Freedom of Information

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) came into effect on January 1, 1991. The legislation provides access to information rights balanced with privacy protection. It applies to all municipalities in Ontario and to various other local government institutions including the Library Board, Public Health Board and Public Utilities Commission.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent promotes open government and fosters an organizational structure that advances the fundamental principles of MFIPPA:

  • Information (general records) should be available to the public.
  • Individuals should have access to their personal information.
  • Exemptions to access should be limited and specific.
  • Institutions should protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information held by institutions.

For more detailed information about MFIPPA, visit the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) website.

For general public inquiries about MFIPPA, please email

How to Submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request 

Note: FOI requests should not be submitted for information that is available on the municipal website, from a municipal division by request or for information that is held by other governments or government agencies. For Chatham-Kent Police Service requests, see the CKPS Freedom of Information page

  1. Download and complete a Freedom of Information Request Form (also available at our Municipal Centres and the Clerk's Office).
  2. Provide as much detail as possible about the records or information you are requesting. This helps staff locate the information you are looking for. If you can, specify the type of information you are looking for such as, the dates for the information you are requesting and the municipal office or division that has the information you are requesting.
  3. If you are requesting information about a property, you should submit one request per municipal property address.
  4. Send the completed request form to the FOI Coordinator in the Municipality's Clerk's Office (in person, by mail or by email).
  5. Please include the mandatory $5.00 application fee that must be paid for all requests. The fee is payable in person at any Municipal Centre or by calling 519-360-1998 if paying by credit card. Please advise the Customer Service Rep that the payment is for an FOI request. If paying by cheque or money order, please make the fee payable to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
  6. You will receive a response within 30 days from the time you submit your request and application fee. You may be contacted if there is not enough information in your request or to seek clarification on the municipal records you are looking for.
  7. A time extension may be required if your request involves an extensive search or a large volume of records, or more time is needed to consult with a third party.
  8. There are some exceptions to what you can obtain through the FOI process. Specific exemptions are listed in MFIPPA.

What Happens Next

  • The FOI Coordinator locates the records being requested and makes a decision to either release the records entirely, in part or to deny access to them. This decision is based on the provisions of MFIPPA and on relevant Orders that have been issued by the IPC.
  • The FOI Coordinator issues a decision letter to the requester enclosing the records that are being released and explaining why access is being denied to other records in part or entirely.

It is important to note that all decisions made by the FOI Coordinator can be appealed to the IPC. The IPC is an independent body that has advisory, investigative and order-making powers to ensure that municipalities comply with the provisions of MFIPPA.

How to Appeal

  • An appeal must be made within 30 calendar days of receiving the decision. To file an appeal you must write to the IPC indicating you are appealing the Municipality's decision.
  • The decision letter will explain the appeal process, which the requester can pursue if not satisfied with the decision made by the FOI Coordinator.
  • Your letter should include a copy of your original FOI request and a copy of the municipal decision letter. Forward your request for an appeal with the appropriate fee to the IPC.