GUIDANCE ON RELEASE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION IN EMERGENCY OR by sdfsb346f

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									                        EMERGENCY OR SPECIAL SITUATION
                       INFORMATION COLLECTION & RELEASE
                             Thursday, March 16, 2006


INTRODUCTION

As a public body subject to the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and
Regulations (the Act), Grant MacEwan College, in exercising its duty to protect personal information
under its custody or control, may collect and release only minimal personal information concerning
identifiable individuals in certain well defined situations; consistent with the Act and without the informed
written consent of the individuals themselves.

A. COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION – HEALTH / SAFETY EMERGENCY

Section 34(1) of the FOIP Act:
“A public body must collect personal information directly from the individual the information is about
unless”
“(c) the information is collected in a health or safety emergency where”
          “(i) the individual is not able to provide the information directly, or”
          “(ii) direct collection could reasonably be expected to endanger the mental or physical health or
          safety of the individual or another person.”
“(d) the information concerns an individual who is designated as a person to be contacted in an
emergency or other specified circumstances.”

34(1)(c) exists expressly to allow emergency services personnel, as well as other necessary
personnel of a public body, to collect whatever personal information is needed to effectively deal
with an emergency situation. Under this provision, a public body can collect indirectly only the
information required to deal with the emergency.

B. PERSONAL INFORMATION RELEASE - GENERAL

There are two primary categories of allowed exception to the strict requirements found in the FOIP Act.
The first relates to students and the second employees and allows the College
    1. to confirm enrolment in a program only*, (not attendance, schedules, full or part time status,
          class locations or ID photographs), (Confirmations of enrolment are best performed by staff of
          the Office of the Registrar or offices that have been delegated that authority in writing.)
    2. participation at a public event*,
    3. receipt of an honour or award*, or
    [*Provided the individual concerned has not requested in writing, that the College not
    disclose such information.]
    4. "business card information" in a business or professional context if it does not reveal other
          personal information about the individual,

Any other disclosure of personal information would be an unreasonable invasion of the individual's
personal privacy, unless the individual is fully knowledgeable of the situation and has consented in writing
in the prescribed manner; or unless the disclosure may take place under "may disclose" provisions found
in s. 40 of the Act at the discretion or delegated authority of the College FOIP Head / VP Resources.

General questions on FOIP responsibilities and protocols may be directed to the Office of the FOIP Co-
ordinator at 497.5423 at any time.




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C. EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION RELEASE

MacEwan may disclose the emergency contact information provided to the College, only so that the
designated spouse, adult interdependent partner, relative or friend of an injured, ill or deceased individual
may be contacted. Information disclosed will be limited to only that which will facilitate the contact.

The release of emergency contact information must be made by managerial or supervisory staff who may
choose to contact the emergency contact themselves, relaying the information given to them about the
emergency situation.

Our primary aim in the event of a valid emergency situation is to facilitate prompt notification of
the designated Emergency Contact.
When such a disclosure occurs the details of the situation should be documented in a Note-To-File -
Release of Personal Information. sent to the Office of the FOIP Coordinator at the earliest opportunity.

D. RELEASE TO AVERT OR MINIMIZE IMMINENT DANGER TO HEALTH / SAFETY

MacEwan may disclose personal information where authorized staff of the public body believe on
reasonable grounds that the disclosure will avert or minimize an imminent danger to the health or safety
of any person. Disclosure is limited to only the amount necessary to avert the imminent danger. The most
senior staff available should be informed of the situation promptly and make the release decision. If there
is time the FOIP Head or Coordinator should be consulted prior to the personal information release.
FOIP Act Section 40(1)(ee) governs this type of release.

Our primary aim is to avert or minimize the imminent danger to the health or safety of an
individual. Release documentation protocols similar to the above should be followed.

E. INFORMATION RELEASE TO POLICE OR CAMPUS SECURITY
Police or Campus Security actively responding to a current request for assistance at MacEwan
should be provided with all possible assistance and information known about the situation at
hand, to the extent that will facilitate a successful resolution to the issue that caused them to be
called to the College.
In the cases of investigative follow-ups or non-emergency situations it may not be necessary to respond
to immediately to requests for copies of records. Public body senior staff may need time to identify,
assemble, verify and review responsive records; discuss the request and proceed accordingly. This need
not be a lengthy process, however a public body is expected to look at each request on a case-by-case
basis and exercise its discretion in terms of:
(1) whether disclosure is permitted under section 40 of the FOIP Act; and,
(2) how much information may be disclosed.
Discretionary disclosure of information, personal and general, may occur to police by authorized College
representatives under the authority of the FOIP Act s. 40(1)(q).
Our aim in non-emergency situations is to both support the needs of law enforcement while
performing our legislated duties to protect personal privacy and appropriately manage College
information.
It is best if staff initially receiving the Law Enforcement Request for Records or Information from police
obtain as much information as possible about the situation surrounding the law enforcement requirement,
including time frames and how to contact the requesting officer, and forward that as soon as possible to
the appropriate College senior officer.
If a decision is made to release records or additional information to police, the appropriate mechanism to
do so is a Law Enforcement Disclosure Form completed by an officer of the requesting law enforcement
public body; found at www.macewan.ca/foip under "Forms". A copy of the Edmonton Police Service
standard Information Request form is available on the College FOIP web site, as a courtesy to EPS
officers. A MacEwan form based on the provincial standard form is also available on the web site for use
with investigators from other agencies.
Releases in non-emergency situations must be made by the appropriate Office-of-Record, even if
another office might be the first one approached and may have access to or copies of the records

