Privacy and Freedom of Information
The London District Catholic School Board is committed to the security and confidentiality of information under its control, and to the protection of privacy with respect to personal information that is collected, used, disclosed and retained in the school system.
The board recognizes the dignity of the individual and respects their right to the ethical use of data. Therefore, all Staff, Trustees, volunteers and others with access to information, regardless of media, are responsible for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the information.
The London District Catholic School Board promotes a standard of privacy protection and maintains a comprehensive records management system, in compliance with all applicable provisions of the Education Act, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and the Personal Health Information Privacy Act (PHIPA).
The Education Act sets out the duties and powers of the board and authorizes school boards to collect personal information for the purpose of planning and delivering educational programs and services which best meet students’ needs and for reporting to the Ministry of Education.
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) is the law that sets regulations that schools and school boards must follow when collecting, using and/or disclosing an individuals’ personal information, which is any recorded information about an identifiable individual, either student, parent or employee. The Act requires that parents/guardians and students be informed about how their personal information is used, disclosed, and maintained.
The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), balances individuals’ right to privacy with respect to their own personal health information with the legitimate needs of persons and organizations who provide health care services to access and share this information. PHIPA sets out the regulations for the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information which apply to all “Health Information Custodians” operating within Ontario and to individuals and organizations who receive personal health information from those authorized to collect and use it.
Notice of Collection
School boards collect, use and disseminate personal information of individuals in the course of providing educational services and to administer programs in accordance with the Education Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
In accordance with MFIPPA and the Education Act, the London District Catholic School Board may use, retain or disclose personal information:
- For the purpose for which it was collected or a purpose which is consistent with the reason it was collected;
- To board employees who need access to the information in the performance of their job duties in accordance with the board’s authorized function and operations;
- To comply with legislation, a court order or subpoena or matters of law enforcement;
- In compelling circumstances affecting health, safety or discipline providing notice of disclosure to the individual;
- In accordance with governance standards and principles for managing information under the board’s Records Retention Schedule;
- Under the authority of the Education Act and Regulations (R.S.O. 1990 c.E.2) as amended.
Consent and Security
With limited exceptions, legislation requires the school board and health information custodians to obtain consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal or health information. Reasonable steps must be taken to safeguard and protect personal and health information and ensure that records are retained, stored, transferred and disposed of in a safe and secure manner. The school board is required to notify an individual if their personal or health information is lost, stolen or accessed by an unauthorized individual or organization.
Prior to releasing personal or confidential information for any other purpose, the school must obtain informed consent from the parent/guardian for children under 16 years of age, from the parent/guardian and the student where the student is 16 or 17 years of age, and from the student when the student is 18 years of age or older or is 16 or 17 years of age and has withdrawn from parental control, in accordance with both MFIPPA and the Education Act.
Routine Use and/or Disclosure of Student Personal Information
It is the practice of the London District Catholic School Board to include a Notice of Collection statement on all forms used to collect personal information, during the registration process or otherwise, informing parents/guardians of how the school and board will use, disclose and retain their personal information and for what purpose it is being collected.
The following Routine Use and Disclosure of student personal information shall apply:
The Education Act requires the school principal to maintain an Ontario Student Record (OSR) for each student attending school. The OSR is a record of a student’s educational history and progress through school in Ontario and follows the student when they transfer from one school to another. The Ministry of Education, under the Education Act, sets the guidelines for how the OSR is to be managed. The school board adheres to the Ministry’s regulations as well as its own OSR procedure. The school principal is responsible for the OSR, which is maintained and secured in both an electronic and hard copy format.
The student’s OSR will be used by school and board staff to support the classroom teacher in developing an educational program which best meets the student’s needs. Staff working with the classroom teacher or indirectly/directly with the student may include early childhood education, special education, guidance counselling, student success, librarians or professional support staff. Student information, including learning profiles and achievement levels, is shared in order to design and deliver programming to meet the needs of all students in our schools as they progress through grade levels. When transferring from another school, the previous school may be contacted for information related to your child’s education.
