Collection of Information
Records That Do Not Contain Personal information
There are no restrictions in LAFOIP about the collection of materials that do not meet the definition of personal information. Non-personal information can be collected by the school division as it sees fit.
There are, however, LAFOIP provisions that deal with when and how such information must or can be disclosed. There are also provisions in The Education Act, 1995 about the disposal of such information.
If the record is intended to be confidential then a clear notation should be made. This does not mean the record is protected from disclosure – but the intent of the parties regarding confidentiality can become a consideration in determining whether or not an exemption to disclosure exists.
Records Containing Personal Information
Personal information is defined in section 23(1) of LAFOIP as personal information about an identifiable individual and includes information about:
- race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, disability, age, nationality, ancestry, place of origin;
- criminal history;
- employment history ;
- financial activities;
- health history, home address and phone number;
- personal views or opinions of the individual;
- private or confidential correspondence sent to the Board;
- views or opinions of another person about the individual;
- tax information; and
- the name of the individual if disclosure would reveal personal information.
Section 23(2) provides that personal information does not include the classification, salary, discretionary benefits or employment responsibilities of an employee. Details of a contract for personal services, business expenses, and degrees or diplomas or members of university faculties are not included as personal information either.
Section 24 of LAFOIP provides that a local authority can collect personal information only for purposes related to an existing program or activity of the local authority.
When collecting information the school division must:
- where reasonably practical, collect the information directly from the individual to whom it relates;
- inform that individual all of the purposes for which the information will be used; and
- ensure that the information collected by the board is as accurate and complete as reasonably possible (sections 24-26 of LAFOIP).
Only the minimum amount of information required for the purposes of the board should be collected.
Collection of Original Documents or Copies of Original Documents
In some cases original documents may be requested, such as a birth certificate, certificates of academic achievement or a criminal record check upon commencing employment.
Consideration should be given to whether or not such documents, or even copies of such documents, need to be retained on file.
As an alternative:
- a checklist in the file lists the documents required;
- an employee inspects the original document to verify the required information;
- the employee enters the required information on the file;
- the employee initials and dates the checklist to confirm that the document has been checked and that the information has been verified; and
- the original document is returned to the individual.
If these steps are followed there will generally be no need to keep the original or a copy of the document on file.
The very few occasions when copies might be useful would not usually justify keeping the copies on file.