What is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP)?

The Nova Scotia FOIPOP Review website gives some background on the act: Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to enact a Freedom of Information Act in 1977. Since that time, all other jurisdictions in the country have followed suit. The Act was replaced in 1993 by the considerably improved Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (in force 1994). All government departments and agencies were brought under the Act. Subsequently in 1999, a new Municipal Government Act was passed. It included access and privacy provisions similar to the provincial Act and applied to all municipalities and municipal bodies. In 1999, the provincial Act was also extended to cover local public bodies including hospitals, universities, colleges and school boards.

Pursuant to the Acts, all public bodies, municipalities and local public bodies are obliged to adopt a policy of accountability, openness and transparency and to provide a right of access to information with limited exceptions. They are also obliged to ensure the protection of individuals” personal privacy.

What records does the Beaton Institute have that fall under this Act?

University Papers. Access to the university papers held by the Beaton Institute would require that you file a request to view them. Because these papers are more like corporate papers and are in “hard storage,” they are not immediately available upon request like the majority of our records. All university paper requests should be forwarded to the Director of Cultural Resources, Catherine Arseneau. Please be as specific as possible in your request and provide your contact information.

Church Records. According to FOIPOP the general rule is that access to vital statistic is limited for the protection of privacy and to limit identity theft. The following records are generally open: birth records over 100 years old, marriage records over 75 years old, and death records over 50 years old. In some instances, however, the donating church did not give the Beaton Institute permission to have open records. On the other hand, you may request records that are more recent than those typically allowed open. In these cases you will need to request a letter from that church permitting you access into the records that you are interested in, and present that letter to Beaton Institute staff.

Miscellaneous Papers. Donors to an archive are able to negotiate a time limited restricted access when they donate their papers; at other times, for a variety of reasons (such as the fragility of the document) the Archivist may suggest that access to the item is limited. Very few of the Beaton Institute’s collections are restricted, but in the event that you wish to have access to something that is restricted, a brief consultation with the Archivist regarding the nature of your research may be all that is required. She may also need to consult the donor’s original agreement, and in rare cases, contact the original donor.

Please remember: Freedom of Information does not necessarily mean immediate access; in fact, in order to adhere to Protection of Privacy these records must be reviewed before access is granted.

What does the Beaton Institute do with the personal information it collects?

The privacy rights of visitors to the Beaton Institute website are fully protected by Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Any Personal information collected from researchers relates directly to operating programs such as Reference Services and Reprography Services. Such information is not used for any other purpose.

Where can I get more general information?

You may also like to consult the Nova Scotia FOIPOP review site, the Copyright Act of the Copyright Board of Canada, and the Copyright Information page by Canadian Heritage.