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Access to Information and Records


Access to information under FIPPA includes individuals’ right to access and request correction of personal information about themselves held by a public body. This would include records that contain medical information, such as a medical file created and stored in a hospital, or academic or healthcare records at a university. These records pertain to, and are released to the individual requesting them.

Access to information also includes providing the public with access to the records held by public bodies other than those containing only the information of the individual requesting them. In this situation, a person is requesting general records of the public body and all personal information is redacted from the records before they are produced.

To review, Records include: books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers, papers and any other thing on which information is recorded or stored by graphic, electronic, mechanical or other means, but does not include a computer program or any other mechanism that produces records. They include e-mails (whether work-related or not), file notes, meeting notes, written and audio recorded phone messages, calendars, memos, handwritten notes, journals, sticky notes, photographs, videos, sound recordings and text messages.

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Privacy/Access Best Practices Guide Link

Requests for information contained in records at VIU fall into two categories

Requests for records that contain only information pertaining to the person making the request are called Personal Information Records Requests. Faculty and staff should make every reasonable effort to respond to these routine requests. Examples include payroll, HR, academic/transcript or health and wellness recordsLearn more about the process for making Personal Information Records Requests.

Requests for records that may contain confidential or sensitive information and which contain information pertaining to individuals other than that of the requestor (such as general records of the University) are commonly referred to as Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests. The FIPPA requires VIU to release requested records, subject to limited exceptions. Learn more about the process for making Freedom of Information requests.