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- Ontario’s access and privacy legislation
Collecting personal information
- Are school boards limited in the amount or kind of personal information they may collect?
- Does a school board need consent to collect personal information about a student?
- When can a school board collect personal information indirectly?
- Does a school board need to give notice that it is collecting personal information?
- What are the rules for collecting, using, disclosing and requiring the production of Ontario Education Numbers?
- Using and disclosing personal information
- Consent to collect, use and disclose personal information
- Safeguarding and retaining information
Access to information
- How do students and parents access personal information?
- Do individuals have a right to access general records from a school board?
- Do students need to reach a certain age before they can exercise their access rights?
- How does a child’s age affect the parent’s right of access to personal information?
- Do non-custodial parents have a right to access a child’s school records?
- Correction of personal information
- Special topics
Access to information
Do students and their parents have a right to access students’ records?
Yes. Students and their parents have a right to access the student’s personal information from their schools and school boards. This right is provided for in both MFIPPA and the Education Act. These two pieces of legislation operate independently, have different rights and responsibilities, and may also lead to different results.
MFIPPA provides individuals, such as students and parents, with a right to access records of their own personal information.
Right to access information under MFIPPA
MFIPPA’s dual purpose is to protect privacy and provide a right of access to information held by school boards and other public institutions. To this end, MFIPPA provides individuals, such as students and parents, with a right to access records of their own personal information. This includes both the OSR and non-OSR records.
A child under 16 can access his or her own records. A parent or other person who has lawful custody of the child can also access records on the child’s behalf.58
There are some exceptions where a school board may refuse to grant an individual access to a record of their personal information. One exception is where granting access to information would be an unjustified invasion of another individual’s personal privacy, or where it could be expected to seriously threaten the safety or health of an individual.59 The school board would still have to disclose any other personal information requested by the individual that did not fall under these exceptions.60
When a school board grants access to a record under MFIPPA, it must provide the individual with a copy of the record, unless it would not be feasible to reproduce it due to the length or nature of the record. In this case, the individual must be given an opportunity to examine the record.61
Right to access information under the Education Act
The Education Act gives every student the right to examine their OSR.62 Until a student turns 18, parents or guardians also have a right to examine the student’s OSR.63 The Education Act does not specify whether students, parents or guardians have a right to receive a copy of the OSR.