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The Freedom of Information & Privacy (FOIP) Act aims to strike a balance between the public’s right to know and the individual’s right to privacy with regard to records held by the County.

  • Freedom of Information – to make public bodies more open and accountable by providing the public with a legislated right of access to government records.
  • Protection of Privacy – to prevent the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of personal information by public bodies.

Summary of FOIP Act

  • You have the right to request access to records held by the County, subject to limited and specific exceptions.
  • You have the right to access information that the County has about you.
  • You have the right to request the County to correct personal information it has about you.
  • The Act controls the way in which the County may collect personal information from you, controls the use that the County may make of your personal information and controls how the County can disclose information about you.
  • You have the right to request independent review of any issue related to FOIP by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Collecting Personal Information

The County will collect only the minimal personal information necessary for the operation of municipal programs and/or services in accordance with privacy legislation. Personal information is retained only as long as it is required to meet legislative or operational requirements. Examples of personal information that could be requested (depending on the program or service) include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Age
  • Banking information
  • Credit card details
  • Date of birth
  • Home or business address
  • Marital status
  • Name
  • Number of dependents

Programs that May Collect Information

The county endeavors to ensure that all personal information in its custody or control remains private in accordance with legislation and is collected, used, retained or disclosed for the intended purposes. The county will clearly identify the intended use for this type of information on corporate forms, website(s) and/or brochures. Examples of programs or operations which may collect personal information may include:

  • Program or event registration
  • Youth activities
  • Family aide
  • Contractual agreements
  • Tax installment payment plan

Disclosing Personal Information

The county will only disclose personal information in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). Circumstances may include but are not limited to written consent by the owner of the personal information, identified internal program(s), department use or requirement(s) or permission to do so by law.

Accessing information under the FOIP Act

If you would like to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, you may complete the Access to Information Form  and return it by mail or fax to the address below.  If you are making a request for general information, there is an initial fee of $25. Additional fees may be charged for processing costs in excess of $150. There is no fee for a request for personal information unless the cost of producing copies exceeds $10.  The request must provide sufficient detail to enable the County to identify the record(s) you require.  Please make your request is as specific as possible so we are able to identify the record you are requesting.

Mail Requests to:

Woodlands County
Box 60
Whitecourt, AB  T7S1N3

Attention:  FOIP Co-ordinator

Fax: 780-778-8402


Upon receipt of your completed Request to Access Information Form and initial application fee, the FOIP Coordinator will respond to your request within 30 calendar days to inform you whether the information can be released in whole or with redacted portions; cannot be released; or whether an extension is required to process large volumes of records and/or consult with third parties.  If it is determined that the information cannot be released, you will be provide with an explanation.  You will be contacted with an estimate of costs of producing copies and additional processing costs, if applicable.  The 30-day deadline may be extended if, for example, large volumes of records are involved or if third parties need to be consulted.

Accessing information outside of the FOIP Act

There are a number of records that can be released under certain circumstances.

Examples include:

Building permit information and related documentation
The records requested would be reviewed to determine whether any of the exceptions to disclosure in the FOIP Act apply and then all or part of the records would be released on the basis of this review.

Assessment roll information
The assessment roll is made available for inspection at Woodlands County Municipal Office in Whitecourt. Please note that it can be viewed only.

Tax and utility account information
If you are not the registered owner of the subject property, or named on the account, written permission is required from the registered owner or the individual named on the account.

Contact information for residents (ie. for service of documents, collection of debt or other legal matters) Under the Act, this information can only be disclosed if another piece of legislation provides for it.
The County is only permitted to release information for the purpose for which it was collected (ie. purposes of administering utility accounts or licensing program). The information is not collected for the examples given and, therefore, the County is prohibited by the Act in providing information to requestors.

Under certain circumstances, address information may be obtained through the Land Titles Office.

* Examples of legislation include Maintenance Enforcement Act, Income Tax Act.

Information regarding a complainant
The County’s practice is to not release the personal information of an individual who files a complaint against another individual unless this information is necessary to resolving the issue (eg. required at trial). If the name of the complainant is to be released, the individual will be advised prior to having their name disclosed.

Information regarding bylaw infractions
The County is unable to advise whether or not an individual or business has been issued a notice or offence ticket regarding the violation of a bylaw. The County can only confirm that bylaws are enforced when individuals and businesses are found to be in non-compliance.