capable” means able to understand the information that is relevant to deciding whether to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information and able to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of giving, withholding or withdrawing the consent. “Incapable” means not capable. “Capacity” and “incapacity” have corresponding meanings. (CYFSA, s. 281)


“commissioner” is used in the CYFSA to refer to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, and “assistant commissioner” has a corresponding meaning (CYFSA, s. 281). In this guide, the acronym “IPC” refers to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

“information practices”

“information practices” means policies respecting the collection, use, modification, disclosure, retention or disposal of personal information and the administrative, technical and physical safeguards and practices that the service provider maintains with respect to the information. (CYFSA, s. 281)

“law enforcement”

law enforcement” has the same meaning in s. 292 of the CYFSA as it does in s. 2(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act:

  • policing,
  • investigations or inspections that lead or could lead to proceedings in a court or tribunal if a penalty or sanction could be imposed in those proceedings, or
  • the conduct of proceedings referred to in the clause above.

“minister” means the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, who was designated in 2018 to administer the CYFSA. (CYFSA, s. 2(1))


“parent” means:

  • the person who has lawful custody of the child, or
  • if more than one person has lawful custody of the child, all persons who have lawful custody, excluding any person who is unavailable or unable to act, as the context requires. (CYFSA, s.2(2))Note that this definition applies to Part X but not to some other parts of the CYFSA. For example, Part V (Child Protection) includes a broader definition of parent.
“personal information”

personal information” has the same meaning as in s. 2(1) of FIPPA (CYFSA, s. 2(1)), which provides that “personal information” means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including:

  • information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual,
  • information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved,
  • any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,
  • the address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,
  • the personal opinions or views of the individual except where they relate to another individual,
  • correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence,
  • the views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and
  • the individual’s name where it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual. Note that personal information does not include information about an individual who has been dead for more than thirty years. (FIPPA, s. 2(2))Personal information also does not include the name, title, contact information or designation of an individual that identifies the individual in a business, professional or official capacity. This applies even if an individual carries out business, professional or official responsibilities from their dwelling and the contact information for the individual relates to that dwelling. (FIPPA, s. 2(3-4))Specific to the collection of personal information, the definition of personal information includes information that is not recorded. (FIPPA, s. 38(1))
“potential successor” and “successor”

potential successor” and “successor” mean a potential successor or a successor that is a service provider, or that will be a service provider if it becomes a successor. (CYFSA, s. 310(3))


“proceeding” includes a proceeding held in, before or under the rules of a court, a tribunal, a commission, a justice of the peace, a coroner, a committee of a College within the meaning of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, a committee of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, an arbitrator or a mediator. (CYFSA, s. 281)


service” means a service or program that is provided or funded under the CYFSA or provided under the authority of a licence (CYFSA, s. 281). It includes,

  • a service for a child with a developmental or physical disability or the child’s family,
  • a mental health service for a child or the child’s family,
  • a service related to residential care for a child,
  • a service for a child who is or may be in need of protection or the child’s family,
  • a service related to adoption for a child, the child’s family or others,
  • counselling for a child or the child’s family,
  • a service for a child or the child’s family that is in the nature of support or prevention and that is provided in the community,
  • a service or program for or on behalf of a young person for the purposes of the Youth Criminal Justice Act or the Provincial Offences Act, or
  • a prescribed service [currently, none are prescribed]. (CYFSA, s. 2(1))
“service provider”

service provider” means,

  • the Minister,
  • a licensee,
  • a person or entity that provides a service funded under this act (e.g., children’s aid societies), or
  • a prescribed person or entity [currently, none are prescribed],
  • but does not include a foster parent. (CYFSA, s. 2(1))For the purposes of Part X, it also includes a lead agency designated under section 30 of the CYFSA. (CYFSA, s. 281)
“substitute decision-maker”

substitute decision-maker” means a person who is authorized under Part X to give, withhold or withdraw consent on behalf of an individual to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information about the individual. (CYFSA, s. 281)

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