You have the right to request information from certain government institutions including ministries in Ontario. This includes information from:

You can submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to:

  • access general records, such as government reports and communications products
  • request your own personal information, such as your medical and employment histories
  • correct your personal information
  • access another individual’s personal information (with appropriate authorization or consent of the individual)

Anyone can make a request for information — there are no restrictions.

Before making a request, you may want to consult Ontario’s Open Data Catalogue. Ontario shares many datasets online to increase transparency and accountability. The data you are looking for could already be accessible online.

How to submit an FOI request

Step 1: Identify the institution and the information or records you’re looking for

Before you make a request, you will need to identify which provincial or municipal public sector institution, such as a government ministry or municipal school board, is most likely to hold the information or records. If you don’t know which institution holds your records, consult the table below.

You can also refer to the Directory of Records for descriptions of information and records kept by provincial ministries and agencies to help identify the institution with the information or records you are looking for.

Institutions that fall under MFIPPA are responsible for their own Directory of Records. Please consult directly with the municipality for records and information in their custody and control.

The Directory of Institutions lists and provides contact information for FOI coordinators for provincial and municipal public sector institutions covered under FIPPA and MFIPPA.

Depending on what you’re looking for, supporting information or documentation may be required.

Note: The list below will help you find frequently requested records from Ontario government ministries and municipal police services. It does not reflect all records available from a ministry or agency.


Step 2: Complete and submit an FOI request

There is a mandatory $5 application fee for each FOI request. There is no application fee for a request to make a correction to your own personal information.

Check with the institution you are seeking records from to see what forms of payment are available (for example, cheque, money order, credit/debit cards and an in-person option to use cash).

Processing fees

Additional fees may apply to process a request. The processing fee is determined by the:

  • type of information you requested (for example, general records or personal information)
  • format you wish to receive the information (for example, paper, electronic or multimedia records)
  • total costs incurred by the institution to produce or prepare the information

You will receive a fee estimate from the FOI office or institution where you submitted your FOI request, if the processing fees will be more than $25. When processing fees are over $100, a deposit may be required.

You have the right to request a waiver of fees if the payment will cause financial hardship or if the information will benefit public health or safety. The FOI office or institution that receives your request for a fee waiver will discuss next steps in the process.


Online requests

Online requests can be submitted for many institutions by completing the request form online.

Don’t forget to include a detailed description of the records requested and any other relevant information, such as dates, addresses and/ or file numbers.

Requests by mail

You can submit a request by mail to any institution under FIPPA.

  • complete the PDF version of the Access or Correction Request form (or submit a written letter that gives enough information to identify the records you want)
  • if you are submitting an FOI request to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, complete and submit this form,
    • Note: on the forms page, there are PDF and HTML versions of forms to allow for online and offline completion. There are descriptions under each form to explain when each form should be completed.
  • refer to the Directory of Institutions for the relevant institution address(es) to submit your completed form or letter.

Please note: if you are looking for records from municipalities, municipal police services, hospitals, or academic institutions, please contact them directly. The Directory of Institutions provides contact information for FOI coordinators for provincial and municipal public sector institutions covered under FIPPA and MFIPPA.

Step 3: The institution will process your request and share what records are available

The institution will review your request and begin their search. They have 30 days to respond to your request and may contact you for clarifications or they will notify you if a time extension may be required to process your request.

Within 30 days, the institution will send you a decision indicating what information and records are available and what can be released to you. If any additional fees are required (for search-time, for example), the fees will be outlined in the decision.

You will receive your information or records via a link to a dedicated website if you submit online. If payment is required, the institution will only release the records or information once the balance of payment is received.

If you submit a request by mail to any institution under FIPPA, correspondence and records released in response to your request will be provided by mail.

File an appeal or make a privacy complaint

You have the right to appeal any decision about access to records (including fees) made by institutions that are covered under FIPPA. This includes appealing a decision if your request for information is denied.

Appeal a decision

You may file an appeal with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) by:

  • downloading and completing an appeal form (or by submitting a written letter to the contact below)
  • submitting the form to the Information and Privacy Commissioner Registrar within 30 calendar days of the institution giving notice of its decision

Appeal fees:

  • $10 for requests related to access to, or correction, of your personal information
  • $25 for requests related to access to general records

Learn more about the appeals process

Make a privacy complaint

If you think that your personal information has been improperly collected, used, or disclosed by a public institution, you have the right to make a complaint to the IPC of Ontario.

Contact us

If you have questions or need assistance with your FOI request, please contact the Freedom of Information and Privacy coordinator at the institution that holds the information.

The Directory of Institutions also lists and provides contact information for FOI coordinators for provincial and municipal public sector institutions covered under FIPPA and MFIPPA.

Ontario’s privacy laws include the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).  Contact the Advisory Services Unit at the Information, Privacy and Archives (IPA) for more information on FIPPA and MFIPPA:

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