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:

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

 


29.Education Act, s. 266(7)
30 Education Act, s. 266(2.1)
31 Education Act, s. 266(3)
32 Education Act, s. 266(2)(b)
33 MFIPPA s. 53(1); IPC privacy report MC11-73
34 MFIPPA ss. 51(1)-(2)
35 Set out in MFIPPA, s. 32