Friday, November 12, 2010

FIPPA Request for CAS Policy Manual & By-Laws & Ministry Directives

NOTE: FIPPA does not normally apply to Children's Aid Societies. It did in this case only because this particular CAS was taken over by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services making it a government agency until it is either reconstituted with a new board etc, or shut down to be amalgamated with another neighboring Society.

In October of 2010, John Dunn requested via a hand-written fippa request, a copy of the policies and procedures manual of the Children's Aid Society of Huron-Perth, it's by-laws, and the last five directives issued to that agency by the Ministry.

The Ministry has responded so far by stating that it can provide the requested materials given Dunn pay the required fees.

The Ministry also outlined the legislation and procedures to request a fee waiver in order to avoid financial hardship for paying the fees associated with copying the pages, and producing the CD of the Policy and Procedures Manual.

Dunn responded with the following fee waiver request.

Enza Ragone
Ministry of Children and Youth Services

RE: Fippa request for Huron-Perth CAS Policy and Procedures Manual, By-Laws and Directives Issued by Ministry

On Friday November 12, 2010 I received your letter dated November 05, 2010 (Post dated Nov 08, 2010) in response to my FIPPA request.

I am requesting a fair and equitable fee waiver of all of the fee associated with Request CYS2010/0044 in accordance with subsections 57 (4)(b) and (c) of the Act based on the following grounds.

Grounds for Fee Waiver

1.) Subsection 57 (4)(b) states that the fee shall be waived if the payment will cause financial hardship for the person requesting the record.

I am not currently employed, nor am I on ODSP, or OW, and I have not had any form of income for many years, besides a one month assignment from Kelly Services in August of 2010 and a one week assignment in September of 2010 and I can not afford the fee, despite the fact that it is $20.60. To me, this amount of money, if I had it, would assist in the purchase of bus tickets, or food.

At this time, I have a personal bank balance of approximately $317 (see attached screen capture) which I have kept, and have no foreseeable income at this time.

I am required to attend at court in Toronto in relation to another FIPPA matter I had to appeal, and which has gone to Judicial Review at the request of the City of Ottawa (See MO-2408 and CV-09-1513 which is slated for Dec 7, 2010 at Osgood Hall) that I have to purchase a train ticket to attend for $118 (see attached train fair). All parties have agreed to waive costs in this matter, therefore eliminating the possibility of me recovering my train fair of $118.

This alone only leaves me with approximately $200 dollars for the next month at least, to live on, to buy food, and any other expenses (TTC tickets) possibly lodigng between now and including while I am in Toronto for the entire week which enables me to get a free ride back to Ottawa with a friend on the following Saturday in December.

If this particular request for a fee wavier is not granted, I will be forced to appeal this decision with the IPC therefore causing me a further financial hardship and potential associated costs in the future.

2.) Subsection 57 (4)(c) states that the fee shall be waived if dissemination will benefit the public health or safety.

Dissemination of this information will benefit the public health and safety in that vulnerable children and youth in foster care or youth justice residences who are under the care of a Children's Aid Society in Ontario, advocates in the community, family members, and supporters of those vulnerable children and youth will finally obtain access to this information which will educate them on their rights and the proper procedures which are to be adhered to by child welfare officials with regard to decisions that significantly affect their lives in both long and short terms, which is in line with the principals of fundamental justice, and fairness and equal treatment under the law, which are also charter protected rights and freedoms.

Although these policies are that of one agency in Ontario, they are very similar to those of all of the Societies across the province and therefore can be used to educate those whose lives are affected by them, and to date have been kept in the dark about them as the Societies do not permit the public to view them.

For these reasons, I am requesting the fee in this particular request to be waived and will provide whom ever I have to with any other materials within reason to support my stated grounds for the waiver request above.

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Tuesday Nov 23, 2010

The Ministry called me back to let me know that the information I had provided to them (above) was not enough and that I could appeal their decision or contact them if I had any questions.

Not wanting to proceed to an appeal just yet, I asked her if I could send in a pay stub from the temp agency which shows I have only made about 2,000 dollars this entire year, which is way below the official poverty level in Ontario as supporting documentation to support my claim in addition to the scans of my bank balance and via ticket I already submitted previously.

She informed me that I could send this in and they will issue a new decision letter (either refusing to allow me to waive the fee, or to permit the material to be submitted to me due to the financial hardship involved in having to pay the fee.

I await their reply now.

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