- Download the Guide
- Ontario’s Access and Privacy Legislation
- Collecting personal information
- Are school boards limited in the amount or kind of personal information they may collect?
- Does a school board need consent to collect personal information about a student?
- When can a school board collect personal information indirectly?
- Does a school board need to give notice that it is collecting personal information?
- What are the rules for collecting, using, disclosing and requiring the production of Ontario Education Numbers?
- Using and disclosing personal information
- Consent to collect, use and disclose personal information
- Safeguarding and retaining information
- Access to information
- How do students and parents access personal information?
- Do individuals have a right to access general records from a school board?
- Do students need to reach a certain age before they can exercise their access rights?
- How does a child’s age affect the parent’s right of access to personal information?
- Do non-custodial parents have a right to access a child’s school records?
- Correction of Personal Information
- Special Topics
When can a school board disclose a student’s personal information?
Under the Education Act, supervisory officers, principals, teachers and designated early childhood educators may disclose information in the OSR to improve the instruction and other education of the student. With limited exceptions, the OSR may not be disclosed to any other person without the written permission of the student’s parent, guardian or the adult student (age 18 years or over). The exceptions include:
- disclosures required by the Ministry of Education or school board29
- disclosures of certain limited information about students to a medical officer of health30 (see Collection, use and disclosure of health information)
- access by the student to his or her own records, and by his or her parent or guardian where the student is under 18 years of age31 (see Access to information)
The Education Act also states that the OSR is not admissible at a trial without the consent of the parent or adult student.32 However, it is important to note that MFIPPA prevails over the confidentiality provisions in the Education Act, including those related to OSRs.33This means that school boards may disclose a student’s personal information, including the OSR, if MFIPPA permits it. MFIPPA does not impose limitations on information otherwise available to a party to litigation and does not affect the power of a court or tribunal to compel the production of a document.34
School boards also have discretion to disclose a student’s personal information, including from the OSR, in some situations,35 including:
- with consent
- for the purpose for which the information was obtained or for a consistent purpose
- to an officer, employee, consultant or agent of the institution who needs the information in the performance of their duties
- for the purpose of complying with law
- in compelling circumstances affecting health or safety
- to a law enforcement agency in order to aid in an investigation (see Disclosure to police)
- where the student or his or her parents request access
For more information, see:
|Yearbooks often contain personal information collected for different purposes, such as class and individual photographs. Most people within the school community expect that these photos, along with the student’s name, will be published in the yearbook. Where an individual can reasonably expect a disclosure, this is considered to be a disclosure for a consistent purpose, which is permitted under MFIPPA. |
However, for personal information that an individual would not reasonably expect to be published in the yearbook – such as an autobiographical essay for a class assignment – the school would need to get consent before including it in the yearbook
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