Disclosure to Ministries of Justice and Social Services

Agencies such as justice and social services have no inherent right to access personal information of students. They should be treated as third parties and required to make requests for disclosure of personal information the same way as the public (i.e. for any purpose set out in section 28(2) of LAFOIP or in section 10 of the LAFOIP Regulations).

There are two general types of exceptions that will allow the disclosure of personal information of students to other agencies without consent.

  1. The board of education (board) may release information to such agencies in cases where it is in the best interests of the student. The board can:
      • enter into agreements for the sharing of such information for the purpose of administering any law (LAFOIP section 28(2)(h)); or
      • release information on a case-by-case basis where the sharing of information is for the purposes:
        • of assisting in the provision of services for the benefit of the individual to who the information relates ( LAFOIP Regulation 10(c)); or
        • where the disclosures would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates (LAFOIP section 28(2)(n)).
  2. Legislation other than LAFOIP and The Education Act, 1995 may provide that other agencies may require boards to provide access to records of students.

The request should be made in writing. Agencies should be asked to provide the basis on which they believe such information should be disclosed. The request, the basis for the request, and a list of the information that was disclosed should be kept on the file.

Duty to Report Abuse or Neglect

There are two specific statutory provisions in Saskatchewan which require school division personnel to report the abuse or neglect of a child. They are found in The Child and Family Services Act and in The Emergency Protection for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Act.

In each case the provisions of the legislation must be followed. Personal information of the student, and the parent or alleged abuser, can be disclosed to the appropriate authorities pursuant to section 28(2)(i) of LAFOIP which allows disclosure for the purpose of complying with an Act or regulation; section 28(2)(n) which allows disclosure of personal information in the public interest and for the benefit of the individual; and section 10(c) of the LAFOIP Regulations which allows disclosure in circumstances where it would clearly result in the provision of services for the child.

If there is any doubt about whether or not a report should be made, the report should be made. Section 12(3) of The Child and Family Services Act provides that no action lies against a person who reports information to an officer or peace officer in accordance with that section of the Act, unless the reporting was done maliciously and without reasonable or probable cause for the belief. There is a similar provision in section 4 of The Emergency Protection of Victims of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Act.

For the purposes of this Act a child is defined as a person actually or apparently under the age of 16 years.

The statutory requirement to report abuse to an officer of social services or to a peace officer relates applies only to cases of parental abuse or neglect of children under the age of 16. Also, it is only when reasonable grounds exist that there is a requirement to report.

This Act requires that a report to authorities must be made when a person has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child under the age of 18 has been or is likely to be subjected to sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is defined as any situation where a child has been or is likely to be exposed to harmful interaction for a sexual purpose. In this case the reporting requirement is not restricted to suspected abuse by parents.