LAFOIP Overview

In this section, you will also find information regarding:

Purposes of LAFOIP

The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (LAFOIP) is a provincial statute that applies to all local authorities. A board of education (board) is defined as a local authority pursuant to section 2(f)(viii) of LAFOIP.

LAFOIP has two major goals:

  • Freedom of information – to ensure that individuals have access to public documents and to personal information about themselves that is collected and held by a local authority such as a board.
  • Protection of privacy – to ensure that personal information held by a local authority is protected and not used or released without permission or legal authority.

Definition of a Record

A record is defined in section 2(j) of LAFOIP as:

“…a record of information in any form and includes information that is written, photographed, recorded or stored in any manner, but does not include computer programs or other mechanisms that produce records…”

Therefore, any method of recording information will be covered by the provisions of LAFOIP including tape recordings, video tape, phone messages, DVDs and CDs, emails, text messages, web pages, sticky notes, handwritten memos, and so on.

LAFOIP does not apply to information that is not recorded, such as verbal information provided to the board. However LAFOIP will still apply if:

  • the information is subsequently recorded; or
  • there is a verbal disclosure of recorded information.

Possession or Control

LAFOIP deals with all records and personal information in the possession or control of a board.

Even if a record is not in the possession of the board, it may still be under the board’s control and therefore would be covered by the provision of LAFOIP.

For example, the board may hire a contractor to do testing of students. The contractor would have records in his or her possession for the purposes of the contract but all such records would still remain within the control of the board of education.

Privacy and Access Principles

There are four principles that can help guide board personnel through the processes required to address freedom of information and protection of privacy in school divisions:

  1. Collect only the information that is required for the purposes of the school division.
  2. Ensure the appropriate storage and security of records – both physically and electronically.
  3. Ensure the appropriate use, access and disclosure of records:
    • allow the use, access and disclosure of non-personal information when required to do; and
    • ensure that personal information is used, accessed or disclosed only when authorized by LAFOIP.
  4. Keep records only for so long as they are required for the purposes of the school division and then dispose of them in an appropriate manner.

View the privacy and access principles video below.