The CYFSA prohibits people from publishing or making public information that identifies a child participant or witness in a child protection hearing, including information that would identify the child’s parents, foster parents, and family members (s. 87(8)). Publishing this information is an offence under the law (s. 142(3)).
The prohibition prevails over Part X of the CYFSA. This means a service provider cannot use or disclose personal information that publicly identifies a participant in a child protection hearing, even if the use or disclosure would otherwise be allowed under Part X.
In most circumstances, the publication ban would not affect an individual’s right of access to personal information. If the individual has a right of access to the information under s. 312 of the act, the service provider must provide access.
Service providers are not responsible for ensuring that individuals receiving access to their file will not publish the information. However, if the service provider suspects the individual may make the information public in contravention of the law, they may choose to bring the prohibition (s. 87(8)) to the individual’s attention.
Example: A parent requests access to their child’s personal information from a CAS. The CAS suspects the parent may plan to make the information public on social media. The CAS reviews the parent’s right of access under s. 312, including the access exceptions, and determines that the parent does have a right to access the information. The CAS releases the information along with a fact sheet it has prepared about the CYFSA’s publication ban.
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