Disclosure without consent

You may disclose personal information without consent in certain situations that are set out in Part X.44 This includes where the disclosure is permitted or required by law. For example:

  • All individuals are required to report to a children’s aid society if they reasonably suspect that a child may be in need of protection.45 Part X is not a barrier to this disclosure.
  • Children’s aid societies are required by the CYFSA to consult with a representative chosen by each of a child’s bands and First Nation, Métis or Inuit communities whenever they are proposing to provide certain services to the child, such as developing a safety plan. With one exception, consent is not required in these situations.46

Other examples of where you may disclose personal information without consent:

  • if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is necessary to assess, reduce or eliminate a risk of serious harm to a person or group
  • to a law enforcement agency in Canada to aid an investigation47
  • to a legal representative or litigation guardian, for certain purposes, such as to represent the individual in a proceeding
  • to comply with a summons, order or procedural rule relating to the production of information in a proceeding, such as a proceeding before a court or tribunal48
  • to contact a relative, friend or potential substitute decision-maker in certain instances, such as where the individual is injured or incapacitated

Children’s aid societies can disclose personal information to one another (and to child welfare authorities outside Ontario) if it is reasonably necessary to assess, reduce or eliminate a risk of harm to a child.49 The consent of the individual to whom the information relates is not required.

A youth tells a drop-in program worker about her plans to harm herself, but instructs the worker not to tell anyone else. The worker consults with their supervisor. After considering the situation — including the level of risk and degree of urgency — and weighing various options for responding, they decide to disclose the information to the group home where the youth lives.

This type of disclosure is permitted under Part X, which allows for disclosure without consent if necessary to assess, reduce or eliminate a risk of serious harm to a person or group.

 

44. See CYFSA, s. 292.
45. CYFSA, s. 125
46. CYFSA, s. 73;O. Reg. 156/18, s. 29. This requirement also applies to persons or entities providing a prescribed service or power under the CYFSA. See also CYFSA, s. 72. Note that a child’s consent is required before consulting with the child’s bands or First Nation, Métis or Inuit communities if the consultation concerns a plan to transition the child from a society’s care to living independently (O. Reg. 156/18, s. 29(4)).
47. “Law enforcement” has the same meaning as in s. 2(1) of FIPPA (CYFSA, s. 292(4)). For more information about disclosure to law enforcement, please see the IPC’s fact sheet Disclosure of Personal Information to Law Enforcement.
48. CYFSA, s. 292(1)(f). Note that this is subject to section 294 of the CYFSA, which deals with the disclosure of records of mental disorders, including where a physician has issued a written statement that the disclosure is likely to be detrimental to treatment or result in bodily harm.
49. CYFSA, s. 292(2). Societies are also permitted to disclose information to one another if necessary for prescribed purposes related to their functions (s. 292(3)). However, no purposes are currently prescribed.