Frequently Asked Questions

Access to Information

Nunavut’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) helps to protect your personal information held by territorial government organizations. It is the responsibility of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) to ensure that government organizations abide by the Act.

The following are answers to questions most frequently asked about personal privacy and government-held information.

The ATIPP Act came into effect on in the Northwest Territories on December 31st, 1996 and became part of the law of Nunavut on division day. It applies to all territorial departments and most territorial agencies, boards and commissions, as well as Aurora College.

The list of all of the government organizations covered by the Act, can be accessed directly from (web address of this Office) or http://www.eia.gov.nu.ca/PDF/contactlist.pdf

The Act gives everyone a right of access to most recorded information held by government organizations. This information may appear on paper, microfilm or computer disk and includes things like photographs and maps. You also have the right to request access to and correction of government-held personal information about you. Personal information includes your address, sex, age, education and other information about you held by a government organization.

No. The Acts apply only to territorial government organizations. It does not apply to private companies, banks, credit bureaus, hospitals, doctors' records or federal government organizations.

Copies of the provincial Act are generally available for viewing throughout Nunavut at most government offices. You can also obtain a copy at the following web sites:

If you wish, you may obtain a copy of the Act by contacting the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Office, toll free, at 1-888-521-7088

You can obtain the information you want, in many cases, just by calling, writing or visiting the appropriate government organization. (If unsure of an address or telephone number, consult the Blue pages in your telephone directory.)

If you didn't obtain the information you want, make a written access to information request.

Not at all. Simply follow these steps:

Step 1: Complete a request form, or write a letter stating that you are requesting information under the Acts. (Request forms are available from government organizations across the territories or on line on this web site)

Step 2: Forward the completed request form or letter to the "Access to Information and Privacy Co-ordinator" at the government organization most likely to have the information you are looking for. Please note: A $25 application fee must accompany your request, payable to "The Government of Nunavut" unless the information you are seeking is your own personal information.

Depending on how much information you have requested and how difficult it is to locate and copy, you may be charged for photocopying, shipping costs, the time required to locate and prepare the records you've requested, or any other costs associated with replying to your request. You will be advised before the cost are incurred of the
estimated cost.

Once a government organization receives your request and the application fee, you are entitled to a response within 30 calendar days.

Not necessarily. While the Act provides a right of access to most government-held information, exemptions may apply. Exemptions describe circumstances in which the government can refuse to disclose information.

If a government organization denies you access to information, it must provide reasons for doing so, in writing, and inform you of your right to ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review the decision.

No, there is no cost for asking the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review any matter.

Yes. Normally, your appeal must be filed within 30 days of receiving a decision from the government organization.

If you have questions of a general nature about access to government-held information or about the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, please contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner is appointed by the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. This independence from the government of the day allows the Commissioner to be impartial when carrying out duties under the Acts.

The Act came into effect on in the Northwest Territories on December 31st, 1996 and became part of the law of Nunavut on division day. It applies to all territorial departments and most territorial agencies, boards and commissions, as well as Aurora College.

"Personal information" means recorded information about you. This may include your name, address, sex, age, education, medical or employment history - and any other information about you.

Government organizations collect personal information as part of their role in providing services to the public. You give personal information to a government organization when you fill out an application for programs or services, such as a driver's licence or building permit.

The Act requires government organizations to protect the privacy of your personal information in their possession. There are specific rules on how they may collect, use, retain, disclose and dispose of your personal information.

The government organization must tell you how it intends to use the information it collects. It must also provide you with the name of the person in the organization who can answer any questions you may have about how your personal information will be used.

Access to your personal information is usually available only to persons in the government organization who need the information to do their jobs.

There are certain public records containing personal information which are open to all members of the public. Land registration records and assessment rolls are examples of this type of record.

There is no master file about you. If you've dealt with a government organization, it will probably have information about you. For example, the Department of Transportation has your driving record, a school board has your child's school records and the Department of Health and Social Services has your doctor's billing records.

In most circumstances, the Act gives you the right to see your personal information held by a government organization. In many cases, you should be able to obtain your personal information just by calling, writing or visiting the appropriate government organization. (If unsure of an address or telephone number, consult the Blue Pages in your telephone directory.)

Contact the government organization which has the information and explain that you would like to correct your personal information. If the government organization refuses to correct your personal information, you may require that a statement of disagreement be attached to your file.

If you didn't obtain the information you want, or they refuse to correct your personal information, make a written Request for Information.

Not really. Simply follow these steps:

Step 1:
Complete a request form, or write a letter stating that you are requesting information or asking for a correction of your personal information under the Act. (Request forms are available on line and from government organizations around Nunavut)

Step 2: Forward the completed request form or letter to the "Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Co-ordinator" at the government organization most likely to have the information you are looking for.

There is generally no fee to request your own personal information. Depending on the extent of the request and the number of records requested, however, you may be charged for the time required to locate and prepare records containing your personal information and for photocopying and shipping costs.

Government organizations that receive information requests under the Acts must respond within 30 calendar days of receipt of a request.

If the government organization won't allow you to see or correct your personal information, you have the right to ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review the decision made. There is no cost to file a Request for Review.

To request a review, write a letter to the IPC, describing why you are not satisfied with the government organization's decision.