Effective Date: 23MAY96
As a publicly funded institution which operates with a high degree of autonomy and self-regulation, The University of Western Ontario affirms the importance of the principle of freedom of information and the obligation to conduct its operations as far as possible in ways that are open to public scrutiny. Also, The University of Western Ontario is committed to the protection of the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by the University. Therefore, The University of Western Ontario has enacted the following Guidelines to support these principles of openness, accountability and protection.
The purpose of these Guidelines is to create standards for access to information and privacy protection. The Guidelines are based on the following principles:
(a) As a general rule, with the exception of personal information, information contained in University records should be available to members of the University community and to members of the public more generally;
(b) The necessary exemptions from the general principle favouring access should be as limited and specific as possible;
(c) The collection, retention, use and disclosure of personal information contained in University records should be regulated in a manner that will protect the privacy of individuals who are the subject of such information; and
(d) Means should be established for the resolution of disputes within the University community concerning access to information and privacy protection matters.
Except for words that are specifically defined in these Guidelines, all words that are defined in the University of Western Ontario Act, 1982, as amended from time to time, have the same meaning herein as in that Act.
(a) student records, including both records of applicants
and registered students;
(b) staff and faculty personnel records;
(c) alumni records;
(d) fund raising and donation records;
(e) administrative, financial and academic policy records pertaining to the University's operations;
(f) subject to subsection 5 below, records held in archival collections at the University.
(b) In cases where material has been donated to archival collections at the University subject to restrictions imposed by the donor, such restrictions shall take precedence over these Guidelines.
II. ACCESS TO INFORMATION
(a) the record falls within one of the exemptions set out
(b) the Unit Head considers, upon reasonable grounds, that the request for access is frivolous or vexatious. *
*(As used in these Guidelines, "frivolous" and "vexatious" shall be interpreted as legal terms and in accordance with any legislation or regulations that may be established by the government of Ontario relating to access of information.)
(a) the reason(s) access is denied or correction of
personal data is denied;
(b) the name and the position of the individual responsible for making the decision; and
(c) that the individual who made the request may appeal to the University Commissioner for a review of the decision.
Exemptions from the General Principle
The University is not required to follow these Guidelines where:
(a) the record or the information contained in the record has been published or is currently available to the public, whether or not a fee is charged, or
(b) the record or the information contained in the record will be published by the University within ninety days after the request is made or within such further period of time as may be necessary for printing or translating the material for the purpose of printing it, whether or not a fee is charged, or
(c) the record contains personal information that is currently available to the individual to whom the information relates or to another party with the permission of the individual, through any unit of the University, whether or not a fee is or has been charged for that access.
(a) that contains draft University legislation, regulations, policy statements or procedures; or
(b) that reveals the substance of deliberations of a meeting of a board, council, committee, sub-committee or other body, including any record prepared for such meeting, unless such meeting is authorized pursuant to applicable University policies or procedures to be open to the public.
The University may refuse to disclose a record where disclosure could be reasonably expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter, investigation of misconduct or poor performance, or a disciplinary proceeding, complaint or conflict resolution process within the University.
The University may refuse to disclose a record where disclosure could reasonably be expected to,
(a) prejudice the conduct of relations between the University and federal, provincial or municipal governmental authorities or other agencies providing funding to the University or any of its constituent units; or
(b) reveal information received in confidence from federal, provincial, municipal or foreign governmental authorities; or
(c) reveal information received in confidence from institutions affiliated with the University or from other universities, colleges and similar institutions and from organizations formed for the purpose of representing the interests of such organizations or various constituencies within them,
and shall not disclose any such record without the prior approval of the President.
(a) trade secrets or financial, commercial, scientific or technical information that belongs to the University or one of its constituent units or members; or
(b) information owned by the University, if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to deprive an employee or the University of priority of publication; or
(c) information where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the economic or financial interests or the competitive position of the University; or
(d) positions, plans, procedures, criteria or instructions to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the University or one of its constituent units; or
(e) plans relating to the management of personnel or the administration of the University or one of its constituent units that have not yet been put into operation or made public; or
(f) information including the proposed plans, policies or projects of the University or one of its constituent units where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to result in premature disclosure of a pending policy decision or in undue financial benefit or loss to a person; or,
(g) questions that are to be used in university examinations or tests.
The University may refuse to disclose information concerning the past, present or proposed research activities of members of the University community where disclosure would be contrary to the public interest or would undermine the professional or personal interests of the researchers, staff, students, or research sponsors involved in the project.
The University may refuse to disclose records that are the subject of solicitor-client privilege or that have been prepared by or for counsel employed by or retained by the University for use in giving legal advice or in contemplation or for use in litigation.
The University may refuse to disclose a record where disclosure could reasonably be expected to seriously threaten the safety or health of an individual.
The University may refuse to disclose records where disclosure would undermine the effectiveness or fairness of an auditing procedure or of an examination, testing procedure or other means of evaluation of student performance.
In addition to the disclosure of financial information supplied within current practices, the University shall make reasonable efforts to disclose additional financial data which can be disclosed without infringing the various interests protected by the above exemptions from the access scheme.
The University shall refuse to disclose personal information to any individual other than the individual to whom the information relates except where otherwise provided in this policy.
III. PROTECTION OF PRIVACY
(a) information related to the race, national or ethnic origin, first language, colour, disability, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of an individual;
(b) information relating to the educational, medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or to information about financial transactions involving the individual;
(c) any identifying number, symbol or other identifier assigned to the individual;
(d) the address or telephone number of the individual;
(e) the individual's personal opinions or views, except where they relate to someone else;
(f) correspondence received from an individual that is implicitly or explicitly confidential, and replies to correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original communications;
(g) the views or opinions of another individual about the individual;
(h) the individual's name where 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;
(i) beneficiary information supplied by the individual;
(j) Employee Assistance Program information relating to an individual; and
(k) information supplied by the individual relating to the individual's next of kin or guardian.
