Do non-custodial parents have a right to access a child’s school records?

Yes, non-custodial parents have a right to access their child’s school records under both the Education Act and MFIPPA, provided they have access rights to the child.

Under the Education Act a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 is entitled to examine the OSR. This applies to custodial parents and non-custodial parents with access rights.73

Under MFIPPA, a non-custodial parent does not have the right to access personal information on behalf of their child in the way that a custodial parent does.74 However, the act allows for disclosure where an Ontario or Canadian law expressly authorizes it. The provincial Children’s Law Reform Act75 and the federal Divorce Act76 both indicate that a non-custodial parent who has access to a child has the right to make inquiries and to be given information concerning the child’s health, education and welfare. The IPC has decided that these provisions allow non-custodial parents with access to their child to request and receive the child’s education-related personal information under MFIPPA.77 This applies to information in the OSR as well as information that is not in the OSR.

74. MFIPPA, s. 54(c) gives this right only to individuals who have lawful custody of the child under age 16.
75. Children’s Law Reform Acts. 20(5)
76. Divorce Act, s. 16(5)
77. See IPC Orders M-787, P-1246 and MO-3026
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