The fundamental purpose of the freedom of information process (FOI) is accountability to the public. The spirit is to create an open and accountable government by providing as much information as possible to the public, while ensuring that their personal privacy is protected.
Under the leadership of City Council, Barrie’s team of employees strives to deliver high-quality services and facilities at the best value for our community. In the interests of excellent customer service and the streamlining of services and information flow, the City of Barrie regular discloses certain types of information.
The following list sets out some examples of information organized by Department that the City routinely makes available to the public either through the website or in hard copy. The listing is not comprehensive but serves as a basic guide to the public and staff.
Department Examples of Information Barrie Fire and Emergency Services Fire prevention and public safety information, building inspection reports (not complaint driven), etc. Barrie Public Library Library catalogue, community information and events, Information Barrie, historical and genealogical information, library programs, etc. Building Services Building reports and statistics, construction activity statistics, property standards orders, Committee of Adjustment and variance decisions, etc. City Clerk’s Office
Council and Committee Agendas, Minutes, Committee Reports, Staff Reports, By-laws, general community information, court charging documents, assessment information, Customer Services Directory, etc. Economic Development
Community information, development activity charts, business information, marketing information, population/demographic information, information about events and attractions, etc. Engineering & Infrastructure
Subdivision Requirements Manual and policies relating to development, transportation studies, servicing and development agreements, servicing standard reports, construction contracts, water quality and distribution, water treatment, regional airport information, etc. Finance
Annual budgets, specific expenditures incurred by the Mayor and elected Officials, financial statements and tax certificates indicating the status of tax payments, etc. Legal Services
General subdivision and agreement information Operations
Traffic counts, transit schedules, route maps, water meter services, maintenance of public property information, etc.
Status of litigation and Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings, status of public planning meeting information as provided by the applicant, re-zoning and site plan development information, Heritage Barrie information, etc. Recreation & Culture Parks and Recreation programs, City events, seniors program information, information on City recreational facilities, etc.
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) is a piece of legislation that gives individuals the right to request access to information within records maintained by the City of Barrie. The Act also provides for the protection of personal information that has been collected by the municipality.
The Act is based on the principles that:
- Information should be made available to the public;
- Individuals should have access to their own personal information;
- Exceptions to access should be limited and specific;
- The privacy of individuals with respect to the personal information the municipality collects and maintains shall be protected; and
- Decisions on access to government information may be appealed to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC/O).
Under the Legislation, the ‘Head’ of the Corporation is responsible for decisions made under the Act. For the City of Barrie, City Council has delegated the responsibilities and powers of performing the duties as the ‘Head’ within the meaning of the Act to the City Clerk.
Requests & Fees
The City of Barrie tries to provide as much information as possible to the public without requiring a formal request under the Act. Persons wishing to access records held by the City of Barrie should first contact Service Barrie at 705-726-4242 or ServiceBarrie@barrie.ca. If information is not available informally, a written request under the Act can be filed.
There are two ways to make a request under the Act:
- Complete a Freedom of Information Application (PDF).
- Write a letter to request information that includes the following:
- full mailing address;
- day time telephone number;
- names of specific files or types of records to which access is sought, including dates of those records if possible
Legislative and Court Services Department
Information Management and Privacy Section
70 Collier Street, 1st Floor
Barrie, ON L4M 4T5
Please note that requests for police records for incidents within the City of Barrie are not held by the City and should be directed to the Barrie Police Service. For more information, please visit the Barrie Police website (scroll to Freedom of Information section at the bottom of the page).
The Act provides for a mandatory $5 application fee which must accompany each request for information. Depending on the request, additional fees may apply. The fees, as set out in Regulation 823 of the Act, are as follows.
In addition to the application fee, other fees may apply. The rules regarding the payment and amount of fees are set out in the Act and its regulations. If it appears that the cost of processing a request will be more than $100, the City will provide a fee estimate before granting access to the record. The City may require that a deposit of 50% of the estimate be paid before completing the processing of the request.
General Information Requests
Requests for information about a person other than the person making the request or about a municipal program or activity are considered "general information requests" and have different fees than for personal information requests. The following fees apply for requests for general information:
Fee Rate Explanation Application Fee $5.00 Must accompany the request. The fee is mandatory and cannot be waived. Computer Programming $15.00 per 15 minutes If needed to develop a program to retrieve information. Floppy Disks, CD’s, DVD’s $10.00 Per item. Photocopying $.20 per page Records Preparation $7.50 per 15 minutes Required to prepare records for release (removal of confidential information). Search Time $7.50 per 15 minutes Per person required to search and retrieve records. Shipping Costs As billed Other Fees (as invoiced) Other fees incurred as a result of responding to the request.
