Freedom of Information Office

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) gives individuals the right to access information under the control of government institutions. While previously applicable to municipalities and universities/colleges, the FIPPA was extended to include Hospitals effective January 1st, 2012.

Under the expanded legislation, any member of the public has a right to request access to any record within the custody and control of the hospital. It is important to note that the legislation balances a culture of openness and transparency with the need to ensure the privacy of individuals by protecting personal information.

FIPPA is different from the Personal Health Information Protection Act, which governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information. To make a request for personal health information (health records), please contact the Release of Information office.

St. Mary’s General Hospital is committed to being transparent and accountable to our community and stakeholders. We will make every effort possible to provide appropriate access to our records. In some cases, we will not be able to provide access to certain records, or parts of records, because the Act includes limited protections for information holdings. For example, St. Mary’s may be required to protect the rights of another person or organization.

Note that FIPPA does not apply to:

  • Records in the Hospital’s custody or control prior to January 1, 2007;
  • Foundation operations and donor records;
  • Labour relations and employment-related records leading to agreements;
  • Research and teaching materials;
  • Patient records/personal health information.

Accessing Information – Informal Requests:

  • First – explore our website! Many different types of records are posted on our website – including information about quality of care and hospital expenses. A disclosure archive will also be developed in this section of our website, as we publish previously completed FOI requests. You may find that what you are looking for is already available.
  • Are you a member of the media? St. Mary’s welcomes all media requests, and our Communications team would be happy to work with you to provide you with the information you need. To contact Communications, call 519-749-6578 ext. 1501.
  • Understand our Directory of Records and Personal Information Bank. The Directory of Records identifies the types of Records the Hospital maintains, as well as the time period that the record is maintained for. The hospital’s Personal Information Bank outlines the personal information the organization keeps. To read St. Mary’s Record Management Policy, click here.

How to Make a Formal Freedom of Information (FOI) Request

FOI Requests must be made in writing, using the Information Access Form.

Once complete, please mail the form, and the required application fee of $5.00 (in the form of a cheque payable to St. Mary’s General Hospital) to:

Freedom of Information Office
St. Mary’s General Hospital
911 Queen’s Blvd., Kitchener, ON
N2M 1B2

Electronic requests will not be accepted.

Additional Information

  • The $5.00 application fee only covers the initial request for information. Depending on the nature of your request, additional fees may be charged. Click here to see a copy of the Fee Schedule.
  • When making a request, please be clear and identify the specific record(s) or personal information to which you seek access. It is also helpful if you can specify dates or a time period for the records/information you request. Keeping the scope of your request narrow and specific will enhance our ability to complete your request in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • St. Mary’s is committed to meeting the 30 day time limit within which organizations are expected to complete requests. However, depending on the nature of the request, it could be completed sooner than 30 days. Some requests may also require us to contact additional parties, and those requests may take longer than 30 days.

You may contact the Freedom of Information Office at 519-749-6578 ext. 1209.