Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1990

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (The Acts) intend to protect personal information held by provincial government organizations. Personal Information is any "recorded information about an identifiable individual including, information relating to race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual… information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to the financial transactions in which the individual has been involved…correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence…"

Organizations collect personal information as part of their role in providing services. Within this collection, an organization must indicate how it intends to use the information collected as well as the name of the person within their organization who is responsible for answering any questions that arise.

Relevant Sections of The Charter:

Application to the Colleges:

Part I, Section 10 (1)

Freedom of Information:"Every person has a right of access to a record or a part of a record in the custody or under the control of an institution unlessa) the record or the part of the record falls within one of the exemptions under sections 12-22: or,b) the head is of the opinion on reasonable grounds that the request for access is frivolous or vexatious".

Students may view any information that is recorded about them or made available to colleges' Disability Services Offices regarding their disability. Academic records, files set up by faculty, etc. would all be eligible for view.

Exemptions are many and should be reviewed within the context of The Acts for complete understanding. One such consideration is when the "person to whom the information relates consents to the disclosure". 17(3)

A college President (head) may deny a request once he/she has investigated the request and believes meaningful access is not evident. In a written notice, The President will state the reasons for denial and will inform the person making the request of the appeal process.

Part II, Section 24 (1)

Access Procedure:" A person seeking access to a record shall,
a) make a request in writing to the institution that the person believes has custody or control of the record;
b) provide sufficient detail to enable an experienced employee of the institution, upon a reasonable effort, to identify the record; and
c) at the time of making the request, pay the fee prescribed by the regulation for that purpose."

Colleges have a standard Form that is provided to the person requesting a record. It identifies the person, the institution, and details of the request.

The person requesting access will describe the record sought including identifying details that will assist college employees to locate the record more effectively and efficiently. Colleges will expect the person requesting access to pay a $5.00 fee for their request.

Additional fees may be determined, pending the nature and extent of the record to be accessed.

Part III, Protection of Individual Privacy: Collection and Retention of Personal Information

Section 38 (1):"…"personal information" includes information that is not recorded and that is otherwise defined as "personal information" under this Act".

Section 39 (1):"Personal information shall only be collected by an institution directly from the individual to whom the information relates unless,
a) the individual authorizes another manner of collection;
b) the personal information may be disclosed to the institution concerned under section 42…(identifies the exceptions where disclosure is permitted);
c) the Commissioner has authorized the manner of collection under clause 59…(explains the powers of the Commissioner to authorize the collection by other means than directly from the individual);
d) the information is in a report from a reporting agency in accordance with the Consumer Reporting Act;
e) the information is collected for the purpose of determining suitability for an honour or award to recognize outstanding achievement or distinguished service;
f) the information is collected for the purpose of the conduct of a proceeding or a possible proceeding before a court or tribunal;
g) the information is collected for the purpose of law enforcement;or
h) another manner of collection is authorized by or under a statute."

Section 39 (2)" Where personal information is collected on behalf of an institution…the individual to whom the information relates must be informed regarding;
a) the legal authority for the collection;
b) the principal purpose or purposes for which the personal information is intended to be used; and the title, business address and business telephone number of a public official who can answer the individual's questions about the collection."

Personal information that is maintained for the purpose of creating a record that is available to the general public is not protected. Such would be determined in the The Acts purposes.

(1). Personal information about a student must be obtained from the student except:
• when consent has been given
• law enforcement is involved
• the health or safety of an individual is at risk
• when compassionate circumstances are evident
• when legal or legislative representatives of a constituent are acting on behalf of the constituent
• for an authorized bargaining agent
• when provisions of another statute prevail








Colleges must inform that information is collected with the requirements of The Acts and the reasons for collecting. A college employee must be identified so that questions may be asked and responded to by that employee.


Use and Disclosure of Personal Information:

Section 41:"An institution shall not use personal information in its custody or under is control except,a) where the person to whom the information relates has identified that information in particular and consented to its use;b) for the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled or for a consistent purpose; or or c) a purpose for which the information may be disclosed to the institution under the appropriate sections of The Act

Disclosure must be consistent with the purpose of the collection of the information. It is understood by the individual if the individual "might reasonably have expected such a use or disclosure" (43).

For example, a Psychological Assessment Report is obtained for the purpose of designing and providing appropriate accommodations. Disclosure of the Report in its entirety is not permissible because elements within the Report extend beyond the purpose and are not necessary.

Written consent and authorization permit disclosure.

Right of Individual to Whom Personal Information Relates to Access and Correction:

Section 47 (1):Every individual has a right of access to,
a) any personal information about the individual contained in a personal information bank in the custody or under the control of an institution; and
b) any other personal information about the individual in the custody or under the control of an institution with respect to which the individual is able to provide sufficiently specific information render it reasonable retrievable by the institution.

Section 47 (2):Every individual who is given access under (1) is entitled to,
a) request correction of the persona information where the individual believes there is an error or omission therein;
b) require that a statement of disagreement be attached to the information reflecting any correction that was requested but not made; and
c) require than any person or body to whom the personal information has been disclosed within the year before the time a correction is requested or a statement of disagreement is required be notified of the correction or statement of disagreement

A student has the right to access their own personal information and can request corrections to any errors or omissions.

Section 49:

Stipulates the exemptions to disclose information to an individual.

A President may refuse disclosure when:
• the disclosure invades another individual's privacy
• the information is evaluative or opinion material (employment, tenders for contracts) and identity was assumed to be confidential
• medical information disclosure may prejudice the individual's mental or physical health
• the disclosure is a correctional record, research or statistical record

Part IV: Appeal

"Section 50 (1):A person who has made a request for,
Access to a record under 24(1);
Access to personal information under 48(1); or
Correction of personal information under 47(2), may appeal any decision of a head under this Act to the Commissioner.

A person who appeals, shall pay the fee required, must do so within 30 days and must supply a reasonable basis for the appeal.

Regulation 459:
Disposal of Personal Information

Institutions' disposal of personal information by transferring it to the Archives (of Ontario) or by destroying it.
• no person can destroy personal information without authorization
• all reasonable steps are to be taken to protect the security and confidentiality of personal information that is to be destroyed, including protecting its security and confidentiality during its storage, transportation, handling and destruction.
• Consideration of the nature of the personal information to be destroyed shall occur when determining whether all reasonable steps are taken.
• personal information that is destroyed is to be destroyed in such a way that it cannot be reconstructed or retrieved.
• a record of disposal is to be kept by all institutions identifying what personal information has been destroyed or transferred.

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