Freedom of Information
One of our highest priorities is collecting and maintaining accurate information and keeping it safe.
Freedom of Information (FOI) Office
Our Freedom of Information (FOI) Office handles formal requests for access to corporate records, as permitted under the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). These corporate records include, but are not limited to:
- Investigation, inspection and incident licensing reports for residential care homes, group homes and family day care operations
- Environmental health reports for sewage systems, permits, inspections, complaint follow-ups and food establishment inspections
- Financial budgets, forecasts and contracts
- Policies and procedures
- Information sheets, pamphlets and brochures
- Records of personal information other than patient health or employment records
Before submitting your FOI request
- Identify the records you are seeking (not information or answers to questions).
- Describe the records that you request clearly and concisely. Simplify the search and minimize potential fees. Broad, complex requests will take longer to process and a large fee for service will be charged to you. Fees may be assessed for records that require more than three hours to search and compile.
- Consider the date or date range for the requested records and the department or program area from which you are requesting records.
- The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act allows up to 30 business days to provide the requested records.
Note: For employment records, email your request to employeeRBsupport@phsa.ca.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a fee for FOI requests?
There is an Application Fee of $10 for a FOI request. The Application Fee applies to all FOI Requests except for records containing the personal information of the individual making the request. Please note that FOI requests that require an Application Fee will not be processed until the Application Fee has been received.
We may charge you additional fees to cover the cost of processing your FOI request. In accordance with s.75 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), we do not charge fees for records containing your personal information or for the first three hours spent searching for and retrieving records. If fees do apply, we will send you an estimate before processing your request. We may also require you to send us a deposit. To reduce fees, please narrow your request as much as possible. For example, you can specify a date range or describe which staff member or department is likely to have the information you need.
Payment for Application Fees can be made by cheque payable to “Vancouver Coastal Health Authority”. Once your request is received, we will send a notification email along with the file number you can note on the cheque. Once we receive your cheque, we will follow up by email to confirm receipt and notify you of expected timelines. If we do not receive your Application Fee within 30 working days from the date of our notification email, we will close our file.
How will VCH respond to my FOI request?
FIPPA requires us to respond to your FOI request within 30 working days. If we need to consult with others or if we have a large volume of records to review, we may extend that time as permitted in FIPPA.
What if my FOI request is denied?
FIPPA allows us (and may require us) to withhold information in certain circumstances. If we deny you access to any information, you have the right to ask for a review by the BC Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner.
Do you have a policy guiding FOI requests?
Our Transparency and Freedom of Information Policy guides us in maintaining an open, transparent and accountable culture while protecting the privacy of patients, clients and staff. This policy applies to all staff and information except for personal health information about our patients and clients.
How do you protect my privacy?
All of your records are kept strictly confidential. Protecting your privacy is our priority. Visit the privacy page to learn more.