Substitute decision-makers can request access

A substitute decision-maker can request access to an individual’s record on their behalf.112 For example, the custodial parent of a child under 16-years-old who is receiving services from your organization may request access to the child’s records. In these cases, the custodial parent would “stand in the shoes of” the child to make the request. This would be an access request (sections 312-314 of the CYFSA), rather than a disclosure. Any reference to the individual in Part X would be read as a reference to the substitute decision-maker. For example, the requirement to respond to the individual within 30 days would be read as a requirement to respond to the substitute decision-maker within that timeframe.

You can rely on a person’s assertion that they have authority to request access as a substitute decision-maker unless it is unreasonable to do so.113 Note that it is an offence under the CYFSA to make an access or correction request under false pretences.114

When a substitute decision-maker requests access on behalf of a capable child, the decision of the capable child prevails if there is a conflict.115 For example, a custodial parent requests access to her 14-year-old daughter’s records, but the daughter indicates that she does not want her mother to have access. Provided the youth is capable, her decision prevails, and the mother’s access request will be refused.

112. CYFSA, s. 303. Note that this section permits a substitute decision-maker to make requests on behalf of an individual, and that this is not limited to access requests (for example, it would apply to correction requests as well).
113. CYFSA, s. 331(4)
114. CYFSA, s. 332(1)(b)
115. CYFSA, s. 301(3)