Freedom of Information + Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP)
In order to operate, Emily Carr University of Art + Design is required to collect information from individuals and companies. How information is collected, maintained and used is governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act). The Act regulates how public bodies, such as Emily Carr, collect, retain, use, disclose and dispose of personal information in order to increase public accountability and protect personal privacy.
All employees must abide by the Act in their duties associated with the University. Contractors, volunteers and businesses must be advised that Emily Carr is covered under the Act as there are specific legal responsibilities to be considered by Emily Carr and its partners in education.
Protection of Privacy: Collection + Use of Information
Emily Carr employees are to be aware of the personal information privacy and protection requirements when collecting and using personal information.
Key Protection of Privacy Principles:
- Individuals own their own information and have a legal right to privacy protection
- Emily Carr may only collect information that is directly relevant and necessary to the operations of the University
- Emily Carr must notify individuals of all intended purposes for collecting the information
- Emily Carr must use or disclose information only for the original purpose identified, a purpose consistent with the original purpose, a different purpose as authorized by the individual or a specific purpose identified in FOIPOP
- Emily Carr must retain an individual’s information for at least one year if used to make a decision that directly affects the individual
- Protection of public health and safety overrides protection of privacy (Section 25)
Freedom of Information: Access Requests
Emily Carr employees are to be aware of the access to information requirements when disclosing personal information.
Key Freedom of Information Principles:
- The public has the right to access records that Emily Carr has custody or control over
- Individuals “loan” their information to Emily Carr and may request copies of or corrections to any personal information maintained by the University
- Emily Carr must provide routine public information and personal information about the person requesting it
- Emily Carr must limit access to information to only those employees who need the information to perform their duties
- Emily Carr may withhold from disclosure certain records as specified in the Act and must prevent the unauthorized disclosure of personal information
- Emily Carr must provide information in response to a formal FOIPOP request
Emily Carr receives requests from students, job applicants, the media, suppliers and clients for information such as salaries of senior employees, copies of employment contracts, selection panel records and records/emails about a student. It is therefore important to record information in an objective and professional manner, retain records for appropriate time periods and destroy records at the end of their established retention periods.
When an employee is asked for access to an Emily Carr record they must make every reasonable effort to assist applicants and respond without delay openly, accurately and completely. The first step in responding is to determine if the request is informal or formal.
Informal requests for information include information readily available to the public (such as information published on the website) or personal information about the person making the request (such as the requestor’s own transcript). If you have any questions about whether or not to release information, contact the Information + Privacy Coordinator.
Formal requests for information involve records that are not routinely available to the public, a request for personal information about someone other than the requestor, or a request for information that involves cross-departmental searches for records. The employee should have the requestor complete a Request for Access to Emily Carr University of Art + Design Records or should ask the requestor to submit a signed letter. This information should then be submitted to the Information + Privacy Coordinator to conduct the search and respond to the requestor. A fee may be charged for processing a formal request and Emily Carr has 30 calendar days to respond. It is therefore imperative that all formal requests are handled in an expeditious manner.
Frequently Asked Questions
PROTECTION OF PRIVACY
What is a record?
A record is defined in the Act as any books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, video/audio tapes, vouchers, papers, email and any other items on which information is recorded or stored by graphic, electronic, mechanical or other means.
What constitutes personal information?
The definition of personal information includes information such as: name; home address; home phone number; race; origin; colour; political or religious beliefs; age; sex; sexual orientation; marital or family status; genetic information; personal history; health; education; finances; employment histories and any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to an individual.
Can I release student contact information, timetables, attendance records or tuition information to a third party, even the parent of an underage student or a faculty member?
No, not without the individual’s consent. You may disclose certain information to a faculty member if the information is required for the faculty member to perform their teaching duties. Certain exceptions apply in an emergency situation and you may contact the Information + Privacy Coordinator for further information.
Can I leave marked student reports in a publicly accessible area, or my grade book on my desk unattended?
No. It is good practice to leave grade books in a secured drawer or filing cabinet to prevent unauthorized collection of personal data and to arrange for secure pick up of marked assignments.
Can I post student information in a public place such as a hallway or office door?
No. Any personal and/or identifying information cannot be posted in a public place. If information must be posted, post by random student number only.
May I carry student information, grades or other personal information on my laptop or flash drive?
No. In some cases, you may have Emily Carr information on your portable electronic devices and therefore you must password protect the information and encrypt it. Should the information be stolen, you are responsible for the security breach of information.
Can I store personal information collected on behalf of the University at any place other than Emily Carr?
No, all information collected for University business should remain secured on campus.
Do references required by potential students or employers require individual’s permission?
Reference checks must have consent from the individual prior to release of this type of personal information. The individual is normally entitled to copies of these references upon request, however certain exceptions apply. You may contact the Information + Privacy Coordinator for further information.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
Do I have to release information contained in personal or confidential files?
All files should be considered releasable unless one of the exemptions under the Act applies. All requests must go through the Information + Privacy Coordinator who can advise you of the process.
How does Emily Carr collect personal information from students and/or employees?
The Act requires that forms used to collect personal information state the legal authority, specific purposes for collection, usage of the data and identify a person who can provide further information. Forms should also have sections to authorize release of certain information to certain third parties (i.e. Student Services to Alumni Association; HR to Bargaining Agents) if necessary.
How long must I retain records that I have created?
Section 31 of the Act states that “if a public body uses an individual’s personal information to make a decision that directly affects the individual, the public body must retain that information for at least ONE YEAR after using it, so that the individual has a reasonable opportunity to obtain access to it”. All records are therefore kept for a minimum of one year and possibly more depending on the record retention policy.
I made notes during an interview with a student / potential employee. Can I withhold this information from the interviewee?
No. Under the Act, this information is considered a record and must be released to the interviewee if requested, however certain exceptions may apply.
Do individuals have access to notes of selection committees for admissions / awards or notes made in the critique process of a program?
Yes, as this information is considered a record and must be released if requested.
Do students have access to personal evaluation forms completed by employers who accepted students in practicum or co-operative educational placements?
Yes and the employer must be advised of the Act.
Does the Act cover bargaining agents and/or union meetings?
No. The Act only covers public bodies, not associations or societies. However, if Society minutes are distributed to the library or members of administration, the documents become part of the public record holdings and as such may be subject to the Act disclosure requirements. Societies (CUPE, FA, Alumni Association, Foundation Board) are covered under the Personal Information Protection Act of BC legislation.
I am responsible for recording and distributing minutes of committee meetings. Are there any precautions that I should take before distribution of the minutes?
Minutes should be only a record of action taken or decisions made, therefore there should be no concerns about distribution of minutes. However, if the minutes deal with confidential (in-camera) information exceptions apply. Consult the Information + Privacy Coordinator if unsure.
Can Emily Carr release home phone numbers or contact information of faculty or staff if requested by another faculty or staff member?
No. As a public employee, your name, title, work phone, work address and work email are public information and are made available to the public. However, your home phone, address and home email are considered private and your consent is required to release such information.
For further information please contact:
Carina Clark, Information + Privacy Coordinator