Access to information

Do students and their parents have a right to access students’ records?

Yes. Students and their parents have a right to access the student’s personal information from their schools and school boards. This right is provided for in both MFIPPA and the Education Act. These two pieces of legislation operate independently, have different rights and responsibilities, and may also lead to different results.

MFIPPA provides individuals, such as students and parents, with a right to access records of their own personal information.

Right to access information under MFIPPA

MFIPPA’s dual purpose is to protect privacy and provide a right of access to information held by school boards and other public institutions. To this end, MFIPPA provides individuals, such as students and parents, with a right to access records of their own personal information. This includes both the OSR and non-OSR records.

A child under 16 can access his or her own records. A parent or other person who has lawful custody of the child can also access records on the child’s behalf.58

There are some exceptions where a school board may refuse to grant an individual access to a record of their personal information. One exception is where granting access to information would be an unjustified invasion of another individual’s personal privacy, or where it could be expected to seriously threaten the safety or health of an individual.59 The school board would still have to disclose any other personal information requested by the individual that did not fall under these exceptions.60

When a school board grants access to a record under MFIPPA, it must provide the individual with a copy of the record, unless it would not be feasible to reproduce it due to the length or nature of the record. In this case, the individual must be given an opportunity to examine the record.61

Right to access information under the Education Act

The Education Act gives every student the right to examine their OSR.62 Until a student turns 18, parents or guardians also have a right to examine the student’s OSR.63 The Education Act does not specify whether students, parents or guardians have a right to receive a copy of the OSR.

 


58 MFIPPA, s. 54(c)
59 MFIPPA, s. 38(a), s. 38(b), s. 13
60 MFIPPA, s. 4(2)
61 MFIPPA, s. 23
62 Education Act, s. 266(3); OSR Guideline, 2000, Section 4.1
63 Education Act, s. 266(3); OSR Guideline, 2000, Section 4.2