October is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario, and on Tuesday, October 27, I will be wearing purple to show my support for Dress Purple Day. This day raises awareness of the vital role that individuals and communities play in supporting vulnerable children, youth, and families. Protecting the safety and well-being of vulnerable children and youth also includes protecting their privacy and empowering them with access to their own personal information.
As part of our expanded mandate under Part X of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, the IPC now supports children and youth who seek access to their own personal information held by children’s aid societies and other family service providers. For the many young people in our province who grow up in care, these records provide important insight into their histories — their personal stories.
At the same time as young people have the right to access their personal stories for themselves, they also have the right to keep these private by protecting them from unauthorized use or disclosure to others. That being said, however, privacy should never be a barrier to sharing information with a children’s aid society or an Indigenous child well-being society when you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is in need of protection. Our brochure, Yes, You Can, clarifies common misunderstandings about privacy and the duty to report.
The IPC offers resources designed to help individuals and organizations navigate the access and privacy landscape under Ontario’s child, youth, and family services law. This includes a guide for service providers to understand their responsibilities and answer some frequently asked questions about the law. IPC’s It’s About You brochure helps young people understand the process involved in requesting access to the personal information in their file and asking for corrections.
We are always available to help answer any questions about the access and privacy framework.
I encourage you to join me on Tuesday, October 27, for Dress Purple Day and be sure to follow the #DressPurpleDay2020 hashtag on Twitter.
On behalf of the IPC, thank you to all those in the child well-being sector who work tirelessly to help keep kids safe.