A student's academic record is personal information as defined by FIPPA. Faculties and Departments need to be cognizant of, and comply with, the current University policies relating to the use of information contained in a student's academic file so that compliance with FIPPA is maintained.
The Senate regulation "Academic Records and Student Transcripts" states as follows:
The academic file is a confidential document that is available only to individuals authorized to view the files. These include members of the Registrar's Office, Academic Counseling Offices and Dean's Offices, Department Chairs, Undergraduate Coordinators, and counseling assistants.
Within the University, access to the Official Student Record is restricted to faculty and staff who have a legitimate need for the information in order to carry out the responsibilities of their position or office as it relates to the administration of student affairs and services.
These two policies authorize individual members of faculty and
staff to view academic records without the consent of the students, but
only if they are carrying out an administrative function related to
their position at the University that requires them to have access to a
portion of the record. This might, for example, include faculty
members sitting on Departmental committees that review marks or assess
applicants to a program.
There may also be instances where faculty and staff have a valid reason for reviewing a student's academic record such as before writing a reference letter. In these situations, the student’s consent to access the records should be obtained or the student should be asked to provide the material directly.
It is important to remember that any personal information obtained for a specific purpose may only be used for that purpose. Any document received from a student should ordinarily be returned to the student. If there is a need to keep it, it should be kept in a secure location for at least 12 months. When it is time to remove the information from a file, it must be destroyed in a secure and confidential manner.
For further assistance, please contact Western’s Information and Privacy Office.