- Policy #:
- Responsible Authority:
- Approval Authority:
- President's Executive Committee
- Executive Sponsor:
- Approval Date:
- Last Reviewed:
- Mandatory Revision Date:
- Downloadable Version:
- Confidentiality of Student Records
To protect and manage the personal information of all students as directed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1987, Province of Ontario (FIPPA).
Collection of information submitted in support of a student’s admission to the College to which is added the student’s academic history while a student at the College. A detailed description of the content of the student record is found in Appendix 1.
Any person who is currently enrolled in a course or program at Algonquin College, but who may not yet have registered; who has applied for admission to the College; or who was enrolled in a course or program at the College
Application Service Provider
Program Chair, Course Chair, Academic Manager or Dean
1.1 The College has a legal obligation to protect the student’s right to privacy and to make judicious use of student data and academic information in its possession as required by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1987, Province of Ontario (FIPPA).
1.2 The Registrar’s Office is accountable for providing the policy and procedures by which accurate data, gathered from students, agencies, institutions and professors/instructors, is maintained and disseminated appropriately to the student, to third parties designated by the student, or to other legitimate users as described in this document.
1.3 The personal information obtained or requested is collected under the legal authority of the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002. The information is used by the College for administrative and statistical purposes, including but not limited to, admission, registration and record maintenance as well as awards, scholarships and the administrative functions of Alumni Association, the College Foundation and/or the ministries or agencies of the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.
1.4 The College will regard each student record as a unique and private document, maintained in a secure, controlled environment.
1.5 All online or web accessible student information will reside on secure College owned and operated servers or on approved external third party operated servers, and be readily accessible to College employees responsible for the administration of such information.
1.6 The use of an external Application Service Provider (ASP) to house Algonquin student information must include an agreement with clear indications on security, privacy, retention, deletion and backup procedures, signed by the Director, Information, Institutional Research and Technology Services (IIRTS), the Registrar, the VP Administration (Freedom of Information Coordinator) and the Vice President, Academic.
1.7 Data held in student records, established and held by the Registrar’s Office and academic departments, are subject to the principles of confidentiality in this policy.
1.8 Data used by the College are updated, corrected, or amended, as appropriate, upon documented notification from the student, professors/instructors, Vice Presidents, Academic Administrators, as appropriate.
1.9 Student record data is maintained live for a minimum of one year following the student’s last academic activity, after which time a permanent record is maintained by the Registrar’s Office and held in permanent storage medium.
1.10 Access to student information held in any medium (hard copy, computerized database, microfiche) must observe the principles of confidentiality according to guidelines provided below by the Registrar. All requests for information regarding students will be handled in the context of this policy. Formal requests for information filed under Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation will be referred to the Freedom of Information Coordinator.
2. Guidelines Governing the Release of Student information
2.1.1 Students have access to data on their student record for their examination, under supervision of the Registrar’s Office staff. The data is protected by security measures, including the regulation of access to the Student Information System.
2.1.2 Normally, no information will be released to external third parties without written student authorization. This includes requests from parents, prospective employers, police forces, credit bureaus, finance and loan companies, private investigation agencies, banks and similar organizations. The Registrar may exercise discretion in the release of information to external third parties without written authorization from the student as outlined in section 2.4.
2.1.3 Copies may be released to College officials when requested in support of administrative or academic service on behalf of the student.
2.1.4 Documents from other institutions such as high school or university transcripts which are submitted to support a student’s application for admission and/or transfer of academic credits may not be certified and released as part of the College record. If, however, the College, by not doing so, may cause excessive hardship to the student, it may, at the discretion of the Freedom of Information Coordinator and notification to the student, forward a copy of such a transcript to the receiver, marked “for your exclusive use only”.
2.1.5 In all programs, records of attendance as a separate item, do not form part of the official student record, and requests for attendance records will be denied.
2.1.6 The posting of any student grade by student name or student number or any other identifying symbol is prohibited.
2.1.7 At Woodroffe Campus, access to student(s) due to an emergency is to be referred to Security, who will follow established procedures regarding the request. At the Perth and Pembroke Campuses, in similar circumstances, individuals should be referred to the Dean’s Office.
2.2 Access by the Student
2.2.1 Students may, upon written request, release part or all of their information to a third party, or request it be held with no release allowed.
2.2.2 Students with debts outstanding to the College are entitled to access their file and may receive an unofficial copy of their grades. However, the College will not produce an official transcript, certificate or diploma, or release information to third parties as requested by the student in writing, until the obligation to the College is cleared.
2.2.3 Students accessing their own file may view the file but may not alter or remove any of its contents.
2.2.4 Unless unusual circumstances prevail, no grades or certification shall be released to a student prior to the official release of grades and certification to all students.
