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Access to County Records

Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) contains the rules for making information available to the public while protecting personal information.

MFIPPA establishes a process by which an individual may request access to records held by a municipality. A "record" by definition in the Act includes any record of information however recorded, whether in printed form, on film, by electronic means or otherwise. For the complete definition refer to the "Interpretation" section of the Act.

The general right of access to records is subject to certain specified exceptions. For example, an applicant will not be provided access to someone's personal information without their permission. For a complete list of exemptions refer to the "Exemptions" section of MFIPPA.

Routine Disclosure Requests

The majority of information held by Northumberland County can be accessed through the County website or by contacting staff, without using the formal process under the Act. Examples of this include: answers to questions related to departmental operations, agendas, minutes, by-laws, publications, policies and procedures. Please refer to the County's Routine Disclosure and Dissemination Policy. Link to document

Formal Requests

A formal request for recorded information is a formal process to access records that are not routinely available. Unlike routine requests, the formal request must be made in writing. The request is to be made on the prescribed form and should provide sufficient detail to assist staff in locating/retrieving the records. Link to document


The Act states that a $5 application fee is required for all formal requests. The County may also charge a fee for certain costs for example photocopying and staff time for document searches. It is important that the request contains a detailed description of the records being requested. If the costs exceed $25 in processing a formal request, the applicant will be provided with a fee estimate before the application is fully processed.

Timelines, Extensions and Appeals

The Act provides for thirty days from the date of receipt for the County to respond to the request. The County must either provide the requested records, or notify that the records do not exist or are outside of the control of the County. An extension may be requested if there is a high volume to records or consultations are required outside the County in order to comply with the request. The Act also provides an appeal procedure involving the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Formal requests including the $5 fee may be hand delivered or mailed to:
Northumberland County Clerk's Office
Attention: Nancy MacDonald
555 Courthouse Road
Cobourg, Ontario K9A 5J6

Inquiries may be made to:
Nancy MacDonald, Manager of Legislative Services/Clerk
Phone: 905-372-3329 ext. 2238

For more information

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

Information Privacy Commission

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