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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when I submit my FOI Request?

Here's the process The Hospital for Sick Children receives when it receives your request for information under FIPPA (FOI request):

  1. The FOI Office logs your request and assigns it a unique identifier.  The identifier is used in correspondence with you (the requester), Hospital departments, and the IPC (if applicable).  Your identity remains confidential and is not shared with staff outside the FOI Office.
  2. The FOI Office reviews your request to ensure that there is sufficient detail to being searching for records.  If your request is too broad or unclear, the FOI Office will contact you to refine the request and determine what you are seeking.
  3. Your request is sent to the areas where there is reason to believe the records are located. Staff in these areas search for the records and provide their results to the FOI Office.
  4. Once records related to your request have been received by the FOI Office, they are reviewed to determine whether the records can be provided to you.  Sometimes records contain information that is excluded or exempted from the general right of access under FIPPA.  Records can be excluded or exempted in whole, in part or not at all.
  5. When an access decision has been made, a final decision letter is prepared and sent to you.  In many cases the decision letter will grant you full access to the record(s) you seek.  If there are additional fees involved to provide you with access to the requested record(s) you will be provided a listing of these fees with the final decision letter and must pay the fees in full before the record(s) are given to you.  If there are no additional fees the record(s) will be provided with the final decision letter.
  6. If the record(s) you requested are subject to exclusions or exemptions the decision letter will state which exclusions and exemptions were used to deny access to some or all of the requested record(s). The copy of the records you receive may contain severed portions indicating access to some information has been denied.  In some cases access will be denied in full, and no record will be provided.
  7. If access is denied in whole or in part you are entitled to make an appeal to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.  Details on how to make this appeal will be provided in your final decision letter.
  8. SickKids must respond to your request within 30 days of receiving your request and $5 application fee.  In exceptional cases, where your request is for a large number of records and requires an extensive search or consultation with an external third party, the time limit can be extended.  You will be advised in writing of any time extension applied to your request.

Are there processing fees for requests under FIPPA?

The initial $5 application fee that accompanies your FOI request opens your file and initiates the search for records.  This is a mandatory fee prescribed by FIPPA and cannot be waived, even if the record cannot be released or does not exist.  

Some FOI requests incur additional processing fees.  SickKids does not set the fee schedule for processing FOI requests; it is authorized by FIPPA’s Regulation 460.  These fees relate to photocopying, searching, reproducing, severing and otherwise preparing a record for disclosure.  

The fees are as follows:

  • Photocopying $0.20 per page
  • Disks and CD’s $10 each
  • Searching for records $7.50 per 15 minutes
  • Preparing a record for disclosure, including severing part of the record (if applicable) $7.50 per 15 minutes
  • Developing a computer program or other method of producing a record from a machine readable record $15 per 15 minutes

NOTE:  the above fees do not apply if your request is for the correction of your own personal information.

How will I know if there are additional fees associated with my request?

SickKids will provide you with a fee estimate, if the additional fees are estimated to exceed $25.  If the additional fees are estimated to exceed $100 or more you will be required to provide SickKids with a fee deposit of 50 per cent of the total cost before we will complete the search and processing of the records related to your request.  The fee estimate will provide you with enough information about your request for you to decide whether you wish to proceed with the deposit and the rest of the search. Once a final access decision has been made for your FOI request, you will be required to pay any outstanding fees in full before you will be given access to the responsive records. 

Are there any reasons that I might not get my responsive records within 30 days?

Under FIPPA, SickKids has 30 days from the date your FOI request and application fee are received to process your request.   Sometimes we are unable to provide you with the records you seek in this time frame, and will require a time extension.  FIPPA allows for time extensions where the request is for a high volume of records, would necessitate a search through a high volume of records to find those responsive to your request, or requires outside consultation where that consultation cannot reasonably happen within 30 days.  SickKids will notify you in writing if a time extension is necessary to process your request.  You will have the option of appealing the time extension to the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario - the instructions for appeal will be listed on the time extension letter.  

If your request seems overly broad upon receipt the FOI Office will contact you to narrow the scope and clarify the request in an effort to avoid time extensions and process your request within the thirty day period.

My child is a patient at SickKids.  Will his/her personal health information be accessible under FIPPA?

No. Personal health information is excluded from the scope of FIPPA.  This means that it cannot be accessed by making an FOI Request.  The disclosure of Personal Health Information is governed by the Personal Health Information Protection Act which sets out limited circumstances for sharing personal health information.  For more information please contact the Privacy Office

I just received the records responsive to my FOI request and some of the information is blacked out.  Why wasn’t I provided with access to the full record?

Some records are excluded or exempted, in whole or in part, from access under FIPPA.  If the records responsive to your request are partially exempted or excluded the exempted and/or excluded areas appear as blacked out on your copy of the records.  You will be provided with the applicable section of the legislation for every severance made to the record, and as indicated in your final access decision letter you have the opportunity to appeal the access decision to the IPC.

I submitted an FOI request to SickKids but am no longer interested in receiving the records.  What should I do?

Requesters are entitled to withdraw their FOI request if they no longer wish to pursue access.  Please contact the FOI Office 416-813-7654 ext. 28014 to confirm your withdrawal.