Submit an information or privacy request
On this page
- Who is eligible for this service
- Informal requests
- What you need before you start
- Submit your request
- Assistance with your request
- How long it will take to process your application
- Incomplete or missing information
- Complaints investigations
- Related links
Who is eligible for this service
Canadian citizens, permanent residents and people with an address in Canada have the right to request information or privacy reports. Corporations, businesses and organizations with a Canadian presence have the right to make an Access to Information request.
Canadians living abroad are required to provide proof of citizenship. If you don’t fall into these categories, you may have an eligible individual submit a request on your behalf.
The information you want can often be obtained informally simply by asking the government department.
Informal requests for information are direct lines of communication between departmental programs and the public. They’re the initial channel to receive departmental information.
Asking if the information is available informally can spare the time and cost of a formal procedure. To direct your informal information request, contact our communications office:
- Telephone: 613-993-0999
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What you need before you start
To make a formal request under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act, you’ll need to send a signed letter (with all required consent forms attached) using the request form below or complete the Access to Information Request online form.
You’ll also need to pay the $5 application fee. The fee is payable by VISA, Mastercard, money order or cheque payable to the Receiver General of Canada. There are no fees for privacy requests.
There are no fees for Privacy requests.
DFO has records relating to the development and implementation of policies and programs in support of Canada’s scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters. Specific details are illustrated in our annual Info Source publication.
If you believe another government institution may have the information you want, this page lists all federal government institutions and the information they hold.
Completing your request form
Concise and specific requests help reduce delays, costs and volume.
Avoid asking for all the information on a subject unless you really want it all. Narrowing your request will produce faster results. If possible, provide a concise date range and identify the key individuals or offices from which you wish to receive records.
You don’t need to explain why you’re asking for the information, but it may help staff find just the material you’re looking for. It may be possible to review the material yourself and to select only what interests you.
Be sure to include your phone number on your request and ask the department to call you for any necessary clarification.
Submit your request
You can submit access to information or personal information requests through the Access to Information and Privacy Online Request Service.
Mail your request
To mail in a formal Access to Information or Privacy request, complete your own signed written letter or use one of our forms:
Include your postal code and email address in your request.
Access to Information and Privacy Secretariat
200 Kent St
Ottawa ON K1A 0E6
Assistance with your request
Contact us for further clarification or if you’d like help with your request.
How long it will take to process your application
Departments have 30 calendar days to respond to formal requests. The time limit doesn’t apply to informal requests.
The institution is entitled to have more time if a lengthy or complex search is required to locate the information. You’ll be notified of any need to extend the time limit.
Call or write the department if you receive no response within a reasonable period of time after the 30-day time limit has elapsed.
Incomplete or missing information
The ATIP legislation allows for (or requires) the protection of certain types of information. Blacked out or severed portions of a release package indicates this type of information has been protected.
If your release package doesn’t contain all of the records you were expecting, it may be because the records:
- don’t exist
- existed but have been destroyed in accordance with their retention and disposition schedule
If you require further explanation or have additional questions, contact the analyst responsible for processing your request.
The Information Commissioner investigates complaints about how federal institutions process and respond to requests under the Access to Information Act, Canada’s freedom of information legislation. The Commissioner provides arms-length oversight of the federal government’s access to information practices, working with institutions to ensure they meet their obligations under the Act. The Commissioner has a full range of tools, activities and powers which are negotiating with complainants and institutions without the need for formal investigations, and making formal recommendations and/or issuing order to resolve matters at the conclusion of investigations.
Privacy Notice Statement
Personal information is collected under the authority of the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act for the purposes of:
- Administering the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act; and
- Processing and responding to formal and informal requests.
Personal information may also be used:
- During consultations with other government institutions;
- During investigations by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC), the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) and Ad hoc Commissioners responsible for investigations within the OIC and OPC; and
- During court reviews.
Aggregate information, which does not identify individuals, is used to report to Parliament on the administration of the Acts. Non-personal information may be used to provide reports on Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) activities to management, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and other institutions. Information may also be used for research, planning, audit and evaluation purposes.
In some cases, information may be disclosed without an individual's consent for purposes authorized under subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act.
Failure to provide sufficient information may preclude the processing of your Access to Information or Privacy Act request.
Personal information is protected in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act. The Act also gives individuals the right of access to and correction of their personal information. Details on these matters are outlined in the foreword section of Info Source.
Individuals given access to their personal information under the Privacy Act are entitled to:
- Request correction of the personal information where the individual believes there is an error or omission therein; and
- Require that a notation be attached to the information reflecting any correction requested but not made.
If you wish to avail yourself of this right, or if you require clarification about this notice, please contact the ATIP Director.
The personal information collected is described in Personal Information Bank PSU 901, Access to Information and Privacy, and will be retained for a minimum of two (2) years from the last administrative action on the file.
For more information on privacy issues and the Privacy Act in general, please consult the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
- DFO Info Source
- Privacy Impact Assessments Summaries
- Privacy notice for Government of Canada institutions
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