Personal Information Requests
If an individual is requesting information about themselves, the request is considered a "personal information request". The following fees may apply to requests for personal information:
Fee Rate Explanation Application Fee $5.00 Must accompany the request. The fee is mandatory and cannot be waived. Computer Programming $15.00 per 15 minutes If needed to develop a program to retrieve information. Floppy Disks, CD’s, DVD’s $10.00 Per item Photocopying $.20 per page Shipping Costs As billed
Fee Rate Explanation Appeals – General $25.00 Payable to the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Appeals – Personal $10.00 Payable to the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
The City of Barrie receives many requests from the public for copies of building plans, property surveys, structural/engineering/architectural drawings. In most cases the requesters are the current property owners that wish to complete renovations and therefore need to know the original structure of the building. In some cases a representative such as Real Estate Agent, construction manager, etc. may also request access to the plans for their client(s). It should be noted that these documents are copyrighted.
There are several ways to obtain a copy of these types of documents. An individual can;
- visit the Land Registry Office as the document may be registered on title; or
- contact the original creator of the document (architect) directly; or
- contact the original builder directly; or
- contact the previous owner; or
- have the City of Barrie conduct a search for the record(s).
It is currently the City of Barrie’s policy that access to these types of records (viewing or coping) shall only be given to the registered owner of the property or if the requester has a written permission letter from the registered owner of the property.
Requests for building drawings can be made at the Building Services Department where a Request for Drawing Documents form shall be filled out. Requesters should be aware that there are costs attached to this service as per the City of Barrie Fees By-law and that all terms and conditions of the Copyright Act apply to the use of the record(s).
Copyrighted documents may not be reproduced for profit nor may any person/organization present them as their own work. Notice of the copyright holder must be indicated on the records.
City Owned Buildings
Permission for access building plans for City-owned buildings shall be determined by the Real Estate Services Section/Facilities Management area. Due to security concerns, it is the City of Barrie’s policy that access to building drawings of City-owned buildings shall not be given unless it is necessary for construction, renovations, etc. purposes.
The City of Barrie does not retain genealogical information. However, we have prepared a guide for your convenience. We hope this information is of assistance to you:
- Genealogical contacts are available through the Barrie Public Library.
- The Simcoe County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society
The Society has advised us that they hold workshops to teach people how to research and organize their family tree. They have various information available including church-cemetery records and local history.
- The Simcoe County Archives
The Simcoe County Archives is located on the south side of Highway 26, approx. 1 km west of Hwy 26/27 intersection.
Mailing address: RR#2, Minesing, Ontario, L0L 1Y0
Telephone: (705) 726-9331
Note: If forwarding your inquiry by mail, please include any information that you already have to help with the search.
- Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid
The Ontario Registrar General’s Office in Toronto holds birth, marriage and death records for people born, married, or died in Ontario. Telephone: 1-800-461-2156 or 1-416-325-8305. For your convenience, application forms to obtain information held by the ORG can be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office on the main floor of City Hall, 70 Collier Street, Barrie, Ont. L4M 4T5
Information on historical buildings within the City of Barrie can be researched through the Planning Dept. on the 1st floor of City Hall, 70 Collier Street, Barrie. Telephone: 705-739-4212.
Frequently Asked Questions
In many cases, requesters are granted full access to the requested information. However, the Act contains a number of mandatory and discretionary exemptions which allow for the protection of certain types of information. The exemptions are:
Mandatory Exemptions Discretionary Exemptions Personal Information;
Relations with governments;
Third party information.
Advice or recommendations;
Economic and other interests;
Danger to health and safety;
Draft by-laws, records of closed meetings;
Limitations on access to own personal information;
For example, if a record contains someone else’s personal information, or other information which was provided to the City in confidence, the City will sever (or blackout) this information from the record and provide a copy of the severed document.
All requesters receive a decision letter outlining the access decision, costs, etc. If information has been severed, the exemptions that were applied will be listed.
When a formal Access Request is submitted, the City has 30 days to respond to the request. In circumstances where there is a large volume of records or it is necessary to consult with outside agencies, the City may request an extension of the 30-day time limit.
Requesters have the right to appeal the City’s response to their request to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC/O). The Information and Privacy Commissioner is an independent body which makes impartial decisions under the Act.
To file an appeal, requesters should write to the Commissioner and request a review of the City’s decision within 30 days of receiving their decision letter. The following items also need to be submitted with the appeal: a copy of the original request for information; a copy of the City's decision letter; and an appeal fee of $25. ($10 for personal information requests)
The Commissioner's Office is located at:
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400,
Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1A8,
Telephone: (416) 326-3333 or toll free 1-800-387-0073.
More information regarding the appeal process may be obtained from the IPC’s official website at www.ipc.on.ca