Requesting Information in SJTO Files
About Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
Because SJTO application and appeal files contain personal information, they are not available to the public. This means that you will need to make a request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) if you want information from an SJTO file. This is called a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
SJTO’s FIPPA coordinator will review your FOI request and decide what information can be shared with you.
FIPPA has two objectives:
- To give the public the right to access information under the control of government institutions, except where specific exemptions under FIPPA apply.
- To protect people’s privacy. FIPPA prevents the government from disclosing people’s personal information to the public.
What is personal information under FIPPA?
Personal information is defined as "information about a recognizable individual". Examples of personal information include:
- a person’s name, address or telephone number
- information about a person’s financial transactions
- someone else’s views or opinions about a person
- private or confidential correspondence sent to the government
Personal information does not include information that identifies a person in a business or professional capacity. For example, the name of a president of a company is not considered to be personal information.
An FOI request is not always necessary
People who are “parties” to an SJTO application or appeal or a party’s legal representative may not need to make an FOI request to get information from the application or appeal file. Parties include:
- the person or organization who made the application or appeal
- the person or organization responding to it
Making an FOI request
You must make an FOI request in writing. You can complete the SJTO FOI Request Form or you can send a letter to SJTO. Your letter must make it clear you are making an FOI request, include your contact information and provide a detailed description of the information you are requesting.
There is a $5 fee to make an FOI request. You can pay in cash, or by cheque or money order made payable to the Minister of Finance.
Send your request, along with the $5 fee, to:
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario
25 Grosvenor St., 4th floor
Toronto, ON M7A 1R1
Response to your request
The FIPPA Coordinator usually responds within 30 days of receiving a complete FOI request and the $5 fee. The response will tell you what information SJTO can share with you and will usually include copies of the documents.
If there is information that SJTO cannot disclose, the response will explain why.
SJTO can charge fees for an FOI request in addition to the $5 application fee. For example:
- $30/hour for searching for documents related to the request
- $30/hour for redacting (removing) information that can’t be disclosed from a document
- $0.20/page for photocopying charges
If the cost of processing your request will be more than $25, the FIPPA Coordinator will give you a fee estimate. If the estimate is over $100, you will need to pay 50% in advance.
Appealing the Decision
You can appeal SJTO’s decision to deny access to a document, or a decision to charge a fee to the Information and Privacy Commissioner. You have 30 days from the time you receive the decision to appeal.