In keeping with the requirements of the Education Act and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, written/signed consent is required prior to conducting intelligence or behaviour tests, or prior to the involvement of Psychological, Speech and Language, Child and Youth Worker, Behaviour Team, Autism Team or Social Work staff.
As part of our board’s commitment to 21st century learning, students will be using Ministry approved tools in the classroom such as: Google Apps for Education (GAFE), Desire2Learn (D2L), and Microsoft 365. Students may also use social media tools such as Wikis, blogs, podcasts, video conferencing, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other sites or tools deemed appropriate by the classroom teacher. Use of the internet and social media sites shall be in accordance with board procedures and in keeping with expectations of digital citizenship and safe use of technology.
Secondary schools will receive information about pre-registered Grade 8 students in advance of the student attending the secondary school to facilitate the appropriate educational program planning for the student. Important information used for the transition process is shared for the purpose of a successful transition to high school. Secondary schools may share information about student progress through secondary school with the student’s previous elementary school to support continuous improvement of the elementary school program for all students.
Secondary schools will provide information of potential graduates (i.e. contact information, marks and transcripts) through a secure site for the student’s post-secondary applications to Ontario Colleges and Universities.
Student information such as home address, life-threatening medical emergency information, and accessibility and safety needs, is provided to Southwestern Ontario Student Transportation Services for the purpose of administering the board’s contracted transportation services. Personal information facilitates scheduling of school bus services to eligible students and helps ensure the health and safety of students.
Student information (including name, contact information, date of birth, gender, grade level, country of birth) and parent information will be shared with the Health Unit according to the Immunization of School Pupils Act.
Important medical/health information may be collected for the purpose of developing a medical emergency plan for the student or for purpose of administering medication to the student and will be shared with appropriate staff to ensure the safety of the student. In compliance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act, student health card numbers are not collected.
School activities may be reported in school and board newsletters, websites and/or social media. Identifying photos and videos only may be included with consent. Students participating in extra-curricular activities or events where the public is invited or attends (i.e. field trips, school concerts, school teams) may be photographed and/or reported on by the media or the general public and may result in photos or recordings being posted on social media. If photography or video recording is permitted at such events, it is generally not possible for the school or board to control the use of such recordings. It is important that when taking pictures, individuals are respectful of the privacy rights of anyone captured in their recording and to only post photos of others with consent of the individual and/or the parent/guardian.
Information, including health or medical, of students participating in secondary school athletics will be shared with the Ontario Federation of School Athletics (OFSSA), Western Ontario Secondary School Association (WOSSA) and the Thames Valley Regional Athletics (TVRA) for purposes of school team and student athletes’ participation in school sports programs.
Student work may be displayed in the classroom or in school hallways or may be shared with the public through school events such as science fairs, bulletin board displays, writing/colouring/poster contests, community events, fairs, and similar events/locations outside of the school setting. The first name and last initial of the student may be printed on work displayed in the classroom; student names will be posted on the back of their work when posted in public areas.
The Media (i.e. newspaper, television and radio) may be invited to attend events for the purpose of reporting on newsworthy activities such as graduations, student achievements or awards. Media reports may include only non-identifying photos of groups of students. Individual students will only be interviewed or otherwise identified with consent.
Photographs and videos of students, collectively or individually, may be taken by their classroom teacher in school or during school activities as part of their educational program or assessment of learning. Photos and videos may not be shared with others outside of the classroom unless appropriate consent is obtained.
School Photographers will be provided with student information such as name, student number, and grade for the purpose of providing the student with a student identification card. Individual and class photos otherwise will be used for administrative (ie. OSR) and archival purposes and will be offered to parents for purchase.
Yearbooks chronicle the activities of the school and student body; they are produced for sale to students, and may be placed in the school library, public library, or made available in electronic format. Student and class photos, and photos of school events and activities, student writing and artwork may be included in the yearbook including the student’s full name. Student names and/or photographs may be printed in school programs (ie. commencement, graduation, school plays, concerts, student academic or athletic awards, and honour roll and classroom assignments) and awards or plaques.
