Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) is a provincial access and privacy law that has applied to hospitals since January 1, 2012. FIPPA establishes a general right of access to records in the custody or control of SickKids from January 1, 2007 onward for the purposes of accountability and transparency. FIPPA recognizes that information should be available to the public whenever possible but balances this right against the protection of personal and confidential information and the right to privacy of individuals.
Please note that due to COVID-19, there will be a delay in the receipt and processing of FIPPA requests. To ensure timely processing of your request or inquiry, please send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making a request for information
Before submitting a request for information, please contact the Compliance & Privacy Office to discuss the records you seek. Some records are routinely available from hospital departments, and you may not be required to submit a request to gain access.
Download and complete the SickKids FOI Records Request Form (PDF) for the following:
- To request to access general records of the hospital
- To request personal information about yourself
- To request a correction to your personal information
Personal Health Information is excluded from the scope of FIPPA. For access to Personal Health Information, please contact Health Information Management.
When completing the form, please be as specific as possible to the type of information you are seeking. Failure to be clear may delay the processing of your request.
The completed SickKids FOI Records Request Form (PDF) should be sent to the Compliance & Privacy Office.
An application fee is required for all requests. The $5 application fee is mandatory and non-refundable. You will receive an invoice to provide electronic payment once your FOI Records Request Form is received by the Compliance & Privacy Office.
Apart from the initial $5 application fee, the Hospital is permitted to charge certain fees in connection with responding to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. The fees were authorized by FIPPA’s Regulation 460.
- Photocopies and computer print outs: $0.20 per page
- Records provided on CD-ROMS: $10.00 for each CD-ROM
- Manually searching for a record: $7.50 for each 15 minutes spent by any person
- Preparing a record for disclosure, including severing a part of the record: $7.50 for each 15 minutes spent by any person
- Developing a computer program or other method of producing a record from a machine readable record: $15 for each 15 minutes
Contact & Resources
Contact Compliance & Privacy Office
If you have questions, contact the Compliance & Privacy Office.
Right of Appeal
If your request is denied, you can appeal the decision. To submit an appeal, contact:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Phone toll-free (Ontario only): 1-800-387-0073
Referring to the Records Inventory and Personal Information Bank may assist you when preparing to make a request for information. It includes an inventory of record types and list of personal information banks. If you have questions or will like more information on your appeal, please visit Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
Frequently Asked Questions
When the Hospital for Sick Children receives your request for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) Freedom of Information (FOI) Request, it initiates the following process:
- The Compliance & Privacy Office logs your request and assigns it a unique identifier. The identifier is used in correspondence with you (the requester), Hospital departments, and the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) (if applicable). Your identity remains confidential and is not shared with staff outside the Compliance & Privacy Office.
- The Compliance & Privacy Office reviews your request to ensure that there is sufficient detail to begin searching for records. If your request is too broad or unclear, the Compliance & Privacy Office will contact you to refine the request and determine what you are seeking.
- 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 Compliance & Privacy Office.
- Once records related to your request have been received by the Compliance & Privacy 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 or in part.
- When an access decision has been made, a final decision letter will be 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. You 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
SickKids will provide you with a fee estimate, if the additional fees are estimated to exceed $25.00. If the additional fees are estimated to exceed $100.00 or more you will be required to provide SickKids with a fee deposit of 50% 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.
Under FIPPA, SickKids has 30 days from the date of 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, and the instructions for appeal will be listed on the time extension letter.
If your request seems overly broad the Compliance & Privacy 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 30 day period.
No. Personal Health Information is excluded from the scope of FIPPA. This means that it cannot be accessed by making an FOI Request. Access to personal health information is governed by the Personal Health Information Protection Act. For information on accessing personal health information, please contact Health Information Management.
Some records are excluded or exempted, in whole or in part, from access under FIPPA. If the records you requested are partially exempted or excluded, the exempted and/or excluded areas will appear as blacked out on your copy of the records. You will then be provided with the applicable section of the legislation for every severance made to the record. As indicated in your final access decision letter you may appeal the access decision to the IPC.
Requesters are entitled to withdraw their FOI Request if they no longer wish to pursue access. Please contact the Compliance & Privacy Office to confirm your withdrawal.