Learn about your options for obtaining information from the City of Surrey.

Information is routinely available to the public. Occasionally, a review is required, or a coordinated effort is needed to gather information for release.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the 'Act') provides specific information and privacy rights regarding information that is collected or controlled by public bodies in British Columbia.

Make a Formal FOI Request

Start Your Search with an Informal Request

Before you make a formal request for information, try contacting the departments within the City that may have the information you are seeking. The Act is not intended to replace existing means of obtaining information.

Some Departments release routine information and are authorized by the Surrey Fee-Setting Bylaw and/or Building Bylaw to charge a fee. You will be advised whether or not a formal request is needed, and the department may be able to assist you with the wording of your request so that the information can be easily researched.

Information you can receive through an informal request with front line staff includes:

  • answers to questions related to departmental operations,
  • open agendas, open minutes, bylaws, and
  • certain property related information, publications, policies and procedures.

City of Surrey Main Department Contacts:

Requests for Surrey Fire Service records must be requested directly from the Fire Department. This includes Fire Incident Reports, Traffic Accident Attendance/Medical Assistance, Incident Questionnaires and Dispatch Recordings.

If you are unsure of what department your request should be directed to, please contact General Information at 604-591-4011 or clerks@surrey.ca for assistance.

How to make a Formal Request

If the department you contact is unable to provide information, you may file a formal request for the records you are seeking. A formal request for recorded information is a formal process to access records that are not routinely available (as noted above).

When you send us electronic email, we collect your email address and your message so that we may respond to you. There is a chance that the email you send to us or that we send to you could be intercepted in transit or sent to the wrong address.

If you are concerned about the confidentiality of information, including your personal information, in transit, submit your request securely online.

1. Make a formal FOI request

If you require a formal request for information, you need to submit your request online. Keep your request clear, concise and focused in order to reduce processing time and possible fees.

Submit Your Formal FOI Request Online

 2. Review and acknowledgment

Your request will be reviewed to determine whether the information you are seeking is routinely available, or if further searching, compiling and review is required. We will contact you within 3 business days to confirm your request, provide you with a file number, and to advise of any delays we expect.

The Act allows a maximum of 30 business days for us to respond to your request; we will respond sooner if possible.

You should also be aware that the Act does allow, in certain cases, for the 30-day time period to be extended and for fees to be charged.  We will notify you as soon as possible if there is a need to extend the time limit for responding to your request or to charge fees.

3. Gathering of information

Once your request is received, we will contact the appropriate City Departments to retrieve the records you are seeking. Your identity is kept confidential throughout the process.

You will be advised if there is a large quantity of records, and/or if there is likely to be a fee associated with your information request.

4. Review of information

We will review the information for completeness and privacy concerns. If there is information that we cannot provide, we will remove that information from the document and mark it with the relevant section(s) of the Act to explain why it has been withheld.

5. Fees

Your formal request may be subject to the fees listed in Schedule A of the Surrey Freedom of Information Bylaw No. 13662. We will provide you with an estimate if it appears that your request may result in fees.

6. Release of information

We prepare your information release and send it to you by email secured link (preferred), mail, or advise you that it is ready to be picked up.

You can also download and print a freedom of information request form. You can scan and submit the form by email to inforequest@surrey.ca, submit it by fax: 604-501-7578, or mail it: 13450 104 Ave, Floor 5E, Surrey, BC V3T 1V8.

How to File a Complaint

Sometimes a request for information is subject to exceptions under the Act. If you are not satisfied with our response to your request you may contact the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia.

The Commissioner is an independent Officer of the Legislature of British Columbia who monitors how public bodies respond to your requests for access to information and how they protect the privacy of your personal information.

The Commissioner ensures that your rights under the Act are protected and that disputes are resolved in a fair and unbiased manner.

Contact us at 604-591-4132 or inforequest@surrey.ca for more information.