The University of Toronto is committed to protection of privacy and transparency, and like other publicly funded Ontario universities, is covered by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act FIPPA.
Key purposes of FIPPA are to:
- Provide the public a right of access to university records subject to limited exemptions;
- Protect the privacy of personal information about individuals held by universities;
- Provide individuals with a right of access to their own personal information.
Most University records are subject to the Act and the majority will be available if requested.
Information regarding FIPPA and Covid-19
The University is committed to the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), including access to information.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most University faculty and staff are working remotely to protect health and safety. This may affect the University’s ability to search for records responsive to your request. Some record holdings may not be remotely accessible. This is particularly so for paper and other physical records stored at the University.
Many University faculty and staff have exigent demands specifically related to the COVID-19 outbreak and to maintain the University’s critical operations. These individuals may not have time to process FIPPA access requests at this time.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC), which oversees information and privacy rights under FIPPA in Ontario, has closed its physical office and posted a detailed notice about the closure on its website.
The IPC expects institutions, such as the University, to comply with Ontario’s access law, including processing requests, but recognizes that this is an exceptional circumstance and understands that many organizations will be unable to meet the 30-day response requirement.
The University recognizes the timelines set out in FIPPA and remains committed to supporting access under FIPPA as effectively as possible in the current circumstances. The timing and detailed processing of your request may be affected for the reasons set out above.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy campus office is closed, but staff are working remotely and can be reached by phone or email.
You can make requests electronically via e-mail. The $5.00 request fee will be deferred until the University resumes normal operations.
You can also make Requests and send request fees by post. Office mail is currently being retrieved on a weekly basis and actioned upon receipt. Please send requests or other mail to:
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office
University of Toronto
Room 104, McMurrich Building
12 Queen’s Park Crescent W.
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8
The FIPPO will communicate with requesters regarding the status of their file within the legislated 30 day response deadline. Where possible, we will communicate with requesters by email, and encourage requesters to include their email address on all new requests.
We encourage you to contact us and we will work through these details with you as they pertain to your particular request.
Making an Access Request
- What is a request?
You will find much University information online, and much more is available if you contact the University department or faculty that may have the information that you are seeking.
You can also make a formal request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) for University records.
Making an access request is explained here.
- Who can make a FIPPA request?
Any person can make a request under FIPPA.
- How do I make a request?
Requests must be in writing. You can use the University request form.
- Are there fees or costs for making a request?
A mandatory $5.00, which cannot be waived, must be paid when making a request.
FIPPA also provides for fees for search time, copies/media, and preparation.
If additional fees are payable, we will inform you in writing within 30 days of your request.
FIPPA provides for waiver of fees if it is fair and equitable to do so.
Fees and waivers are explained here.
- How can I pay fees?
You can pay the $5.00 request fee and any search and preparation fees that are later required by cheque, payable to the University of Toronto, or in cash.
Please mail cheques to:
FIPP Office, University of Toronto,
McMurrich Building, Rm 104
12 Queen's Park Crescent W, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8.
To pay fees in cash, please visit the FIPP Office during regular business hours.
- How long do requests take to process?
Most requests are processed in 30 days. FIPPA provides more time to notify affected parties, and for large records or searches. The University will notify you of processing times in writing.
- What will the University access decision say?
Access decisions may grant access to all requested records, some, portions of some, or none. Some record(s) are not releasable, or not available through FIPPA. For example, the University is required to protect personal and third party information, and most employment-related and research records are not covered by FIPPA.
- What can I do if I am not satisfied with a FIPPA decision made by the University?
You may appeal a FIPPA decision to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
- How does the University protect privacy?
The University is committed to protecting the personal privacy of students, faculty and staff. For more information, please see our resources.
- What personal information does the University collect?
The University only collects personal information that is needed for official University functions and tasks.
- How do individuals learn about their personal information at the University?
The University provides notices of collection, including the principal purpose or purposes for which personal information is intended to be used, on Acorn, in calendars, in course materials, and in offer and program description materials.
An expanded notice of collection provides more detail.
- How does the University handle personal information?
The University only uses personal information consistent with its notices and as required or authorized by law.
Personal information is only shared within the University on a need-to-know basis with officials who need it for official University tasks.
Where can I find more information?
You will find more information in our resources, or contact the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office, and we would be happy to answer your questions.