This downloaded copy is unofficial. Check www.mun.ca/policy for the official version.

Memorial University of Newfoundland

  Memorial University of Newfoundland

Information Request

Approval Date: 2010-05-13

Effective Date: 2013-04-09

Review Date: 2022-05-13

Authority:

The President

Principle

Memorial University of Newfoundland, as a public institution, is committed to openness, accountability and transparency in all of its activities. Questions arising from and information sought about Memorial University's activities will be met with forthright and timely responses. Most information about the university's operations is considered public information and is made easily accessible on the internet. The university is guided by and bound by federal and provincial laws regulating access to information and protection of privacy.

Purpose

To state the University's commitment to uphold the right of access to information in its custody or control in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP Act), other applicable legislation and university policy.

Scope

All organizational units of Memorial University. All information and records in the custody and/or under the control of the University. The policy is based on the requirements of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act to which Memorial University is subject.

Definitions

ATIPP Act — The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015, SNL 2015, C A-1.2 is a statute of Newfoundland and Labrador which applies to provincial public bodies. Memorial University is a public body under the ATIPP Act.

ATIPP Request — A request for access to records made under the ATIPP Act.

Custody and Control — Determining whether or not a record is in the custody and/or control of Memorial University for the purposes of ATIPP Act will include considerations of the following criteria. All criteria will not necessarily apply and not any one criterion will be determinative.

Employee — Has the meaning given in the ATIPP Act, including salaried employees, wage employees, contract employees, and persons retained under a contract to perform services or the University.

Head — The Head for the purposes of the ATIPP Act is the University President, in accordance with a resolution of the Board of Regents passed on March 22, 2007.

IAP Office — The University's Information Access and Privacy Office.

Information Request — A request to a University unit for information/records.

Personal Information — Recorded information about an identifiable individual, including (not an exhaustive list).

Record — A record of information in any form, and includes a dataset, information that is machine readable, written, photographed, recorded or stored in any manner, but does not include a computer program or a mechanism that produced records on any storage medium.

Third Party — A person, group of persons or organization other than the person making a request, or a public body.

Unit Head — For the purposes of this policy, unit head is the term used to mean Deans, Division Heads, Heads of Schools, Directors, Executive Directors, the University Librarian, the University Registrar, Associate Vice-Presidents and Vice-Presidents, as applicable.

Unit Privacy Officer — The employee(s) designated in each academic and administrative unit of the University, to implement privacy policy and procedures in that unit. It does not preclude any unit from establishing a position of unit privacy officer. This is a functional description, not a position title.

Policy

  1. University employees will make reasonable effort to locate records and respond openly and in a timely fashion to requests for information which is in the custody and/or control of the University, except where doing so may harm a third party. See Procedure for Receiving Information Requests.
  2. No information designated by the university as confidential is disclosed without appropriate authority. See Procedure for Receiving an Information Request.
  3. Employees unable to comply with an information request will advise the requester that s/he may choose to file an ATIPP request, using the ATIPP Request Form and the university's Information Access and Privacy Office.
  4. Memorial University responds to ATIPP requests within the statutory deadlines and as openly as possible, in compliance with the ATIPP Act.
  5. Employees are responsible for cooperating with the IAP Office to address ATIPP requests, in accordance with the Procedure for Managing an ATIPP Request.
  6. Unit heads are responsible for ensuring all records responsive to ATIPP requests are obtained. Unit heads are also responsible for responding to requests for clarification from the IAP Office, in accordance with the Procedure for Managing an ATIPP Request.
  7. ATIPP requests must be accompanied by the application fee and are subject to other fees, as set out in the Fee Schedule of the ATIPP Act.
  8. Decision-making under the ATIPP Act is set out in the current Delegation of Authority Instrument and approved by the Head.
  9. Searches for records contained within Memorial's server environment will be conducted by those offices/employees identified as having records responsive to the particular ATIPP request. Searches of electronic back-up media will not be conducted for the purpose of locating records responsive to an ATIPP request.
  10. Notwithstanding Section 1. above, which encourages openness, the ATIPP Act permits the University to exclude from access records that may include: teaching materials, research information and questions on an examination or test. A complete list of exclusions is available in section 5 of the ATIPP Act.

Noncompliance
University employees who act in good faith and who execute their employment responsibilities with a reasonable standard of care shall not be subject to discipline. Noncompliance with the legislation or this policy may result in disciplinary action in accordance with collective agreements and/or terms and conditions of employment.

Destroying a record or removing information from a record to evade an ATIPP request may be subject to prosecution under s.72 of the ATIPP Act.

Related Documents

ATIPP Request Form
Decision Making under ATIPPA (Delegation of Authority) Form
Search for Records:  Worksheet
Information Management Policy

Procedures

For inquiries related to this policy:

Information Access and Privacy Advisor:  (709) 864-8214.

