Request FOI or Restricted Records

Certain records at the BC Archives are covered under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), which both grants and restricts access, as well as other restrictions based on legislation, the donor’s wishes, or conservation and preservation concerns. If records are restricted, you may need to request access through the BC Archives or an external source.

Restrictions are noted in the online record descriptions

Please ensure you check all higher levels of description to determine if there is a restriction on the records you want to access. Records that are open for public access typically state that no access restrictions apply.

Instructions on how to request access to restricted records are included in each section below. Once you’ve received permission to access restricted records, you will need to plan a visit.

For more information about the different types of access restrictions, please see our FOI and Restrictions.

FOI and Privacy Restrictions

If you would like to request access to records protected under FOIPPA or restricted under other legislation, you must

  • Identify the records you would like to access
  • Include reference codes, boxes and file numbers where applicable
  • Send your request to

You may be required to provide additional documentation to support your request or complete a Research Agreement to access and use records. It can take up to 40 business days to approve Research Agreement applications. In rare instances, records may not be available.

Conservation and Preservation Restrictions

Conservation restrictions are noted in the archival description and will identify why access to the record is restricted.

If there is a restriction due to conservation and preservation concerns, the restriction will be noted in the archival description. You may be directed to

  • Consult an access copy, e.g., a photocopy, microform copy, copy print or digitized version
  • If there is no access copy available, consult the reference archivist or contact us to see if access can be provided.

You may be required to order a reproduction or schedule an appointment. In certain circumstances, access may not be available.


If it is unclear whether the records you want to access are restricted or if you’d like more information about access restrictions, please contact us.

To place an FOI request for active or semi-active records held by another ministry, please see the BC Government’s webpage Freedom of Information (FOI).