Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP Act) provides for a right of access to records held by public bodies such as the Edmonton Police Service (EPS). The EPS FOIPP Unit processes all requests made to the EPS pursuant to the FOIPP Act. If you want to make such a request, your request must be in writing, you must provide enough detail to enable the EPS FOIPP Unit to identify the records you are seeking, and you must provide your telephone number and address.
There are two types of requests for records that can be made pursuant to the FOIPP Act: Personal Requests and General Requests. There may be fees involved in processing such requests depending on the type and volume of records being requested (see section on fees). Both requests require the Request to Access Information form to be filled out and submitted to:
Edmonton Police Service FOIPP Unit
9620 – 103A Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5H 0H7
Tel: (780) 421-3346
Fax: (780) 421-3349
A personal request is a request for records that contain your personal information. Personal information is defined in the FOIPP Act as “recorded information about an identifiable individual.” Some examples of personal information are your name, date of birth, telephone number, an identifying number or symbol, or fingerprints. Either you or someone who you have authorized (in writing) to access your personal information (e.g. your lawyer) can make a written request for records containing your personal information.
Requests for personal information can be, for example, for all records relating to the investigation of specific event or case file such as an assault, robbery, or fraud complaint in which you are named, your EPS recruit application file, recordings of calls you made to 911 or to the EPS non-emergency complaint line, or your arrest records. If you are not aware of what records the EPS may have that relate to you, you may make an application for a listing of all EPS case files in which you are named.
Pursuant to the privacy provisions of the FOIPP Act, the EPS cannot release someone else’s personal information to you. For example, the EPS will not release the arrest report of someone else or any other information about your family, friends or neighbours without their written consent.
A general request for information relates to records that do not contain your personal information. Requests for general information are usually topical in nature and relate to organizational operations that do not contain personal information. Examples of general requests are requests for budget records, training materials, or statistical information. When making a general request there is an initial $25 application fee. The EPS FOIPP Unit will not begin processing a general request until the initial application fee has been received.
You may request copies of current or historical EPS policies. Requests for historical policy are considered general requests and the initial $25 application fee applies.
Exceptions to Disclosure
While the FOIPP Act provides a process to access records, it also protects the privacy of individuals and contains a number of exceptions to disclosure. Some of the instances in which the EPS may not release records are if the records relate to:
- An ongoing prosecution. These records are not within the scope of the FOIPP Act and the EPS will not provide any records that relate to any criminal matter that is before the Courts at the time of the request.
- Someone else’s personal information (which is often referred to as “third party” personal information). The EPS will not release information about your relatives, friends or your neighbours or anyone else without their written consent. The EPS may neither confirm nor deny the existence of information that relates to someone else if the request is specifically for information about another person or persons.
- Information that could harm an ongoing or unsolved investigation, including investigations by our Professional Standards Branch.
- Information that could be used to harm members of the EPS or the public.
- Information obtained from other agencies. For example, if you are requesting information from Emergency Medical Services you must make your request to the City of Edmonton. Similarly, if you are seeking information from the RCMP, your request must be made directly to RCMP.
- Requests for information, not records. The FOIPP Act allows for access to records, not information. The EPS is not obliged to compile information if it does not exist as a record. There is no right of access to verbal communications.
Requests for Correction to Personal Information
An individual who believes there is an error or omission in a record containing their personal information held by the EPS may request that the EPS correct the information. You may make a Request for correction by sending a letter to the EPS FOIPP Unit. There is no fee to make a request for correction to your personal information.