Position Profile

Job Title:  FOIP Advisor

Work Unit:  FOIP Office

Ministry:   Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Competition Number:  1042556

Date:  May 2017



Reporting to the FOIP & IM Manager, the FOIP Advisor contributes to the department’s compliance with the legislation and policy requirements of the FOIP Act. Primarily, the FOIP Advisor is responsible for developing responses to general and personal requests, requests for correction of personal information, consultation that satisfy the information needs of the applicant, address the operational concerns of the ministry program area and legally defensible to the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner.

The FOIP office provides FOIP services for Executive Council and 2 affiliated pubic bodies (Alberta Order of Excellence Council and Public Affairs Bureau). The FOIP Advisor provides an important role in the effective and efficient administration of FOIP Act within the ministry; researches a variety of Acts and regulations related to department programs and policy, provides FOIP interpretation; provides quality advice to senior ministry staff and the FOIP Coordinator with respect to compliance issues; the FOIP Advisor operates within the content of various legislative requirements, case precedents, and government policy.   

Responsibilities and Activities


Coordinate responses to general and personal requests, requests for correction of personal information, and consultations with other jurisdictions in compliance with the statutory requirements and objectives of FOIP within legislative timelines and parameters. Each request must be compliant and a defensible package that the applicant and the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner will accept.

  • Clarifying requests and negotiating with applicants relating to request scope (i.e. elected officials, media, business, and the public).
  • Recommend that a request be transferred if another public body produced the record, was the first to obtain the records, or has the records in its custody or under its control.
  • Extend the time limit for responding, if required, given the extent and complexity of the record search and/or volume of records.
  • Ensuring the record search process is adhered to by the Ministry staff.
  • Calculation and assessing fees payable under the Act and prepare fee waiver analyses and recommendations for the FOIP Coordinator.
  • Initiating and managing consultation processes with departmental stakeholders and third parties.
  • Evaluate third party responses and determine whether the evidence demonstrated by the third party is plausible and conceivable.
  • Researching and interpreting the meaning and context for the FOIP question and any responsive records
  • Reviewing and analyzing retrieved records in consultation with the program areas to ensure the context and content of the records are relevant or captured the applicants’ request and determine whether an exception in the FOIP Act applies. Also, identify sensitivities that could interfere with the operations of the Executive Council or GOA.
  • Interpreting and applying legislative provisions (from Alberta and other jurisdictions). Recommend the application of exceptions and exemptions to disclosure.
  • Researching and developing the best approach for the department based on precedents, legal opinions, consultations, etc. The consequences of error are significant given the high degree of public scrutiny, legal ramifications and/or media attention.
  • Negotiating solutions and approaches with the business units and identifying sensitive issues and complexities with respect to the request.
  • Preparing and communicating recommendations and rationale to delegated decision makers (FOIP Coordinator, ED, DM/DSC).
  • Overseeing production and preparation of the approved release packages for quality assurance and accuracy to ensure the decision of the delegated head is reflected.
  • Assist the FOIP Coordinator in the gathering of records of evident and review drafts written submission in response of an Inquiry or Appeals.
  • Support the FOIP Coordinator in any related research, document preparation and preparation for verbal testimony at Inquiry.

Provide timely and expert advice to ministry officials at all levels concerning the interpretation and application of the FOIP Act.

  • Understand the fact situation, question and business context.
  • Conduct research and analysis related to information and legislative application.
  • Prepare and provide verbal and written responses.
  • Advice will impact or relate to policy development or application, records creation, potential access, routine disclosures, communications initiatives, Action Request responses, Motions for Return responses and other matters.

Train and orient department staff with respect to FOIP and records management matters.

  • Foster positive relationships with Ministry staff and affiliate public bodies to promote goodwill and enhance the reputation of the FOIP office with clients, the OIPC, and those involved in the FOIP community.
  • Validate the contact information for the affiliate public bodies on a yearly basis to confirm accuracy.
  • Communicate key messages to new and existing staff, consultants, contractors, and committee members.
  • Leads the communication with and the organization of FOIP Network Contacts from various levels in the organization to ensure a high state of FOIP readiness and two-way communication with key contacts.
  • Trains and orientates new FOIP staff (i.e. FOIP Advisor, FOIP Administrator, and FOIP Intern), to the FOIP office processes and procedures.
  • Attend annual Access & Privacy Conference to stay apprised of current developments in the privacy field and network with people in the privacy community.

Support the FOIP Coordinator in the administration of FOIP access compliance in the departments and contribution of a departmental perspective to cross-government initiatives by providing quality research and advice and participation on government-wide committees and initiatives.

  • Assist in the development of FOIP policies, procedures and other related materials (e.g. FOIP Access Handbook).
  • Assist in the development and maintain departmental FOIP Regulation elements (e.g. Schedule I bodies, PIBs) and FOIP implementation components (e.g. Ministerial delegation of authority).



Executive Council FOIP office receive large, highly complex, extremely sensitive requests related to the senior executives of the GOA, policies of government, federal provincial relations, and international affairs. Errors in judgement, processing and interpretation can have significant financial, legal and other effects on the ministries and governments (on a variety of levels) and on third party businesses and individuals.

The position requires conducting detailed research and analysis of current situations, precedents in the departments, “case law” as determined by the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Orders in Alberta and other jurisdictions, legal opinions, the views of various internal and external stakeholders to aid in forming their own opinion and recommendations with respect to responding to requests under the Act.

The FOIP Advisor’s operational environment is characterized by considerable complexity which services diverse and multiple clients including Premier’s Office, Executive Team Members, communication staff, all Ministry staff, and members of the public including media and elected officials.  

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities



  • Comprehensive knowledge of the Alberta FOIP Act, and Regulations. Working knowledge of PIPA, PIPEDA and access legislation in other provinces and Canada.
  • Knowledge of the programs and functions of the ministries (i.e. departments and any affiliated bodies) and the legislative context in which they operate and the interrelationship between FOIP and program legislation.
  • Knowledge of FOIP resources: Information and Privacy Commissioner Orders, FOIP Bulletins, Investigation Reports, Practices Notes, and legal opinions on FOIP issues.
  • Knowledge of Government organization and operations concerning decision-making and finances.
  • Knowledge of Legislative Assembly (Session, Hansards, Written Questions, Motions for Return) and Government policy making and decision processes (Treasury Board, Cabinet, MR’s, MO’s, OC’s, etc.).
  • Knowledge regarding the standards and practices concerning the management of electronic and other information in the departments.
  • Knowledge of ministry public bodies and their operations, programs and services.

Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to read, comprehend, interpret, and apply legislation.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills required for all aspect of the position.
  • Ability to apply knowledge in the context of a wide variety of business processes and situations.
  • Ability to gain the confidence of applicants and senior department staff.
  • Very strong interpersonal skills to interact with people at any level within or outside the department. (Diplomacy, political astuteness, judgement, conflict resolution, proactive problem solving, negotiating, team relations).
  • Organizational time management skills to meet legislative timelines for the processing of access requests ensure accurate responses and demonstrate processes and activities in the event of an appeal.
  • Ability to deliver successful adult-oriented training programs.
  • Ability to review large volumes of records with an attention to detail and a goal of a zero error rate.


  • University degree in a related discipline (Business/Public Administration, Information Management or Political Science)
  • Completion of university-level coursework related to FOIP and access (IAPP Program) is desirable.
  • Government Standards and protocols



Internal stakeholders include: Staff at all levels up to senior executives and senior decision makers.

External stakeholders include: The public, media, elected officials, businesses and lawyers, the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner, Government Services, Alberta Justice, other government departments, other provinces and levels of government.

Supervision Exercised




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