Common questions

What kind of records can I request from the municipality?

You have the right to request any record in the custody or control of the municipality. Please note that the municipality does not process access requests for the following public bodies:

How do I make a request?

Before submitting a formal access request, you should always check the routine disclosure plans established by the municipality’s business units to see if the information you are looking for is routinely available.

If what you are looking for is not listed within those plans, 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.

If you are unable to obtain the records you are looking for through the applicable business unit, you will have to submit a formal request for records to the Access & Privacy Office. Learn more about how to file a request for access to records held by the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).

Is there a fee to process my request?

There is a $5 application fee for access to general records. There is no charge for applications for personal information or correction of personal information.

The application fee will not be refunded, even if you are denied full or partial access to the records.

Are there additional fees charged after the initial application fee?

The municipality has the authority to charge for time for preparing the information, copying of the information, and sending the records. In these instances, you will be provided with a fee estimate prior to your request being processed.

How long does an access request take to process?

Under the legislation, the municipality is required to respond to your request within 30 calendar days. If additional time is required (because your request was not detailed enough, you requested a large volume of records, or a third party has to be consulted), an extension can be given but the municipality is required to advise you about when a response can be expected.

What can I expect during the processing of my request?

In processing your Application for Access to a Record under Part XX of the Municipal Government Act, the municipality’s Access and Privacy Office will:

  1.  offer reasonable assistance throughout the request process
  2.  provide information on the legislation including information on the processing of your request and your right to complain to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) Review Office
  3.  inform you as appropriate and without undue delay when your request needs to be clarified
  4.  make every reasonable effort to locate and retrieve the requested records under the control of the municipality
  5.  apply limited and specific exemptions to the requested records
  6.  provide accurate and complete responses
  7.  provide timely access to the requested information
  8.  provide records in the format requested as appropriate and where possible
  9.  provide an appropriate location within the municipality to examine the requested information

What if I am denied information?

The municipality must provide you with the reasons why have you been denied access to records, whether in full or in part. If you are not satisfied with these reasons, you may submit a request for review to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia (OIPC). A review must be requested within 60 days of notification of the decision.

What are the acceptable reasons to request a review?

You can request a review if:

  •  your request for access is either fully or partially denied
  •  you are told the records do not exist and you do not agree
  •  you do not agree with estimate of fees
  •  you did not receive a response to your application
  •  you do not agree with the extension of the 30-day response period
  •  your request to correct personal information has been denied
  •  you are a third party to an application and you do not agree with the decision of the municipality to release your personal information or information that you may have an interest in

What is an Information and Privacy Commissioner?

The Information and Privacy Commissioner is an independent ombudsman appointed by the Governor in Council. The Commissioner's role is to review decisions of public bodies when people are not satisfied with the response they have received. When an applicant, who submits an Application for Access to a Record, is unhappy with the decision the municipality has made relative to the records they have requested access to, they have the right to file an appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia.

What is personal information?

Personal information is recorded information on an identifiable individual including:

  •  the individual's name, address, telephone number or email address
  •  the individual's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, or religious or political beliefs or associations
  •  the individual's age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or family status
  •  an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual, including an IP address
  •  the individual's fingerprints, blood type or inheritable characteristics
  •  information about the individual's health-care history, including a physical or mental disability
  •  information about the individual's educational, financial, criminal or employment history
  •  anyone else's opinions about the individual
  •  the individual's personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else

Is my personal information protected?

Provincial legislation protects personal privacy by restricting the collection, use, and disclosure of your personal information. If you have any questions about the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information by the municipality, please call 902.943.2148 or e-mail

How do access and privacy rights apply to communications from the public?

All records in the custody or under the municipality are subject to the provisions of the access and privacy legislation (Part XX of the Municipal Government Act). This includes communications addressed to the municipality from the public and, as such, the communications may be disclosed to others than those who were addressed by the correspondence.

Access and privacy legislation tries to balance an individual's right to access records and an individual's right to privacy.

Email and other electronic messages

Email and other electronic messages sent to those domain names owned by the municipality are subject to the access and privacy legislation. Senders of messages should be aware that information contained in electronic communications (or printed versions thereof) may be disclosed to others under the legislation.

Submissions to Regional Council, community council, committees, etc.

If you are submitting letters, faxes, emails, presentations or other communications to Halifax Regional Council, community council or other committees of council, your name and the submission itself will become part of the public record and may appear on or be distributed to other members of the public upon request. Your signature and contact information will be removed before your submission is posted online or distributed to the public; however, because your submission is part of the public record it can be viewed in full by request to the Municipal Clerk's Office.

How do I contact the Access and Privacy Office?

Access and Privacy Office

Phone: 902.943.2148

For questions or assistance with privacy related topics, please email:

For questions or assistance with access related topics, please email:

By mail:
Access and Privacy Office
Halifax Regional Municipality
PO Box 1749
Halifax, NS
B3J 3A5

In person:
Access and Privacy Office
Halifax Regional Municipality
Duke Tower
5251 Duke Street
7th Floor
Halifax, NS