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Access to Information - FIPPA

Frequently Asked Questions

Can other people access my personal information?

  • Personal information must not be disclosed to anyone other than the individual, to whom it relates, except:
  • where prior written request or consent of the individual, if the record is one to which the individual is entitled to have access
  • In compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual
  • personal information collected and maintained specifically for the purpose of creating a record available to the general public
  • under an Act of Ontario or Canada that expressly authorizes the disclosure
  • for a research purpose if specific conditions are met
  • the disclosure is consistent with the conditions or reasonable expectations of disclosure under which the personal information was provided, collected or obtained,
  • if the disclosure does not constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy

What is the difference between a request for ‘general information’ and a request for ‘personal information’?

Personal Information is defined as recorded information about an identifiable individual such as information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual, information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved, any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual, the address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual, the personal opinions or views of the individual except where they relate to another individual, correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence, the views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and the individual’s name where it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual.

Personal information does not include the name, title, business address, and business contact numbers of an employee. The personal information for individuals deceased more than 30 years is no longer protected by the Freedom of information and Protection of Privacy Act.

General information relates to all other information that is not considered personal information as defined above.

Why can I not have access to certain records?

FIPPA stipulate that every person has a right of access to a record in the custody or under the control of the Hospital. However certain records are excluded from the purview of the Act (i.e. labour relations (s. 65(6)), research and teaching materials (s.65(8.1)). Also, there are mandatory and discretionary exemptions for other types of records that apply and determine the disclosure of the records (i.e. third party information (s. 17), economic interests (s. 18), solicitor-client privilege (s. 19), and personal privacy (s. 21).

Is there a cost to make a request? How much?

There is an initial fee of $5 to make a request under FIPPA. Other fees may follow. It is possible to reduce the costs of a request by being very specific with your request. An example that could help reduce fees would be to include in your request to eliminate all information sent or received by you.

How do you calculate the estimates and final fees?

The fees are calculated in accordance to the FIPPA regulation 460 R.R.O. 1990. The fee breakdown is as follows:



Making an access request

$5 fee must accompany written request

Change in personal information

No fee required besides the $5 request fee and photocopy fees

Photocopies and computer printouts

$0.20 per page


$10 per disk

Encrypted USB Drive

$50/ USB

Manually searching a record

$30 per hour ($7.50 for each 15 minutes) spent by any person

Preparing a record for disclosure, including severing part of the record

$30 per hour ($7.50 for each 15 minutes) spent by any person

Developing a computer program or other method to produce a record from a machine-readable record

$60 per hour($15 for each 15 minutes) spent by any person

Cost, including computer costs, incurred to locate, retrieve, process and copy record(s) as specified in an invoice received by the hospital

Actual costs

Can I obtain an electronic copy of the records requested?

Yes, the Hospital can provide an electronic copy of the records on a CD-ROM. Please note that a $10.00 fee will be charged in accordance with the FIPPA regulation.

Who do I make my cheque payable to?

Cheques for the initial application fee may be made payable to the CHEO. All further fees must be paid by cash, certified cheque or money order to the CHEO.

Can my request form be faxed or emailed?

Since the request must be accompanied by a $5.00 application fee before the searches can begin, the request must be sent by mail, courier, or may be dropped off in person. 

How specific do I need to be with my request?

Please be as specific as possible in describing the information you are seeking. The more specific your request, the quicker and more accurately it can be answered. This includes adding details such the area the information should be searched in, the key words that you find appropriate to conduct the search and the period of the request (date). Please note that the search dates of a request ends on the day that the request has been received.

If you are requesting your own personal information, please be sure that you give: your full name; any other names that you have previously used; and any identifying number that relates to the records, such as your employee or student number, or other identification number.

Where can I find the form to make a formal request?

You may find the form to make a formal request at the following by clicking on the following link – CHEO FIPPA Form

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