CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY AND PROCEDURE
Employees/volunteers are responsible for maintaining strict confidentiality of all information – verbal, written, or otherwise obtained – through their volunteer activities with East & West Parry Sound Victim service. Information about victims or their circumstances or the procedures and actions of police and emergency services must never be shared or discussed with persons outside of East & West Parry Sound Victim Service except in the course of judicial proceedings.
Employees/volunteers are required to sign a Pledge of Confidentiality. Compliance with this agreement is a condition of the individual’s participation in the East & West Parry Sound Victim Services program. Failure to maintain confidentiality will result in termination of the individual’s relationship with this organization.
EXCEPTIONS TO CONFIDENTIALITY
There are some situations where, for reasons of safety or legal responsibility, employees/volunteers must disclose information regarding victim service provision.
Suspected Child Protection Concerns
All employees/volunteers, and other personnel working with the East & West Parry Sound Victim Services must adhere to all provincial legislation guiding the mandatory reporting requirements relating to suspected child abuse/neglect. The victim will be informed of such reporting, unless there is a concern that this information will put the child at further risk. The date and time of the report will be noted on the Client Contact sheet in the “Additional Information” box.
Danger to the Victim or the Public
Information will be disclosed to the appropriate authorities for the protection of a victim or the public who may be at risk of imminent harm. Efforts shall be taken to inform the victim that such information must be released. No information will be released without the knowledge of and consultation with the Executive Director or Designate.
Where, at the discretion of the Executive Director or Designate or their designate, it is necessary and advisable to do so, the victim shall be informed that the information given to employees/volunteers may be required to be disclosed in a court of law if the employees/volunteers or DPSVCARS are under a court order to do so.
Health care professionals inclusive of victim service providers, social workers, and drugless practitioners must report even if the information is otherwise confidential and who knows or has reasonable grounds to suspect that an elder has been harmed or might be harmed by:
• improper or incompetent treatment or care,
• abuse of an elder by anyone,
• neglect of an elder
• illegal conduct,
• misuse or fraud of an elder’s money
PROCEDURE TO INFORM OF CONFIDENTIALITY
Every opportunity is taken to emphasize the importance of confidentiality through:
- Handbook – the volunteer handbook includes a section on confidentiality;
- Orientation – confidentiality is discussed during orientation. An explanation of the need to protect victims’ rights and legal implications of improper release of information is given;
- Position Descriptions – a statement stressing the importance of confidentiality is included in each volunteer position description; and
- Training – confidentiality is emphasized during training.
Legal basis for sharing information
Personal information may be shared for specific purposes within safeguards provided by the law and organisational procedures. Partner agencies to this policy and procedure must satisfy themselves that they have studied the implications of this Policy and procedure in respect to the law as follows.
- Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
Provincial R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 460 (General)
Provincial R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 459 (Disposal of Personal Information)
- Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) – PHIPA applies to a “health information custodian” as defined in section 2 of the Act, including the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc.
- Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) – PIPEDA is Government of Canada legislation that applies to every organization that collects, uses or discloses personal information in the course of commercial activities. This includes private sector companies and may include some activities of charitable or non-profit organizations
- Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006 – The Archives and Recordkeeping Act requires that all government ministries and other designated organizations have a records schedule to ensure that information is not destroyed prematurely. If FOI requests are made, the information will be available, subject to retention periods.