What is Personal Information?
Personal information means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including:
- information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual,
- information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved,
- any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,
- the address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,
- the personal opinions or views of the individual except if they relate to another individual,
- correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence,
- the views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and
- the individual’s name if it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual.
When would you require a notice of collection?
Government institutions must give notice of collection to individuals every time personal information is collected for a new purpose. The notice of collection must be made available to individuals prior to collecting personal information.
What must always be included in a notice of collection?
The notice should state:
- The legal authority for the collection
- The reason for the collection
- How they plan to use the information
- Who to contact for more information
If a parent/guardian submits their e-mail address to register a student at the beginning of the year, staff can use that email for contacting them for a different purpose (e.g. for a fundraiser)?
No, when a parent/guardian submits their email for one specified purpose, staff are required to provide a notice of collection in order to collect the email address for a different purpose.
If a student has an allergy, is it permissible to post that information in a public area such as a gym, library or office?
No, allergies are considered personal information. If a student has a severe allergy, that information should be placed in a secure location and not be made available in a public location.
If a police officer requests access to student’s personal information, can that information be disclosed?
Police officers are not allowed to have access to student information without a warrant or if it is to aid in an ongoing police investigation. In this scenario, contact the Board’s legal department to advise on how best to proceed.
If a new application is released that has many tools and features that allow teachers to more effectively communicate, is it permissible for teachers to begin using it?
The use of online tools can be valuable to staff, students and families but it is important to consider the risks of their usage in order to protect the privacy of our students. For example, if staff begin using an app and it gets hacked, the information is now compromised and could put our students, staff and the Board at risk. TDSB has a list of supported digital learning environments and tools that have trusted security measures in place. We strongly encourage the use of these apps, sites and tools:
- Google Classroom
- G Suite for Education (Google Apps)
- Google Sites
- Brightspace (Desire2Learn)
- Academic Workspace
If a former student contacts a school to request a teacher’s phone number, is it permissible to provide the student with the teacher’s contact information?
Teachers work within a professional capacity and therefore their TDSB e-mail and phone number are not considered personal information. However it would not be permissible to provide a student with the teacher’s personal phone number or e-mail.
As an example, if a student’s marks are slipping as a result of her parent’s divorcing, is it permissible to share this information with another teacher so she can receive extra support?
Yes, sharing that information with a colleague so that the child can get some extra help and support is permissible, as it will improve her education. Confidential information about student lives should be shared sparingly and only when compelled by law or in the case of helping students and serving their best interests.
If a parent requests the telephone number of another parent whose child is in their child’s class, is it permissible to provide that information?
No, that information is considered personal information and cannot be shared with another individual without obtaining consent.
Can student medical information be posted in a publically available area in the school?
No, student medical information cannot be posted in a publically available area. For students with anaphylaxis, diabetes, and asthma, form 536B, Management of Emergency Medical Concerns, is to be posted in a non-public area of (e.g. staff room and/or school office, classroom etc.) and the Teacher’s Day Book.
Freedom of Information Request Process
General Request Process
Personal Request Process