How to Make an Access to Information Request

Records available through the access to information process

Under the Access to Information Act, you can request any material under the control of the CFIA, regardless of its medium or form. Records that may be available through an access to information request include

  • correspondence
  • applications
  • certificates
  • reports not normally published by the CFIA (for example, reports prepared by consultants)

Exemptions and exclusions to access to information requests

There are certain types of information that may not be released under the Access to Information Act. These are called "exemptions and exclusions."

Exemptions protect certain types of information that could cause harm if released.

Exemptions are classified as

  • mandatory (the information must be withheld), or
  • discretionary (the information may be withheld).

Some examples of exemptions are

  • trade secrets of a third party
  • personal information
  • information on national security

You can find a complete description of exemptions in Sections 13–23 of the Access to Information Act.

Exclusions are records not covered by the Act. These include

  • published material
  • material available for purchase
  • museum material
  • confidences of the Queen's Privy Council

Making an access to information request at the CFIA

Using the ATIP Online Request service is a convenient way to get requests submitted more quickly and easily, while simplifying the application process. Apply online today to save time and postage.

Online Request

OR

Your requests must be made in writing. They also must include sufficient detail to allow staff to find and retrieve the information requested.

The "Access to Information Request Form", along with detailed instructions, is available on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's website.

You should send your requests to the following address:

Access to Information and Privacy Office
Integrity and Redress Secretariat
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
1400 Merivale Road, Tower 1, Room 0-149
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9

Fees

When you submit a request under the Access to Information Act, you must also send a cheque or money order

  • in the amount of $5.00, and
  • payable to the Receiver General for Canada.

Payments can also be made by credit card by contacting the CFIA ATIP Office.

This fee helps cover the administrative costs associated with processing your request.

Under the Act, you are entitled to five free hours of search time.

Additional fees are charged when staff need to extensively search, retrieve, prepare and reproduce records. These include

  • search fees in the amount of $10.00 an hour;
  • preparation fees for large-volume requests; and
  • photocopying fees in the amount of $0.20 a page for requests larger than 125 pages.

You may be asked to pay an estimate up front for the search and preparation of records before the actual search and preparation proceeds.

You must pay all fees in full before information will be disclosed to you.

Time required

In general, an access to information request takes 30 calendar days from the time the CFIA receives the request to the release of the documents.

However, an extension may be required

  • to allow for consultation with third parties and other departments, or
  • if the request is for a large number of records that need a lengthy search that interferes with the operation of the government institution.

For more information on access to information

The CFIA's Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office manages access to information requests. You can contact the office

  • by phone at 613-773-5990
  • by email at ATIP-CFIA-AIPRP@inspection.gc.ca
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