Contact Lists of phone numbers and/or parent email addresses are used for safety and emergency purposes to facilitate contact with parents during an emergency (ie. inclement weather or injury); for safe arrival purposes to contact parents where a student is absent and the school has not received notice of the absence; for purposes of communications between classroom teachers regarding academics and behaviour, and program resource teachers and support staff regarding student progress; and to arrange school based meetings and for purposes of distributing school newsletters and notices to parents. Contact/class lists otherwise are not shared without consent.
Email addresses of parents and board issued email addresses for student may be used for communication between school, home and student.
Student accidents that take place during school or on school-sponsored activities will be reported to the board’s insurer. Information shared with the Insurance Company includes the name of the injured student(s) and details about the incident as well as the name and contact information of witnesses to the accident.
In case of a medical emergency, student information may be shared with medical responders or the hospital. Information may be used in matters of health and safety or discipline and is required to be disclosed in compelling circumstances or for law enforcement matters or in accordance with any other Act.
Surveillance equipment may be used in schools and on buses to enhance the safety of students and staff, to protect property against theft or vandalism, and to aid in the identification of intruders and of persons who endanger the health, wellbeing or safety of school community members.
Schools will share student information with the Catholic Parish to facilitate in the Catholic education and faith formation of our students in accordance with the Catholic Graduate Expectations.
Please contact the School Principal if you have any questions or concerns regarding the collection, use and/or sharing of students’ personal information. If you do not consent to the use or disclosure of your child’s personal information in a specific situation, please notify the School Principal, in writing.
Access to Information
The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) provides the legal right for individuals to access public records and to expect protection of their personal records in the care of public institutions. The Act regulates the formal procedure for individuals seeking access to their personal information or that of their child, subject to limited exemptions, and for requesting correction of that information. Under the Act, a written request for access must be received and the board must make every effort to respond within 30 days after receiving the request.
While the Act provides individuals with a general right of access to their own personal information, it also seeks to protect the privacy of individuals by ensuring that access to personal information is not given to unauthorized persons. Persons seeking access to their own personal information are required to verify the identity of themselves before access to information or record(s) is given.
MFIPPA governs the relationships between public bodies, such as school boards, and private persons regarding information; provides access to information subject to specific and limited exemptions; provides for the protection of privacy respecting personal information subject to exceptions; and provides for a review of decisions on appeals to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario.
In accordance with the Act, the Director of Education is designated as the Freedom of Information (FOI) Head and the Privacy/Records Management Officer is designated as the FOI Co-Ordinator.
Additional information about privacy and access to information may be obtained by visiting the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario at www.ipc.on.ca
How to make a Freedom of Information Request
In accordance with MFIPPA, a person seeking access to a record shall make a request in writing to the institution that the person believes has custody or control of the record; shall provide sufficient detail to enable the institution upon reasonable effort to identify and locate the record; and at the time of making the request shall pay the prescribed fee.
To submit a formal freedom of information request in writing, please complete the FOI request form. There is a mandatory $5.00 application fee that must be paid when submitting a FOI Request. This fee cannot be waived and is non-refundable. Additional fees for searching, photocopying, severing may apply as outlined in Section 45 of the Act.
Submit request to:
Privacy/Records Management Officer
(Freedom of Information Co-Ordinator)
London District Catholic School Board
5200 Wellington Road South, London, ON N6E 3X8
Upon receipt of a written request for access to information the Board will respond to the request within 30 days of receiving the request and the application fee. Requests requiring an extensive search, a large number of records, and/or consultation with an external third party may require an extension beyond the 30 days and the requester will be notified if an extension is required.
School boards are required to charge fees* for requests under MFIPPA, as follows:
- Application Fee - $5 submitted with request**;
- Photocopying and computer print-outs - $0.20 per page;
- Computer disk - $10 each;
- Search time - $7.50 for each 15 minutes;
- Record preparation - $7.50 for each 15 minutes;
- Computer disk - $10 each;
- Computer programming to produce a record from a machine-readable only format - $15 for each 15 minutes;
- Other costs incurred by the institution when those costs are specified in an invoice to the institution;
- Costs associated with shipping the records to the requester;
- Other costs in responding to a request, as set by regulation.
*All fees are payable before the giving access to the record(s).
**The application fee does not apply to an individual seeking access to his/her own personal information.