What is Personal Information?

Personal information may be released only to the person whom the information is about, or, with the written consent of that person, to a third party. Personal information means recorded information about an identifiable individual including:

  • the individual's name, address or telephone number
  • the individual's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, or religious or political beliefs or associations
  • the individual's age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or family status
  • an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual
  • the individual's fingerprints, blood type or inheritable characteristics
  • information about the individual's health care history including a physical or mental disability
  • information about the individual's educational, financial, criminal or employment history
  • anyone else's opinions about the individual
  • the individual's personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else
  • Collect only that personal information required to administer and operate a University program or service. Don't collect more information than you need.
  • Use an appropriate method of collection - in most cases get the information directly from the person it is about.
  • Ensure that a proper collection notice is printed on the form or included in the letter used to collect the information.
  • Create records with access in mind - assume someone will ask to see it.
  • Create files with access in mind.
    • One case - one file.
    • Eliminate copies.
    • Use consistent filing practicess.
  • Make sure confidential records are kept separate from ones that are not confidential.
  • Follow the Records Retention Schedule if one exists for the record. Only destroy records as authorized under the Records Retention Schedule, or by checking with the FOIPOP Administrator.
  • Retain records used to make a decision about an individual for a minimum of one year.
  • Retain complete, accurate and reliable records of evidence. 
  • Provide participants with a clear statement of confidentiality.
  • Require that all materials and evidence be supplied in confidence.
  • Write the report with access in mind:
    • Make it anonymous whenever possible.
    • Keep confidential and non-confidential material separate.
  • Avoid writing down subjective comments unless you are prepared to have them read.
  • Keep personal details about individuals' private lives private, unless absolutely necessary to support findings and recommendations.
  • Avoid making audio or videotapes of interviews or hearings unless necessary
  • Remember to plan and implement reasonable security measures to protect personal information.
  • Establish authorized logon ID's for access to a local network.
  • Password protect access to your desktop computer, local network, each database and automated system.
  • Check the software you are using for built-in security features.
  • Take steps to protect your system from attack.
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