Sponsor: Vice-President (Administration & Finance)

Category: Operations

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date 2010-05-13   Effective Date 2010-05-13

Procedure for Filing an ATIPP Request

Approval Date: 2010-05-13

Responsible Unit: Information Access and Privacy Office

1. A formal application for access to records in the custody/control of Memorial University, i.e., an "ATIPP request", is made by completing an ATIPP Request Form and submitting it to the IAP Office along with the application fee payable to Memorial University of Newfoundland.

2. The ATIPP Request Form and information about making ATIPP requests are available at www.mun.ca/iap or by contacting the IAP Office at 864 7683 or iap@mun.ca


Procedure for Managing an ATIPP Request

Approval Date: 2010-05-13

Responsible Unit: Information Access and Privacy Office

Most information requests are dealt with in the normal course of university business, since the university strives to provide information whenever it can do so. However, individuals may exercise their right to file ATIPP requests.

ATIPP requests must be relayed immediately to the IAP Office, as statutory timelines apply.

The IAP Office manages ATIPP requests in accordance with the ATIPP Act and regulations. The IAP Office receives applications, processes the application fees, ensures legislative timelines are met, develops fee estimates (where applicable), prepares records for disclosure, consults with Unit heads and others, as appropriate, and issues decision letters to applicants.

Authority for decision-making is set out in Decision-making under ATIPPA: Delegation of Authority.

The IAP Office responds to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner [the Commissioner] when that office investigates complaints and requests for review.

Identifying, locating and retrieving responsive records
Unit heads are responsible for identifying and locating all records responsive to an ATIPP request and providing them to the IAP Office. The IAP Office provides to the Unit head the exact wording of the request so that all records which are responsive can be identified, located and retrieved. The IAP Office provides guidance and suggestions for locating records. The Unit head conducts further searches and provides clarification, if required, to ensure all records are located. A Search for Records Worksheet is provided to the Unit head to assist in undertaking an adequate search. This documentation of the search must be undertaken to assist with subsequent investigations by the Commissioner and for reporting purposes in monitoring resources involved in administering ATIPP requests. The Unit head sends the responsive records and the completed worksheet to the IAP Office.

Records to remain intact
Records are not to be altered in any manner.

It is an offense under s.72 of the ATIPP Act to destroy a record or remove information from a record to evade an ATIPP request.

Providing the responsive records to the IAP Office
To meet statutory deadlines, one complete photocopy of all responsive records must be provided to the IAP Office no later than seven days after notification.

The IAP Office decides if the time limit (30 calendar days) for responding to an ATIPP request is to be extended as permitted by the ATIPP Act.

Excluded Records
The Act applies to all records in the custody of and/or under the control of the University with the exception of records set out in section 5.

If the records sought in an ATIPP request are teaching materials, questions on an examination or test or research data, then access may be denied on the basis that the records are excluded from the ATIPP Act. The University, through the IAP Office, reviews records for determination of exclusion. Decisions to deny access to these types of records are subject to review by the Commissioner.

Exceptions to disclosure
The IAP Office conducts a line-by-line review of each record and determines if exceptions to disclosure apply.

Information subject to mandatory exceptions to disclosure will be removed by the IAP Office from the copy of the responsive record to be provided to the ATIPP applicant.

The IAP Office determines if any of the information is subject to discretionary exceptions to disclosure. Decisions to deny access to this kind of information are made by the Unit head after consultations with the IAP Coordinator or General Counsel for the university.

Fees
The IAP Office assesses and collects fees in accordance with the ATIPP Fee Schedule established under the ATIPP Act.

Unit heads provide the IAP Office with an estimate of the time needed to identify, locate and retrieve records responsive to an ATIPP request. Using the Search for Records Worksheet, Unit heads record the actual time spent identifying, locating and retrieving records of each employee and provide this information to the IAP Office.

Reports
The IAP Office fulfills reporting requirements under the ATIPP Act.

The IAP Office reports to the Board of Regents, the Senior Executive Committee and the IAP Advisory Committee on the university's administration of ATIPP requests.

Complaints, review and appeal
The Newfoundland and Labrador Information and Privacy Commissioner is authorized under the ATIPP Act to investigate complaints (about fees and extensions of the 30-day time limit) by ATIPP requesters and to review and report on decisions to deny access to information to ATIPP requesters.


Procedure for Receiving an Information Request

Approval Date: 2010-05-13

Responsible Unit: Information Access and Privacy Office


1. Employees determine whether an information request involves:

a. general information
b. personal information of an employee, student or other person
c. third party business information

If employees are unsure of the nature of the information request, they contact their supervisor or the Information Access and Privacy (IAP) Office for advice.

2. If the request is for general information, employees :

a. provide the requester with the information in accordance with unit procedures; or
b. assist the requester by suggesting other avenues to obtain the information (e.g. the university website, or referral to other appropriate university sources/units).

3. If the request is for personal information or third party business information, employees:

a. follow unit procedures with respect to release of information, or
b. consult with their supervisor, unit privacy officer, or the IAP Office to determine what information, if any, can be released.

4. If the requested information cannot be released, employees advise requesters that they may file a formal request under the ATIPP Act through the IAP Office.