Freedom of information requests
Complete and sign an Access to Information Request Form and submit it along with the required $5.00 application fee to the Freedom of Information, Privacy and Records Management Office.
Before you file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, please review what records are already publicly available on our website, by visiting AboutMyProperty or by contacting our Customer Contact Centre.
What is an FOI request
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) provides the right to access records that are in the custody or control of Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
Anyone may file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. The MFIPPA provides the right to access in accordance with the principles that:
- Records of public institutions should be available to the public;
- Exemptions to the right of access are limited and specific;
- Individuals have the right to access and to correct their own personal information; and,
- Decision regarding the right of access are independently reviewed.
With some exceptions, we must legally respond to an FOI request within 30 days after it is received. Although an FOI request may be made for any record, normally requests are for records that are not already publicly available as part of our standard information disclosure methods.
Personal information is only released to the person whom the information is about, their authorized agents, or where the law otherwise permits or requires it. Also, MPAC does not release actual income, expense, or third party information except where allowed or required by law, such as in response to production obligations of the Assessment Review Board (ARB), courts or quasi/judicial tribunals.
Before you file an FOI request
We strongly believe in transparency. As part of our routine business disclosures under our Guidelines for the Release of Assessment Data (GRAD Policy), we already make available various information, documents, reports and other material to property owners and their authorized representatives at no cost. These records provide assessment details about their property, comparable properties, show how a property’s assessed value was determined, market model information, including records that detail the various factors involved in a property’s assessment.
How to file an FOI request
Follow these steps to make a request for access to MPAC records under Ontario’s MFIPPA law.
Step 1: Determine what records you want to request
The MFIPPA provides access to existing records and does not obligate the creation of a new record or to answering questions. Consequently, the record that you are seeking must exist and be identifiable.
Before submitting an FOI Request, make sure you know what records you are seeking. The MFIPPA requires that a request include sufficient detail to allow our staff to locate the record that is being sought. If necessary, for assistance in identifying what records may exist, contact our Customer Contact Centre or the Freedom of Information, Privacy and Records Management Office.
Records that contain confidential, third party or personal information are subject to exemptions under the MFIPPA and may only be released to those whom the information relates. We are also prohibited from disclosing proprietary information of a commercial nature and actual income and expense information on an individual property.
Step 2: Submit a formal FOI request
Complete and sign an Access to Information Request Form and submit it along with the required $5.00 application fee to the Freedom of Information, Privacy and Records Management Office. The fee is payable by credit card, personal cheque or bank draft. Do not send cash.
Requests received by electronic mail may not be processed until receipt of the original signed form and the application fee.
When describing what records you are seeking, please be clear and identify dates or time-periods. A clearly defined request that is specific and with narrow scope will greatly assist staff to locate and retrieve the record, and respond to your request quickly.
Under the MFIPPA, a person seeking access to a record is required to provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced MPAC employee, with a reasonable effort, to identify the record that is sought. Contact the Freedom of Information, Privacy and Records Management Office if you require assistance.
Step 3: Await MPAC’s response
The MFIPPA requires us to provide a decision in response to an FOI Request within thirty (30) days from the date that a request is received complete. This time limit may be extended under certain circumstances.
When your request is received, we will send you an acknowledgement letter. If applicable, we will also notify you during the course of processing your request of any time extensions or fees that may apply.
We will issue an access decision within the appropriate timeframe. Records that contain exemption information (information that cannot be disclosed) may be withheld entirely or be "severed", and such portions will be redacted or blacked-out. If there are exemptions, the decision letter will explain in detail the exemptions that have been applied, the applicable MFIPPA section number, and give reasons.
Section 45 of the MFIPPA provides that fees are to be charged in respect to the work involved in processing FOI Requests. If fees are applicable, the records will be provided to you when all fees have been paid. Please refer to “Fees” below for more information about fees.
If the record you seek contains your personal information and we lack sufficient detail to verify your identity, we reserve the right to ask you to present yourself in person at one of our business offices with government issued photo ID before the record is released to you.
If upon receiving an access decision letter you are not satisfied with the level of disclosure, the MFIPPA affords you thirty days (30) from the date of our decision letter to file an appeal with Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner. The decision letter will include details on how to file an appeal, including applicable fees, what must be included with the appeal filing and the address that the appeal is to be delivered.
Persons making an FOI Request are required under the MFIPPA to pay fees for the work involved in processing their request. If fees apply to your request, you may have to provide a deposit and/or a final payment before you are given access to the record. Payment can be made by credit card, cheque, or money order payable to the “Municipal Property Assessment Corporation”. Please do not send cash.
The fees are specified in Ontario Regulation 823 under the MFIPPA, and we are not permitted to vary, change or otherwise alter these amounts. The fees are as follows:
- Search time is $7.50 per 15 minutes
- Preparation for disclosure is $7.50 per 15 minutes
- Computer program development is $15 per 15 minutes
- Photocopies and computer printouts are 20¢ per page
- CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs or diskettes are $10 per disk
- Shipping is charged at actual cost
- Other reasonable and necessary expenses are charged at actual cost
The MFIPPA also provides that all or part of a fee may be waived if it is fair and equitable to do so, if the fee will cause financial hardship or if the dissemination of the record will benefit public health or safety.
Requests for a fee waiver must be made in writing and include reasons and, if applicable, appropriate supporting documentation. All information provided will be held in confidence by MPAC, and accessed and used only by Freedom of Information, Privacy and Records Management staff who are assigned to the request file to evaluate eligibility for a waiver in accordance with the criteria set out in the MFIPPA.
If you have questions or require assistance on filing an FOI Request or if you have a privacy related matter, please contact:
Freedom of Information, Privacy and Records Management
Legal, Policy and Compliance
Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
1340 Pickering Parkway
Pickering ON L1V 0C4
Telephone: 905 837-6188
Toll Free: 1 877 635-6722
Fax: 905 837-6146