The Municipal Government Act (MGA), which provides authority for most of the activities and operations of municipal governments in Nova Scotia, also contains provisions relating to freedom of information and protection of privacy. These provisions are found in Part XX of the Act.
The intent of Part XX of the MGA is to balance two principles:
- Freedom of information: whenever possible, information held by the municipality should be made available to the public
- Protection of privacy: the municipality should not improperly collect or disclose personal information.
The legislation provides that members of the public have:
- the right to request access to information held by the municipality
- the right to access personal information about themselves that is held by the municipality
- the right to request correction to their personal information that is held by the municipality
- controls on the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information by the municipality
- the right to request independent review of decisions made under the access to information process
How do I access municipal records?
- Start by checking the routine disclosure plans that have been newly established by the different groups (called business units) that make up the Halifax Regional Municipality. If what you are looking for is listed in a routine disclosure plan, you can submit a routine disclosure request for the information or records you need.
- If you cannot find the information or records you are looking for within a routine disclosure plan, simply contact the business unit you think might have the information you are looking for. If the information you are looking for is general in nature, they may be able to provide it to you without filing a formal Application for Access to a Record.
- If the information or records you are looking for are not available through routine disclosure plans or routinely available through the business units, you have to file an Application for Access to a Record.
- If you are looking for historical municipal records (from more than 15 years ago, though this may vary), they are publicly available at Halifax Municipal Archives. You can search for these records via the Archives' Database, or by Contacting the Archives.
The municipality does not process access requests for the following public bodies: Halifax Regional Police, Halifax Water, and the Halifax Regional School Board. Each of these groups has its own policies for how to access records:
Halifax Regional Police
Halifax Regional Centre for Education