You have access Municipal correspondence with wind developers

confidentialYou have a legal right to access certain municipal records.  Simply submit your request in writing (some municipal websites have a form for this), along with a cheque for $5.00.  Be sure to ask for exactly what you want to see:  specify the period of time you are interested in, the topic, and the type of documentation you want.  The municipality will round up the documentation and provide you with a quote as to how much it will cost you to obtain the information.  You can usually take all or just some of it.  If you request it electronically it may cost you less than if they have to photocopy documents.

Examples:
I request access to all documentation, including but not limited to e-mail correspondence between all municipal representatives and NextEra Energy Canada from January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2014.

Or

I request access to all documentation, including but not limited to e-mail correspondence concerning the NextEra Jericho Wind project from January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014.

Some information may be withheld for reasons such as ‘private or personal information’ would be revealed.  The wind companies like this one.  If this occurs there are avenues of appeal that are laid out in the legislation.

Be relentless.  Demand to see what your municipality is up to.

PART I
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

Access to Records

Right of access

4.  (1)  Every person has a right of access to a record or a part of a record in the custody or under the control of an institution unless,

(a) the record or the part of the record falls within one of the exemptions under sections 6 to 15; or

(b) the head is of the opinion on reasonable grounds that the request for access is frivolous or vexatious.

Exemptions

Draft by-laws, etc.

6.  (1)  A head may refuse to disclose a record,

(a) that contains a draft of a by-law or a draft of a private bill; or

(b) that reveals the substance of deliberations of a meeting of a council, board, commission or other body or a committee of one of them if a statute authorizes holding that meeting in the absence of the public.

Exception

(2)  Despite subsection (1), a head shall not refuse under subsection (1) to disclose a record if,

(a) in the case of a record under clause (1) (a), the draft has been considered in a meeting open to the public;

(b) in the case of a record under clause (1) (b), the subject-matter of the deliberations has been considered in a meeting open to the public; or

(c) the record is more than twenty years old. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56, s. 6.

Advice or recommendations

7.  (1)  A head may refuse to disclose a record if the disclosure would reveal advice or recommendations of an officer or employee of an institution or a consultant retained by an institution.

Exceptions

(2)  Despite subsection (1), a head shall not refuse under subsection (1) to disclose a record that contains,

(a) factual material;

(b) a statistical survey;

(c) a report by a valuator;

(d) an environmental impact statement or similar record;

(e) a report or study on the performance or efficiency of an institution;

(f) a feasibility study or other technical study, including a cost estimate, relating to a policy or project of an institution;

(g) a report containing the results of field research undertaken before the formulation of a policy proposal;

(h) a final plan or proposal to change a program of an institution, or for the establishment of a new program, including a budgetary estimate for the program;

(i) a report of a committee or similar body within an institution, which has been established for the purpose of preparing a report on a particular topic;

(j) a report of a body which is attached to an institution and which has been established for the purpose of undertaking inquiries and making reports or recommendations to the institution;

(k) the reasons for a final decision, order or ruling of an officer or an employee of the institution made during or at the conclusion of the exercise of discretionary power conferred by or under an enactment or scheme administered by the institution.

 

Request

17.  (1)  A person seeking access to a record shall,

(a) make a request in writing to the institution that the person believes has custody or control of the record;

(b) provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of the institution, upon a reasonable effort, to identify the record; and

(c) at the time of making the request, pay the fee prescribed by the regulations for that purpose. 1996, c. 1, Sched. K, s. 14.

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