (ATI) requests that have been processed?
- At this time, the City of Saskatoon does not publish summaries of completed ATIs, nor are the results of individual ATIs available on our website.