Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
The Division recognizes that the jurisdiction is governed by the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and regulations. The Division believes that access to information is a right of the general public. This right must be balanced by appropriate protection of privacy of personal information.
Guidelines and Procedures
1. Access to information of the Division will be provided subject to the following principles:
a) Right of access to records
b) Protection of the privacy of an individual’s personal information
c) Right of access to one’s own personal information
d) Right to request correction of one’s own personal information
e) Independent review of decisions made respecting access to information.
2. The Division believes the operation of a healthy, vibrant school environment includes school personnel and students being involved in programs and activities in addition to those imposed as statutory duty through the School Act. Types of activities where information may be collected or used include:
a) Honour Rolls or programs of recognition for students and/or staff
b) Award Ceremonies for students and/or staff
c) Yearbook programs
d) School to parent newsletters
e) Christmas concerts, science fairs, winter carnivals, sports days
f) Extra-curricular athletic programs
g) Extra-curricular academic programs
h) Staff and student photograph displays within the school
i) In-school announcements over intercom or television
j) Use of student names in lists for planning, for emergency procedures, in
managing issues and coordinating school activities
k) Student photos for students’ union cards or other identification purposes
l) Use of student names, related contact information and telephone numbers for absenteeism verification
m) Mandatory disclosure of both student and parent information to assist the Regional Health Authorities with communicable disease intervention and follow up (such as vision, speech, hearing, dental, immunization programs).
n) The circulation of information on a “need-to-know” basis to Division staff regarding students including situations such as those students who havemedical conditions.
3. The Division will provide access to records in a manner consistent with the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
4. The Division expects that records or segments of records identified as personal information must be protected through the efforts of employees making reasonable security arrangements against risks such as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, or destruction.
5. The Board designates the Superintendent as the “Head” under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act and the Director of Finance shall serve as FOIP Division Coordinator for the Division. Those individuals are responsible for ensuring that the Division complies with the provisions of the Act.
6. The Principal of each school shall be the site coordinator for the purposes of the Act. Site coordinators are responsible to ensure the protection of personal information at their respective school and to direct inquiries about disclosure of information to the FOIP Division Coordinator.
7. The Head is hereby empowered to fulfill the duties described in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act which include the establishing of procedures and practices to ensure appropriate management of all Division records in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act legislation.
8. The Division expects record applicants to pay a fee for accessing Division records.
An applicant is required to pay an initial fee of $25.00 when a non-continuing request for records is made or an initial fee of $50.00 when a continuing request is made. If the request results in costs, as described in the regulations, in excess of $150.00, the total amount is to be charged. If the request results in costs less than $150.00, the initial fee of $25.00/$50.00 will be the only charge. Processing a request will not commence until the initial fee and half of the estimated costs have been paid.
An applicant is not required to pay an initial fee when a request for their personal records is made. If the request results in costs, in excess of $10.00, the total amount is to be charged. If the request results in cost less than $10.00, then no fee will be assessed.
Unless revised fees to be charged to applicants for record requests shall be as provided above.
9. Displaying student photographs in class groups in school corridors or as individuals who have graduated from a school in the school entrance has been traditional in St. Paul Education Regional Division schools and is supported by the Division. This is also true for the creation and distribution of yearbooks and award ceremonies and honour roll where individual students are singled out for achievement in their studies. Involvement in high school provincial competitions may require the release of student information to help the provincial organization regulate student and team eligibility.
10. Christmas concerts, science fairs, winter carnivals, track & field meets, inter-school athletic competitions and other activities like these may be considered “public events”. Schools should inform both students and parents that events like these are frequently open to the public and often have invitations sent to the press to attend. At public events there is an expectation that photographs may be taken and that this is not an unreasonable invasion of privacy. Those who do not wish to participate should be able to exclude themselves from posed photographs. Achievements can and should be recognized within schools as part of school life – again, this is not an unreasonable invasion of privacy.
Reference(s): School Act
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Provincial FOIP Policy Manual & Alberta Regulations