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or information in question: Student-related requests by the Registrar; staff requests by Human
Resources, and Security Files by the Facilities Manager of Security Services.
The FOIP Coordinator should assist any office in receipt of a Law Enforcement information request and
originals of Requests must be placed on file in that office.


F. RELEASE OF INFORMATION – SUBPOENAS / WARRANTS / COURT ORDERS

The College may disclose personal information records of personal information for the purpose of
complying with a subpoena, warrant or order made by a court or a person having jurisdiction to compel
the production of information or with a Rule of Court that relates to the production of information. Any
demand for information for records based on the above criteria should immediately be brought to the
attention of General Counsel and the FOIP Coordinator. Those offices will coordinate any resulting
release of information.

G. RELEASE OF INFORMATION TO COMPLY WITH LEGAL REQUESTS

Releases of information to response to legal requests may be considered as though it were an informal
request from the individual but with special considerations relating to the Rules of Court. Most requests
will require co-ordination with the Office of the FOIP Coordinator. Care must be exercised to ensure that
we are in possession of a valid Authorization-To-Release, that we are absolutely confident in the identity
of the individual concerned, that the records requested are for that specific individual and no other, and
that the College is not a party to the legal action. When any doubt exists bring the request to the
immediate attention of the Information and Privacy Office. Legal requests requiring severing, the
assembly of records from multiple steward offices, creation of records or about the public must involve the
Office of the FOIP Coordinator.

H. RELEASE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION TO GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATORS
Except in the rare instances where such requests meet the criteria of emergency contact or releases to
avert or minimize danger to the health or safety of individuals, requests for personal information by
investigators of the federal or provincial governments should be made in writing to the Registrar (for
student information) or the Director of Human Resources (for staff information). Those offices will work
with the Office of the FOIP Coordinator to prepare and document a response.

As part of federal Security Clearance review processes Investigators of the Canadian Security and
Intelligence Service (CSIS), and in particular Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
(PSEPC) may sometimes attend to the College in person, show official identification, and request verbal
confirmation of employment. The Investigator will provide the full name of the individual claiming to be or
have been an employee and the claimed start and end dates of that employment. Information in the
response provided by the College should be limited to a simple agreement or disagreement with the
provided information. Confirmation only of an individual’s claimed service record (start date and end date)
is not an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy and does not require documentation. However,
further release of employment related information, or any records, must be based on either a Consent to
Release Employment Information form signed by the individual or a completed and signed MacEwan or
Alberta Government Law Enforcement Request for Information form. Release Consents, Law
Enforcement Requests and copies of records released should be sent to the College FOIP Coordinator; a
copy should also be placed on the individual’s personal file.

I. RELEASE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION OF DECEASED PERSONS
Privacy rights do not cease upon the death of an individual. Personal information, the disclosure of which
is not an unreasonable invasion of the deceased’s personal privacy may be released to the surviving
spouse or adult interdependent partner or relative of the deceased individual or to the individual’s
personal representative in matters of right or power to administer the individual’s estate. Such requests
should be vetted through the Office of the Registrar or the Director of Human Resources in coordination
with the Office of the FOIP Coordinator.


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J. DEFINITIONS OF PERSONAL & RECORDED INFORMATION

(s. 1(n) and (q) of the FOIP Act)

"Personal Information"
means any recorded information about an identifiable individual including:
       name, home or business address or home or business telephone number;
       race, national or ethic origin, colour or religious or political beliefs, or associations;
       age, sex, marital status or family status;
       an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual;
       fingerprints, other biometric information, blood type, genetic information, or inheritable
       characteristics;
       health or health care history, including information about a mental or physical disability;
       educational, financial or employment or criminal history; including criminal records if a pardon
       was granted;
       anyone else's opinion about the individual, and
       the individual's personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else.

"Recorded Information"
may be in any form and may include, but is not limited to: papers, notes, documents, images,
photographs, and voice and audiovisual recordings.




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