Access to Information: How to Request Documents from McGill
As a resident of Quebec, you have the right to request ANY document from McGill University, or any other public institution. There are broadly two types of requests: personal information held by the University, or other documents on any subject. The procedure for request is the same in either case. You write a letter, and then email it, mail it or drop it off in the James Administration Building, and within twenty or thirty days, they have to respond.
First, write a letter. Make sure to include your name and address. If you want to make it a little faster, include an email address and request that they contact you via email. If you are requesting personal information, you can put your student I.D. number too. The letter can be hand-written or typed. MAKE SURE YOU KEEP A COPY, INCLUDING THE DATE SUBMITTED. You can include any number of requests on any number of subjects in one letter; they are more likely to delay or deny if there are more than two or three requests per letter. Then, you can
- hand deliver the letter to the Secretariat-General’s office, room 313 of the James Building,
- email it to firstname.lastname@example.org,
- or you can mail it to:
Stephen Strople Secrétaire général
845 rue Sherbrooke O.
Montréal (QC) H3A 2T5
Next, you will receive a letter from McGill recognizing the receipt of the request. From the date they got your request, McGill will have 20 calendar days to respond, or they can notify you in writing that they will need an additional 10 calendar days. Before the time period is over, you should get a letter or an email with the response. They will either tell you that some or all of the request has been denied, or will tell you that they have documents available. At this point, you have two options. You can either pay a fee of about $.36 a page and receive a hard copy of the documents, or you can look at them for free in person. If you choose to look at them for free in person, you can then also choose to purchase them after seeing them–McGill also lets you request up to 19 pages of your request for free after looking at them in person. If McGill doesn’t respond within the time limit, or if it refuses or blacks-out information, you can submit a Request for Review to the Quebec Commission on Access to Information. You must submit it within 30 days of the response or the passed deadline.
Sample Request for Access to Personal Information
Mr. Stephen Strople, Secretary-General
James Administration Building
845 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 313
Montreal, QC H3A 2T5
Dear Mr. Strople,
I am contacting you in your capacity as McGill’s administrator of access to information requests. As per the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information, I respectfully request that the University provide me with:
- Access to all documents with my name on it that the University holds, including but not limited to academic, employment, disciplinary history, and security files.
I respectfully request as much of this information as possible be available in electronic format. Please contact me if you have any concerns or require clarification. Email is my preferred method of communication. Thank you for your time and prompt response.
The Commission has a lot of information, including the contact information for the people responsible for access requests in all Quebec public bodies.