The Municipality of Port Hope prides itself on its efforts to be both accountable and transparent about processes and information flow. For this reason, each department has prepared a Routine Disclosure Plan identifying the types of documentation which are openly available to anyone interested. 

The intent of our Routine Disclosure Plan approach is to readily identify to the public those types of documentation, information and municipal records that may be requested by the public without going through a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request process.

 Routine Disclosure Plan

Recommendation
That a bylaw be prepared to endorse and adopt a Corporate Routine Disclosure Plan to facilitate timely, open, transparent and accountable information flow to the public in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (MFIPPA) legislation.

Background
The Municipal Act amendments of 2007 required Municipalities to develop and implement accountability and transparency policies. As an extension of the Municipal Act premise for transparency, Corporate Services has been working with Departments over the last year to develop a Routine Disclosure Plan for each municipal Department. 

The intent of the Routine Disclosure Plan approach is to readily identify to the public those types of documentation, information and municipal records that may be requested by the public without going through a formal Freedom of Information request process. Much of the documentation and information that is publicly available has not traditionally been identified in an easy, readable format and similarly, Staff have found it difficult to understand and appreciate what documentation and information may be readily released in terms of FOI provisions. 

The Routine Disclosure Plan now sets out a summary of the types of documentation and information that the public may request and may be readily disclosed. All applicable Fees and Charges will apply in terms of the manner and form the information is released to the public. Any information requests that are outside of the Routine Disclosure Plan may be requested of the lead Department and every effort will be made to satisfy the request within the provisions of the Freedom of Information guidelines. Where a Department feels the requested information may disclose personal information about an identifiable individual, the Department will be required to consult with Corporate Services before releasing the information. Where any documentation or information requested may disclose personal information that may readily identify an individual, that information is required by MFIPPA to be withheld. Where documentation or information access requested is subsequently denied, members of the public may elect to go through a formal FOI prescribed process with applicable filing fee; however, given that the Routine Disclosure Plan program is designed with this premise in mind, the likelihood of a different outcome through a formal FOI process is minimal.

Any formal request for access through the legislation where access is denied may be appealed to the Information and Privacy Commission under a prescribed process with a filing fee.

The Municipality of Port Hope believes with the introduction of the Routine Disclosure Plan, the residents of Port Hope will have a much better understanding of the types of documentation, information and records each Department holds. It will also facilitate their requests for access to the documentation in a streamlined approach for both residents and Staff.

Conclusion
That Council give direction for a bylaw to be prepared to adopt the Corporate Routine Disclosure Plan as presented.

 Routine Disclosure Plan By-Law

If you wish to receive a copy of By-law 87/2010 Being a By-law to Establish a Corporate Routine Disclosure Plan, please contact Corporate Services by calling 905-885-4544 or by email.

For information that is not listed in the  Routine Disclosure Plan, the MFIPPA provides an avenue to access municipal information. All applications must be submitted to the Corporate Services office at 56 Queen Street, Port Hope, in person or by mail, with the applicable filing fee of $5.00 for each request under the MFIPPA.  The MFIPPA also provides that certain fees can be charged for access to records, for example search time and photocopies.