Disclosure to the Ministry of Education

Sharing personal information with the Ministry of Education (Ministry) constitutes a disclosure and must only take place when allowed by LAFOIP. The Ministry has no special right to access personal information of students unless such right is spelled out in statute or regulations.

A board of education (board) can share information about a student with the Ministry without getting consent from the student or parent for any purpose set out in section 28(2) of LAFOIP or section 10 of the LAFOIP Regulations. The most common situations where a board will be able to share personal information of a student without consent will be:

  • if sharing the information with the Ministry was one of the intents and purposes for the gathering of the information and consent was obtained at the time the information was collected (section 28(2)(a) of LAFOIP);
  • if the Ministry has the legislative mandate and authority to gather the information from boards (section 28(2)(i) of LAFOIP);
  • for research or statistical purposes if the information is not contrary to public interest, cannot be provided in another form and if the Ministry agrees not to subsequently disclose the information(section 28(2)(k) of LAFOIP);
  • to determine the eligibility of a student for education services (section 10(a)(i) and(ii)) and 10(c) of the LAFOIP Regulations).

If there is any doubt about the right of the Ministry to access student information, the Ministry can be asked to submit a request for the information pursuant to LAFOIP.

Critical Incidents

Generally speaking boards should not share anything about a specific student incident in a school with the Ministry that has not been shared with the public.

The Ministry has no reason to become involved in issues such as student transportation, student discipline or student programming. These issues are within the powers and duties of the board. The Ministry has no more right than a member of the public to have personal information about students or staff members.

Boards should only give the Ministry exactly the same information they would give any member of the public or the media who calls and asks for information on the matter. This would likely be copies of public statements posted on the website and copies of applicable policies.

If a board has a problem with the Ministry in this regard the board should ask the Ministry to provide a reference to the legislation, regulation or policy that requires the board to provide the information.