The University shall use personal information in its custody or under its control only:
(a) if the individual to whom the information relates has identified that information in particular and has consented to its use; or
(b) for the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled or for a consistent purpose; or
(c) for statistical analyses, provided that such analyses do not identify individuals or disclose other personal information; or
(d) in other circumstances, where the use of the information is necessary and proper in the discharge of the University's duties and responsibilities; or
(e) in the case of personal information as defined above in section 19(1)(k), for the purpose of maintaining employee, alumni and development records and communications appropriate thereto.
(a) in accordance with section 23;
(b) where the individual to whom the information relates has identified that information in particular and has consented to its disclosure;
(c) for the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled or for a consistent purpose;
(d) to an officer or employee of the University who needs the record in the performance of his or her duty, including the preparation or verification of employment references;
(e) for the purpose of complying with a requirement to provide information lawfully imposed upon the University by a federal, provincial or municipal governmental authority;
(f) where disclosure is to an institution or a law enforcement agency in Canada to aid in an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding or from which a law enforcement proceeding is likely to result;
(g) where disclosure is necessary to aid in the investigation of allegations that individuals have made false statements or engaged in other misleading conduct,
(h) where disclosure is made to another educational institution or to a professional licensing authority or board of certification or similar institution, provided that the University has made reasonable efforts to inform affected individuals of the existence of a practice of making such disclosures;
(i) in compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon disclosure notification thereof is mailed to the last known address of the individual to whom the information relates;
(j) in compassionate circumstances, to facilitate contact with the next of kin or a friend of an individual who is injured, ill or deceased;
(k) to a person who has been authorized by the individual to whom the information relates to make an enquiry on that individual's behalf or, where that individual is incapacitated, has been authorized by the next of kin or legal representative of that individual;
(l) to archival collections at the University for archival purposes;
(m) to any individual for research or statistical purposes if the officer having custody of the records:
- security and confidentiality,
- the removal or destruction of individual identifiers at the earliest reasonable time,
- the prohibition of any subsequent use or disclosure of that information in individually identifiable form without the express authorization of the officer having custody of the records; and
The University shall take reasonable precautions to protect the security of records containing personal information, shall retain such information only for reasonable periods of time and shall make reasonable arrangements for the disposal or destruction of such records when that reasonable period has expired.
(a) request correction of the personal information where the individual believes there is an error or omission; and,
(b) require that a statement of disagreement be attached to the information reflecting any correction that was requested but not made.
The University may refuse to disclose records containing personal information or copies thereof to the individual to whom the information relates if it is:
(a) personal information that cannot be severed from information falling under the exemptions to the general access principle set out in sections 7 to 16;
(b) personal information that cannot be severed from the personal information about another individual or individuals, unless disclosure of the information can be made in accordance with section 21.
(c) medical or health-related information where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the mental and physical health of the individual; or
(d) a research or statistical record; or
(e) evaluative or opinion material compiled solely for the purpose of:
where it may reasonably have been assumed by the source that the evaluative or opinion material provided by the source would be held in confidence or where the disclosure could reveal the identity of a source who furnished information in circumstances where it may reasonably have been assumed by the source that the identity of the source would be held in confidence.
IV. IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The Board of Governors shall appoint a University Commissioner
for Access to Information and Privacy Protection (the "University
Commissioner"). The term of appointment is five years and may be
** The Secretary of the Board of Governors has been appointed University Commissioner for a five-year term ending June 30, 2001.
(a) If, at the conclusion of an investigation, the University Commissioner finds that a complaint is not well- founded, the University Commissioner shall so inform the complainant and the relevant Unit Head.
(b) If, at the conclusion of an investigation, the University Commissioner finds that the complaint is well- founded, the University Commissioner shall file a written report with the President concerning the investigation, including the recommendation of the University Commissioner. A copy of the University Commissioner's recommendation shall be sent to the complainant and to the Unit Head.
(c) The recommendation of the University Commissioner shall not be binding on the President. The President shall report in writing to the University Commissioner within the period of time specified by the University Commissioner whether and to what extent the recommendation of the University Commissioner is to be followed. In the event that the University Commissioner's recommendation is rejected by the President, the President shall indicate, in writing, to the complainant and the University Commissioner the reasons for rejecting the recommendation.
The University Commissioner shall have the following additional responsibilities and powers:
(a) to encourage within the University the adoption of record-keeping and disclosure practices consistent with these Guidelines;
(b) to review and make recommendations with respect to policies and procedures prepared by Units pursuant to Section 25;
(c) where, in the opinion of the University Commissioner, the collection of records containing personal information creates significant risks of privacy invasion, to require the appropriate Unit to prepare a written policy statement concerning that collection;
(d) to recommend, from time to time, appropriate amendments to these Guidelines;
(e) to review and comment on written policies on access and confidentiality adopted by any Unit in the University;
(f) to make available educational programs concerning implementation of and compliance with these Guidelines as appropriate; and
(g) to prepare and file an annual report with the President for review concerning the implementation of these Guidelines within the University and, in particular, the nature and disposition of any complaints made pursuant to section 28, above. The final report shall be filed with the Senate and the Board of Governors.
(a) the costs of every hour of manual search required to locate a record;
(b) computer and other costs incurred in locating, retrieving, processing and copying a record;
(c) shipping costs;
(d) any other costs incurred in responding to a request for access to a record;
(e) the cost of adding to a record, pursuant to section 23 (2); and
(f) where the requester is not a student of the University, a member of the teaching or administrative staff, or a representative campus group, an application fee which will be set by the Board of Governors from time to time.