Municipalities are listed among the public bodies governed by An Act Respecting Access to Documents held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information.
According to this law, public bodies must provide access to all the documents they hold in the performance of their duties, regardless of the form of these documents. Despite the law’s objective of transparency, the person in charge of access to documents benefits from considerable discretionary powers and not all documents are accessible. For example, personal notes written on a document, sketches, outlines, drafts and preliminary notes are excluded.
It is possible to consult documents on site or to request them in electronic or paper format. There is no charge for on site consultation. There may however be fees for the transcription, transmission or copying of electronic or paper copies. In such a case, the requestor must be informed of the approximate costs prior to the documents being prepared for transmission. It should be noted that on site consultation may be the sole option if reproduction would endanger the preservation of the document or raise serious practical difficulties owing to its form. Additionally, the exercise of the right of access to a document is subject to the rights respecting intellectual property. It is also important to note that the right of access applies only to documents that can be released without requiring computation or comparison of information.
No public body may deny access to a document for the sole reason that it contains certain information that, according to this Act, it must or may refuse to release. The person in charge may however deny access where the information forms the substance of the document. In other cases, the public body must give access to the requested document after deleting only the information to which access is not authorized.
Requests may be submitted verbally or in writing. It is however recommended to submit requests in writing by means of the form to that effect available on the Town website. The request must be sufficiently precise to enable the person in charge to identify the document. It is important to keep in mind that an access request must be for a document and not for information. The person in charge designated for the Town of Baie-D’Urfé is the Town Clerk. According to the law, the person in charge must respond within 20 days following the receipt of the request. This delay may be extended by 10 days.