As a public body, Smoky Lake County is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). Under this Act, Smoky Lake County strives to balance the public’s right to access information and an individual’s right to privacy.
A number of public records are available online for free, without making a request under the Act. These records include bylaws, council agendas and minutes for the current year and previous years, land use maps, and area structure plans.
To determine whether you need to make a request under the Act, or if you need help completing the form call 780-656-3730.
There are two types of requests:
1. Personal Information Requests – Occur when an individual requests access to personal information about themselves. Typical examples of personal information requests include a person requesting access to their own counselling records or records of employment with the County. Personal information requests do not require payment of the initial fee, however fees may be charged for photocopying large volumes of records.
2. General Information Requests – Occur when an individual or corporate entity request access to general information about something. Typical examples of general information requests include an insurance company requesting access to a fire investigation report, a member of the public requesting access to information related to a bylaw enforcement matter, or an interest group requesting access to information about expenditures. General information requests require the payment of an initial fee of $25, and in some cases, additional fees may be assessed.
How to make a FOIP request
Requests for copies of Municipal documents or a file review are made in writing using the Access to Information (FOIP) Request Form. The request can be submitted in person, by mail, email or fax to the Smoky Lake County Main Office.
Smoky Lake County, FOIP Coordinator
4612 McDougall Drive
PO Box 922
Smoky Lake, AB T0A 3C0
The following information must be completed on the form:
- Name, address, phone number and email address of the requestor/ applicant
- Sufficient detailed information of the requested information to identify the public record
- Date of submission of the request
The following fees apply to a majority of access requests and are in accordance with the FOIP Act Fees Schedule.
- There is an initial $25.00 charge for a non-continuing request, or a $50.00 fee for a continuing request. The only exception is a request for your own personal information. There is no fee for requesting your own personal information. The $25.00 fee must be submitted along with the request for information. Payment can be made by cash, cheque or debit card. Processing of a request will not commence until the initial fee has been paid.
- Black and white copies on standard letter paper are 25 cents per page.
- Mailing includes actual cost of postage and shipping container.
- Other media will incur actual cost of materials.
- Large requests may require advance payment. Should the cost of time and materials estimated to complete a specific request accrue to $150.00 or more, an estimate invoice will be provided to the applicant. The applicant must provide a deposit of 50 per cent of the estimated final cost of the file search in order for the request to proceed. These may also require a time extension to complete the request.
- Other fees as adopted by Smoky Lake County may be applicable.
Within five (5) business days of the receipt of the request, Smoky Lake County will do one or more of the following: (Note: The five days begin one working day after receipt of the request.)
- Acknowledge receipt of request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records will be available.
- Seek clarification of unclear requests.
Within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the request, Smoky Lake County will do one or more of the following:
- Provide an estimate invoice if the time and material charges required to complete the request are greater than $150.00. If the fee estimate is over $150.00, a 50 per cent deposit must be paid.
- Deny the request with explanation of denial.
- Provide a copy of the records as requested in total or with information severed (removed), and the reason for the removal, if appropriate.
- Make an appointment for the applicant to review the record as requested.
All records will be released if they do not fall within the specific exemptions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other statutes which exempt or prohibit disclosure of specific information or records.
Exemptions and Denials
Following are a few common reasons why a record may be exempt from disclosure or denied:
- Common exemption: The municipality does not disclose lists of individuals for commercial purposes such as real estate circulars, renovation contractors, etc.
- Third-party notification: Requested records that contain information that may affect the rights of others may be exempt from disclosure. The Public Information Officer may give notice to others whose rights may be affected by the disclosure, prior to providing the records. The applicant’s personal information is kept confidential and not revealed to the third party.
- Withdrawn or abandoned requests: When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfil their obligations to inspect the records, pay the deposit, or make final payment within 30 days for the requested copies, the Public Information Officer will close the request and notify the requestor the request has been closed.