Overview of access to information requests
Legal Aid Ontario (“LAO”) grants access to information requests according to the Legal Aid Services Act (“LASA”) and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”). LAO goes to great lengths to grant access to requesters while complying with its duties under FIPPA and LAO's governing legislation.
LAO was established in 1998 under LASA. From 1999 to September 2014, LAO received 213 requests for access to information. Approximately 35% of those requests were for access to a client's own personal information of which 78% were granted and 15% were partially granted. Furthermore, about 33% of all requests for access to information received during that time period were requests by either third parties or by clients for third party information. Of those requests, about 24% were granted and approximately 17% were partially granted. Last, approximately 32% of all requests for access to information received from 1999 to September 2014 were for access to general information about LAO of which approximately 63% were granted, and nearly 18% were partially granted.
LAO is committed to transparency and public access to information within the limits of its governing legislation. In that spirit, in cases where LAO does not have any records responsive to the request, LAO endeavours to provide other relevant information to the requester that may be of assistance when it is possible to do so. In addition, beginning in April 2013 LAO made it its general practice to not charge clients an application fee for requests for personal information pertaining to their own records. Prior to April 2013, LAO would grant a client's request for a waiver for the application fee if the client had so requested and the request was for their own records.
LAO has published the decision letters for the requests for third party information and requests by third parties, and requests for general records. See: Proactive disclosure. In order to comply with our obligations under FIPPA and LASA, the necessary redactions have been made to these materials. The decision letters to requests for a client's own personal information have not been posted.