Access to Information
Freedom of Information Officer
College of Pharmacists of British Columbia
200-1765 West 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V6J 5C6
Tel: (604) 733-2440
The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia is listed among the Governing Bodies of Professions in Schedule 3 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). As a public body, the College is accountable to the public and operates in the public interest (as well as in the interest of the pharmacy profession). The College protects personal privacy and respects the information rights provided for under FIPPA, including:
- giving the public a right of access to records
- according individuals a right of access to personal information about themselves
- granting individuals a right to request correction of their personal information
- specifying limited exceptions to these rights of access
III. Accessing records about the College and its activities
There is a form that you may use to request records of the College: Request for Access to Records Form
Please provide your full contact information as well as details describing the records that you are seeking. Be as specific as possible so that College staff will be able to locate the correct documents.
For reference, this is an example of a request for general records:
“A copy of the College’s 2018 evacuation plan in the event of an emergency (for 1765 West 8th Avenue)”
IV. Accessing records of personal information
Under FIPPA, you also have the right to request records that contain information about you. The College does not charge fees for providing access to records of personal information.
There is a form that you may use to request access to records held by the College: Request for Access to Records Form
Please provide your full contact information and describe the personal records you require, being as specific as possible. Specify a date range for the records, where applicable. You will later be asked to provide two identifying particulars (such as registration number and date of birth) in order to verify your identity.
For reference, this is an example of a request for personal records:
“A copy of the registration records relating to Mr. X for the time period of 1 Jan 2018 to 30 March 2018”
When requesting records on another individual’s behalf, you must provide proof of authorization, with the signed consent of the individual. Should you have any questions about this process, please contact the FOI Officer for more details.
If you are interested in information about prescription medications dispensed to an individual in British Columbia, you will need to contact the Ministry of Health, which manages PharmaNet. The Ministry is responsible for all PharmaNet profile support services, including printing and distributing PharmaNet profiles as well as patient profile corrections.
Ministry of Health – PharmaNet
PO Box 9652 STN PROV GOVT, Victoria, BC, V8V 3C8
V. Tips on submitting an FOI request
There are a few things to keep in mind when making an FOI request:
- Ensure that you are seeking records, not answers to particular questions.
As an example, if you are interested in knowing what the Inquiry Committee discussed at its June meeting, rather than asking “What did the Inquiry Committee discuss at its June meeting?”, under FOI you would ask to receive “a copy of the minutes of the Inquiry Committee’s June 2018 meeting”
- Verify whether the information you are seeking is already publicly available.
The College makes a range of information publicly available on its website, including annual reports, board meeting minutes and outcomes of complaints. Before submitting an FOI request, please check to see if the information you are looking for is already published.
- Clearly and concisely describe the records that you need. This will simplify the search for records and minimize any processing fees.
If applicable, provide a date or date range for the records you are seeking. Under section 5 of FIPPA, in order to obtain access to a record, you must make a written request that provides sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of the College to identify the records sought with a reasonable effort.
- Seek advice and assistance.
If you have any questions about the FOI process, including how to submit an FOI request, please contact the FOI Officer at FOI@bcpharmacists.org The College has a duty to assist applicants.
The College charges a non-refundable fee of $10 for all General FOI requests. General FOI requests will not be processed until the fee is received. The College does not charge fees for providing access to records of personal information.
Under section 75 of FIPPA, the College may also charge a fee for the following services:
- Locating, retrieving and producing records (if longer than 3 hours)
- Preparing records for disclosure
- Shipping and handling records
- Photocopying records
If there is a fee associated in processing your request, the FOI Officer will provide you with a fee estimate. In some cases, involving a large volume of records, you may be required to pay a deposit.
The maximum fees are set out in Schedule 1 of the FIPPA Regulation. Generally speaking, services are charged at $7.50 per 15 minutes ($30.00 / hour): http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/loo93/ loo93/155_2012
If you request in writing to be excused from paying fees, the College may waive all or part of the fees if it is fair to excuse payment or if the records relate to a matter of public interest.
VII. Correcting personal information
In the event that records of your personal information held by the College are not up-to-date or not accurate, please notify Registration: Registration@bcpharmacists.org
VIII. Requesting an FOI review
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) provides independent oversight and enforcement of access and privacy laws in British Columbia. The Commissioner has the power to investigate, mediate, and resolve privacy complaints and access to information disputes.
Should you wish to request a review of the College’s FOI decision, you must do so in writing within 30 days of being notified of the FOI decision. The OIPC has a form to use for this purpose: https://www.oipc.bc.ca/media/11778/form_oipc-privacy-complaint-fippa.pdf