The Office of the Ombudsperson works in confidence to resolve problems at the lowest level. That means information you give us will not be shared with anyone else, on or off campus, without your permission. This is true regardless of your status or position at the University.
Normally we make notes during interviews to help us remember what is said. These notes are for our use only.
A typical case file consists of an intake sheet, notes, and photocopies of any relevant documents provided by the party or parties involved. The case file is always identified with the person raising the concern, so if student A is appealing a decision by professor B, the case file is identified as student A's file. A case file usually has a two year life after the year in which it was closed or ceased to be active. If the last activity was in May 2001, the file remains in the office throughout 2001-02 and 2002-03. In early fall 2003 it would be shredded. Staff may decide to shred an individual file earlier or keep it longer. If you request that no record be kept of your contact with the office, all information which could identify you personally is promptly removed and destroyed.
We try to work informally as much as we can. We don't always require permission in writing before proceeding on your behalf or before sharing information you have given us. We also share information in a manner consistent with the permission you have already given. For instance, if you agree that we should discuss your claim with Ms. C, and Ms. C is away but Mr. D is replacing her, we will discuss your claim with Mr. D.
Information you give us will be used statistically and sometimes in case summaries. In all case summaries, care is taken to vary or omit any and all details that could lead to the identification of individuals. You can see for yourself how this is done by reading our Annual Report. Just ask for a copy.
While we do whatever we can to ensure your privacy and to protect your right to have all information you give us handled in confidence, our communications with you are not privileged in law. We can be required by court action to reveal information, including our written notes. To the best of our knowledge, only one Canadian educational ombudsperson has been required to testify in court.
Please feel free to ask us any questions about how your information or your case will be handled.