What is Personal Information?
Personal information means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including:
- information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual,
- information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved,
- any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,
- the address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,
- the personal opinions or views of the individual except if they relate to another individual,
- correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence,
- the views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and
- the individual’s name if it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual.
Does the TDSB need to give notice that it is collecting personal information?
With very limited exceptions, TDSB must provide a notice of collection every time personal information is collected. The notice of collection must be made available to individuals prior to collecting personal information.
What must always be included in a notice of collection?
The notice should state:
- the legal authority for the collection;
- the principle purpose(s) for which the personal information is collected and intended to be used;
- the title, business address and telephone number of a person employed by TDSB who can answer questions about the collection.
If a parent/guardian submits their personal information to register a student at the beginning of the school year, can school staff use their personal information for a different purpose?
Under MFIPPA, TDSB may only use personal information for the purpose for which it was collected, or for a consistent purpose (the one which the parent/guardian or student would reasonably expect). For example, if the information was originally collected by TDSB for the purpose of educating students, TDSB is not allowed to use this information for any other purpose that is not consistent with the purpose of educating students.
If a student has a medical condition, is it permissible to post this information in a publicly available area, such as a gym or library?
No, medical conditions and student medical information are considered personal information under MFIPPA and personal health information under Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 , S.O. 2004, c. 3, Sched. A. Student medical information cannot be posted in a publicly available area. If a student has a medical condition, that information should be stored in a secure location and not be made publicly available.
For students with anaphylaxis, diabetes, and asthma, form 536B, Management of Emergency Medical Concerns, is to be posted in a non-public area of (e.g. staff room and/or school office, etc.) and the Teacher’s Day Book.
If a police officer requests access to student’s personal information, can that information be disclosed?
A student’s personal information cannot be disclosed to any person other than the individual to whom the information relates. This includes law enforcement. The school can only disclose a student’s personal information to law enforcement in the following circumstances:
- with an official court order, search warrant, subpoena and/or production order (judicial authorization);
- to aid a police investigation where: (1) the request is for specific information; and (2) the request is in the context of a specific law enforcement investigation; or
- where the health and safety of an individual may be jeopardized.
For more information, review PR698 - Police-School Board Protocol or contact TDSB Legal Services.
If a new application program or software is released and has many tools and features that allow school staff to provide for the variety of instructional and academic supports more efficiently, is it permissible for teachers to begin using this program or software?
The use of online digital learning tools can be valuable to staff, students, and families, but it is important to consider the risks of their usage in order to protect the privacy of TDSB students. For example, if staff begin using an application and it gets hacked, the information is now compromised and could put the privacy of TDSB students, staff, and TDSB at risk. TDSB has a list of supported digital learning environments and tools that have trusted security measures and safeguards in place. We strongly encourage the use of these applications, sites, and tools:
- Google Classroom
- G Suite for Education (Google Apps)
- Google Sites
- Brightspace (Desire2Learn)
- Academic Workspace
If a former student contacts a school to request a teacher’s phone number, is it permissible to provide the student with the teacher’s contact information?
Teachers work within a professional capacity, and therefore, their TDSB e-mail and phone number are not considered personal information. However, it would not be permissible to provide a student with the teacher’s personal phone number or e-mail.
As an example, if a student’s marks are slipping as a result of their parent’s divorcing or other family issues, is it permissible to share this information with another teacher so they can receive extra academic support?
Yes, sharing this information with a colleague within TDSB for the purpose of providing some extra help and support to the student is permissible, as this sharing pertains to the improvement of the student’s education. However, personal information about the student’s lives should be shared sparingly and only when compelled by law or in the case of helping students and serving their best interests. The school’s focus remains, as always, the best interests of the child.
If a parent/guardian requests the telephone number of another parent/guardian whose child is in their child’s class, is it permissible to provide that information?
No, that information is considered personal information and shall not be shared with another individual without obtaining the express consent of the individual to whom the information relates.
Do students and their
parents/guardians have a right to access students’ records?
and their parents have a right to access the student’s personal information (e.g.
Ontario Student Record) from their schools and TDSB. Under the
and Ontario Student Record (OSR) Guideline, 2000, the parents/guardians
of a student have the right to access the student’s OSR, until the student
becomes an adult (age eighteen). Under both the
Children’s Law Reform Act and
Divorce Act, 1985, this legal right of access is available to the
parents with decision-making responsibility and parenting time (formerly
custody/access). A parent with parenting time (formerly access parent) has the
right to make inquiries and to be given information concerning the child’s
health, education, and welfare.
How do students and
parents/guardians access personal information?
Most students and parents/guardians
can request the student’s personal information directly from the school, either
through an informal request or under the
Education Act. If a student, or
their parent/guardian wants to access the student’s personal information, they
might choose to ask for the information informally, by asking the student’s
teacher for a particular record, for example. The parent/guardian or student
can make a request to the principal of the school to examine the student’s OSR.
There is no cost associated with examining the OSR.
How can student who is no
longer enrolled in TDSB school request a copy of an Ontario Student Transcript
Please complete a Request for
Transcript Form and return to the TDSB Central Transcript Office. For more
details regarding the process, please visit
Student Media Release Consent
The following consent form has been created for use by TDSB and school staff to obtain consent when taking photos, videos or audio recordings of students at TDSB events or for the purpose of posting on the TDSB website, posting in schools, posting on social media sites and/or for broadcasting on television or radio as determined by TDSB:
TDSB Student Media Release Consent