The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) or (the “Act”) gives access to records that are created and compiled by public bodies of BC. A FIPPA request is a formal process to ask for copies of personal records about one’s own self or someone they are responsible for.
Before Requesting Access to Records
The School District has dedicated a page on its website to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act with links to the Act, the online general request form and offers categories of records available without a request pursuant to Section 71 of the Act.
Processing of Access Requests Under FIPPA
- Acknowledge Receipt
- It is the responsibility of the privacy contact/coordinator to provide responses to the applicant. The School District’s privacy contact/coordinator, designated by the Secretary-Treasurer, will receive and respond to all access requests in a timely manner.
- Calculate and Diarize Deadline
- The School District has 30 business days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, statutory holidays, and the date the request was received, to provide a final response.
- Each access request is subject to a non-refundable processing fee of $10.
- There is no fee for requests made for one’s own personal information.
- Consider Scope of Request
3.1 The privacy coordinator has a duty to accommodate and will consider the scope of the request seeking clarity to narrow the field of inquiry, if necessary. An extension to the original deadline will be sought if necessary to gather information.
- Open File
- The privacy coordinator will:
- ascertain all possible locations and individuals relevant to the access request and will document the search inquiries and each response received.
- the district may conduct searches of electronic records where such records are maintained on the district’s systems or servers. Employees wishing to avoid any inadvertent intrusions, should not retain private or non-work-related documents or communications on the district’s systems or servers. Further information on professional conduct pertaining to social media (employees), and guidelines on use of information technology and online communications, are in administrative procedures 401 – Social Media – Employees and 417 – Information and Communication Services.
- FIPPA applies to all records within the custody or control of the School District, and the district has an obligation to assist and accommodate the applicant under FIPPA.
- employees may not destroy or delete records that may be responsive to an existing access request, nor should employees seek to use personal email accounts or devices to conduct School District business or carry out employment functions.
- ensure individuals are advised of the standards of search and caution against destruction of records.
- compile responsive records removing all non-responsive records and blank pages.
- activate notices to third parties.
- review records for exceptions under Parts 2 and 3 of the Act.
- review and redact each record for privacy of personal information and relevancy to the initial access request.
- ensure one complete separate unaltered copy of all response records are retained electronically in the event the information released is appealed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC (OIPC).
- prepare documents for review by Secretary-Treasurer and release to applicant.
- The district reserves the right to charge reasonable fees for the processing of request for information as set out in the Act.
- Close File – Retain One Year
- Section 71 – FIPPA – Categories of Records Available without a Request
Consistent with its obligations, the School District supports openness and transparency with its stakeholders and members of the community.
The School District has identified categories of records available without a request and this document, produced and maintained by the Secretary-Treasurer’s office, is located on the district’s website.
The Secretary-Treasurer’s office will ensure information is readily available on the School District website and reviewed in response to changing legislation.
- Personal Information Directory (PID), also known as Personal Information Bank (PIB)
The purpose of the PID/PIB is to document the management of personal information holdings of the School District and to assist the public in identifying the location of personal information held by the district.
PID/PIB is produced and maintained by the Secretary-Treasurer’s office and will be reviewed annually for currency and relevancy or in response to changing legislation.
The Secretary-Treasurer’s office will ensure information is readily available on the district’s website and reviewed in response to changing legislation.
- Requests for Access to Student Files
The district recognizes the student file for school-aged students enrolled within the district is available to the student and their parents (guardians) under the BC School Act.
Requests for copies of student’s files when made by a student or their parent/guardian should be referred to the student’s current school principal, and access will be granted at the school level in accordance with the Section 9 of the School Act.
Before granting access to student files, the school principal will ensure any third-party personal information contained in the file is removed or redacted. If the school principal has questions or concerns about the information or records to be disclosed, they will consult with the Secretary-Treasurer’s office. Administrative procedure 112 – Student Data – Storage and Retrieval, sets out the contents of the student general file.
Former students and students who have reached the age of majority should seek access to their student file by making a written request to the Secretary-Treasurer’s office.
The district has set guidelines on records retention and has created a schedule under administrative procedure 523 – Records Retention.
The district reserves the right to charge reasonable fees for the processing of requests for student files and may require proof of identity or guardianship before releasing records.
- Requests for Personal Files
The School District recognizes that FIPPA provides employees with an entitlement to receive access to their own personal information as contained in their personnel file, subject to certain exceptions under the Act.
Requests for access to personnel files may be directed to the district’s Human Resources Department or to the Secretary-Treasurer’s office. The Human Resources Department will review the personnel file and will consult with the privacy coordinator prior to the release to ensure that any decision to release or withhold information in the personnel file complies with FIPPA.
If the privacy coordinator determines that any information or records must not or should not be disclosed in response to a request, then the request may be treated as a formal request made under FIPPA and processed as a FIPPA Access Request.
The district may require proof of identity from individuals requesting access to their own personal information.
(Last Revised: March 2023)