2.3 Access by College Personnel
2.3.1 Employees responsible for the delivery or administration of courses and programs at the College shall have access to relevant student information in the performance of their duties. Academic administrators responsible for, or associated with, program delivery, will be provided access to student information for programs within their area and scope of responsibility.
2.3.2 Professors, instructors, counsellors, Centre for Students with Disabilities staff, academic administrators and administrative officers of the College who request information from a student’s record to provide educational counselling and/or administrative services to the student will be permitted access to the appropriate file(s) with the approval of the Registrar or designate.
2.4 Access by Third Parties Outside the College
Since the basis of all transactions with students assumes adult levels of responsibility, information from the student’s record will not be released to parents or guardians without the student’s written consent, unless the student has not yet reached sixteen years of age.
Parents or guardians of students of less than sixteen years of age will be provided access to the information from the student’s record, in accordance with Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation.
If parents or spouses contact the College to pay fees for students, the College will accept and process the payments, and issue a receipt for payment if in-person. Otherwise, the receipt and timetable will be released via ACSIS and/or mailed to the student.
A transcript will be released on request to those approved sponsoring agencies who provide full financial support to the student registered at the College and who supply written authorization from the student to do so. Typically, students will complete a standard authorization form provided by the agency.
2.4.3 Government Agencies
Properly identified representatives of federal, provincial or local government agencies, including regional police, Ontario Provincial Police, and R.C.M.P. will be treated as any third party; that is, written student authorization must accompany their request for information, unless such release is sanctioned by Section 42 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1987, Province of Ontario. Section 42 (g) of the Act permits the disclosure of personal information to an institution or a law enforcement agency in Canada to help an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding or from which a law enforcement proceeding is likely to result.
However, if in the opinion of the Registrar, denial of the information could involve hardship to the student, appropriate details may be released. Further, if denial of access to the student’s information could affect the safety of the College community, appropriate details may be released.
2.4.4 The Courts
In the event that a student record is subpoenaed by the Court, on behalf of the student, a certified copy of the full student record will be offered. Should the record be subpoenaed by the party other than that representing the student, a certified copy of the record will be offered to the Judge alone, with an explanation of the College’s reluctance to release a private document without written student authorization. The decision will then rest with the Judge, as to the required response by the College.
Requests from external researchers conducting statistical studies must be reviewed by the Research Ethics Board and the Freedom of Information Coordinator. If the requests receive support, they will then be recommended for approval by the President or his designate with stipulated conditions to protect the students’ privacy.
2.4.6 Postsecondary Enhanced Student Information System
The College will comply with requests from Statistics Canada to provide data on students and graduates in order to understand factors affecting enrolment demand at postsecondary institutions. In order to carry out such studies, Statistics Canada asks all colleges and universities to collect and provide student identification information (student’s name, student ID number, Social Insurance Number if provided), student contact information (address and telephone number), student demographic characteristics, enrolment information, previous education, and labour force activity.
The Federal Statistics Act provides the legal authority for Statistics Canada, the national statistical agency, to obtain access to personal information held by educational institutions. The information may be used only for statistical purposes, and the confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act prevent the information from being released in any way that could identify a student.
Students who do not wish to have their information used are able to ask Statistics Canada to remove their identification and contact information from the national database. See Appendix 2.
Use of External Application Service Provider (ASP)
Submit a request to use an external ASP to house Algonquin student information to his/her Academic Administrator who, in turn, forwards the request for approval to the Vice President, Academic.
Obtain, if request is approved by the Vice President, Academic , an agreement with indications on security, privacy, retention, deletion and backup procedures, signed by a Senior Administrator of the ASP, the Director (IIRTS) and the Vice President, Academic.
Student Consent to Release of Information
Consent to the release of information to College officials held on their student record by signing the Authorization for Release of Student Information form (Appendix 2) during the application process.
Student Requesting Access to Own Record
Ask the student requesting access to his or her personal record by telephone to provide key personal information to verify student identity.
Registrar’s Office Staff
Ask student requesting access in person to his or her personal record for valid photo identification (ID).
Registrar’s Office Staff
College Staff Requesting Access to a Student Record
Submit a written request to access a specific student’s record to the Registrar, indicating the reasons for the request.
Professor, counsellor, Centre for Students with Disabilities staff, Academic administrator, or College administrative officer
Review the request and approve, if appropriate, the release of information.
Registrar or designate
If the request is denied, notify the requester, stating the reasons for the refusal.
Registrar or designate
Third Party Request to Access Student Information
When a third party request is received to access student information, verify that the student has given written permission.
Registrar’s Office Staff
If the student has not granted permission, or is unaware of the request, ask the third party to obtain the student’s written permission.
Registrar’s Office Staff
If extenuating circumstances exist, refer the request to the Registrar for a decision on the release of the information requested.
Registrar’s Office Staff
AA 42 Learning management System
AD 02 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
IT 01 Acceptable Use of Computer Networks and Accounts
RE 03 Research Involving Human Subjects