Freedom of Information Requests

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) enables the public to request and obtain copies of records held by all provincial governmental public bodies including Vancouver School Board when those records are not routinely available.

Request for student or employee records

If you are seeking your own student or employee records you do not need to submit a formal freedom of information (FOI) request. This also applies to approved individuals or organizations representing other individuals. You can review the policy on student records at https://www.vsb.bc.ca/node/1947.

  • If you graduated less than five years ago, request your student records directly from the school you last attended or from which you graduated (not an FOI request).
  • If you graduated more than five years ago, request your student records from the district at https://www.vsb.bc.ca/student-records.
  • If the Vancouver School Board office cannot fulfil your request, you will be directed to the B.C. Ministry of Education.
  • If you seek your personal employee records, contact our Employee Services department (employeeservices@vsb.bc.ca).

Requests for Information under FIPPA

The Vancouver School Board recognizes its obligations under FIPPA to respond to requests for access to records, including records containing personal information.

A request for records is a written request that potentially could be released, in whole or in part, to anyone. The Act requires VSB to protect personal information of others, therefore the decision to grant complete or partial access to records or to refuse access will be made by the Superintendent of Schools or designate, in consultation with the department head and guided by the relevant provisions of the Act.

Before submitting a request under FIPPA

  • Read all the information on this page and refer to the Act as needed.
  • Ensure that you are seeking records, not information or answers to questions that can be readily obtained on the VSB website (try searching the VSB site) or from other sources outside of VSB.
  • Do not ask questions or seek answers in an FOI request. You can only request "records." If you have questions, forward those to applicable staff.
  • Check if the records you want are publicly available on Open Information or DataBC.
  • If the general records might be held by a B.C. government ministry or the Office of the Premier, submit your FOI request through this website.
  • Review the fee information below to ensure you understand and are willing to pay the fees, if applicable.
  • Submit an FOI request to VSB as per the process below. Be as specific as possible on your request.

Fees for services related to requests under FIPPA

VSB will charge fees for applicable FOI requests. Fees for the services are charged at rates listed in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Regulation. FIPPA section 75 permits fees to be charged on FOI requests for:

  • locating, retrieving and producing the record
  • preparing the record for disclosure
  • shipping and handling the record
  • providing a copy of the record

Third party notification

In addition to determining whether any exceptions under the Act apply, VSB will review the record(s) to determine whether third party notification is required.  

Timelines

Most FOI requests are completed within 30 business days as set out in the Act. In the event that a response to a request cannot be completed within the initial 30 business days, VSB will notify the requestor of the need for an extension setting out the length of the required extension, the reasons for the delay and the right of the requestor to ask the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review the decision to extend the time period for response.

FOI request process

All formal FOI requests must be in writing. All formal requests must be submitted by in-person drop-off, mail or email to:

Vancouver School District #39
1580 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6J 5K8
Attention: Chris Allen, Supervisor of Risk Management and Privacy Compliance
Email callen@vsb.bc.ca 

In your formal request, describe the specific records that you request clearly and concisely in as much detail as possible and limit your request to only the records you need to simplify the search and minimize potential fees. Here are added tips to streamline your request process:

  1. Do not ask questions or seek answers in an FOI request. You must request "records."
  2. Try to name the exact record(s) you seek.
  3. Use specific dates and/or locations if applicable.
  4. Do not submit a request that is duplicate to a previous request as the previous request would have already been fulfilled and a response sent to you.
  5. Broad, complex requests, or requests for "all records" take longer to process and increase the likelihood of longer timelines of delivery and larger fees being charged to you. 

The requestor will receive an acknowledgment of receipt of the request with the assigned deadline, information on applicable fees, and other information regarding how the matter will proceed.