Understanding your right to obtain information

Learn about Public Services and Procurement Canada's activities under the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act by referring to its annual reports. Consult Info Source to find out where you can access personal information about yourself that is held by the department.

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About access to information and privacy

Under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, you have with the legal right to obtain information, in any form, that is under the control of a government institution. The acts serve to make government more open and transparent, and allow you to more fully participate in the democratic process. Both acts came into effect on July 1, 1983.

Access to Information Act

This act provides the right of the following groups to access information held by a federal government institution:

  • Canadian citizens
  • permanent residents of Canada
  • individuals present in Canada
  • corporation located in Canada

The information held is not of a personal nature. Access to this information is subject to specific and limited exceptions.

Principles of the act

  • The public has a legal right of access to information contained in federal government records
  • Although the government may refuse to grant access, its authority to do so is limited to the circumstances described in the act as exemptions or exclusions the burden of proving that such information is exempted or excluded rests with the government institution
  • Any decision by a government institution to refuse access to information can be reviewed by the Information Commissioner of Canada and, ultimately by the Federal Court

Privacy Act

This act provides the right of the following groups to access and request correction to their personal information held by a federal government institution:

  • Canadian citizens
  • permanent residents
  • individuals present in Canada, subject to specific and limited exceptions

Protecting and releasing personal information under the act

The Privacy Act sets out the rules governing how government institutions collect, retain and dispose of personal information. It also provides a use and disclosure code that stipulates, among other things, which, when and to whom information may be disclosed.
Personal information about an individual can only be disclosed to someone else when either:

  • the individual provides consent
  • one or more of the criteria set out in the act are met

Consult annual reports on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act

Public Services and Procurement Canada publishes reports that provide a summary of its annual management and administration activities under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Records that you may request under these acts

You may request any documented material, regardless of physical form or characteristics. This includes any recorded materials, such as:

  • cassettes
  • diagrams
  • draft documents
  • drawings
  • emails
  • memos
  • minutes of meetings
  • videos

Although you may request any material under the acts, not all material is releasable.

Consult Info Source

Info Source is a publication designed to help individuals exercise their rights under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. Institutions that are subject to these acts, such as Public Services and Procurement Canada, are responsible for its publication.

The publication provides information to:

Consult the latest publication

Info Source: Sources of federal government and employee information

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