Know Your Rights
The collection, use and disclosure of personal information
Ontario has a law that protects your personal information relating to the services that you receive from the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
We are required to follow the privacy rules under the Child, Youth and Family Service Act, 2017. We are required to keep your personal information safe and secure.
The Catholic Children Aid Society of Toronto is committed to promoting privacy and protecting the confidentiality of personal information we hold about you and the services you receive. You have the right to know how we may use and give out your service information to others, and how you can get access to your personal information.
Personal Information we collect and how we use it and disclose it
Our records include personal information collected to provide services to you, including for example, but not limited to:
Your date of birth, contact information, records of meetings with you and/or your family, the services you received, the programs you attended, a number of reports (including medical, criminal and psychological), school information, allegations and findings of child maltreatment, court documentation, police interventions, criminal history, your views or opinions, the views and opinions of others about you and information about your race, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, cultural or linguistic need, marital or family status.
We collect, use and disclose (meaning share) personal information primarily to:
- investigate allegations that children may be in need of protection and, where necessary, protect children;
- assess, reduce or eliminate a risk of harm to a child or serious harm to another person or group of people;
- provide services to children and their families for protecting children or for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children;
- provide care for children and supervise children under our supervision;
- assess and approve homes for children who cannot remain with their families;
- place children for adoption;
- conduct quality improvement activities;
In child protection cases, we collect information about children who have been harmed, may be at risk of harm or otherwise need child welfare services. This includes the personal information of the child and others in the child’s life. We collect this information directly from children and their families or indirectly from members of the community or other service providers (ex. doctors).
We also collect personal information about those who wish to provide care to children who are unable to remain in the care of their parents or legal guardians. Personal information of potential foster parents, adoptive parents and members of a child’s extended family (kin) or community (kith) is gathered during a period of assessment as well as on an ongoing basis for foster parents, kin and kith caregivers.
Who do we share information with?
We share your information with:
- other Children’s Aid Societies (CASs),
- service providers (persons or organizations that provide service to children and families)
- other third parties.
- Information collected by one CAS may be provided to another CAS when the other CAS needs to know the information to provide child protection services. Ontario law permits CASs to share information with one another and with child protection authorities outside Ontario for the purpose of assessing, reducing or eliminating risk of harm to a child.
- Service providers are persons or organizations that provide service to children and families. We share information with service providers only with your consent (permission), and only information that you agree to be shared as is necessary for service providers to deliver the service.
- Sometimes we receive requests for information from third parties such as police, government agencies and people involved in court cases with service recipients. We only share your personal information with third parties if we have your consent (permission) to do so, or we are legally allowed or required to provide the information.
Your choices around consent
We do not need your consent to fulfill our primary role as a child protection agency, to protect children, where we are required by law to collect, use and disclose personal information.
There are other situations where you have the right to make your own information privacy decisions. When we require and ask your permission, you may choose to say no. If you say yes, you may change your mind at any time. Once you say no, we will no longer share your information unless you say so. Your choice to say no may be subject to some limits.
Where you have the right to consent, you may make your own decisions if you are “capable”. If you are not “capable”, you will have a substitute decision-maker who will make your decision for you. Who can act as a substitute decision-maker is set out in law.
For children, there is no legal age when you become able to make your own decisions about your personal information. If you are capable, you can make your own decisions. However, if you are under the age of 16, there are some additional rules to know:
- If you are not capable, your parent(s) or other legal guardian(s) will make decisions for you as your substitute decision-maker.
- If you are capable, you will make your own decisions.
- If you are capable, your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) will also be allowed to make some decisions about your personal information service records. However, they will not be able to make decisions about any records about treatment or counselling to which you alone consented.
- If you are capable, your information decisions will override your parent(s) or guardian(s) decisions about your personal information.
How do we retain information?
Child Protection Information Network is a provincial information management system used by all CASs.
CPIN is the primary tool for storing information needed to deliver CAS services since March 31, 2015. We also have older databases that contain electronic case files that predate CPIN, as well as, paper documents.
Your personal information must be kept private and secure.
Everyone at CCAS is bound by a confidentiality agreement. We must protect your information from loss or theft and make sure no one looks at it, or does something with it, if they are not involved in providing services to you or are allowed as a part of their job. If your private information is breached, we will tell you. This applies equally to what we enter in CPIN and other electronic information systems, as well as paper or electronic copies of records, reports, voice messages, text messages, and emails and any other ways personal information can be recorded.
Access and correction
With limited exceptions, you have the right to access the personal information we hold about you that relates to services provided to you.
If you would like access to your service records, you may do so in the following ways:
- Contact us in writing attention Disclosure Services at:
2206 Eglinton Ave. E, Toronto, ON M1L 4S7;
- Telephone Disclosure Services at 416-395-1650; or
- By email at email@example.com
In some situations, you may be denied access to some, or all, of your personal information about service (with any such denial being in accordance with the law). When we deny access to some, or all, of your personal a record, we will give you the reason, in writing, and explain your rights to make a complaint about this decision.
We try to keep your personal record of information accurate and up-to-date. You can ask us to correct your record of personal information if you believe the information is incorrect or incomplete. We will make the correction or inform you in writing if we are unable to do so, and why. If we are unable to make the correction as you requested, you may write a statement of disagreement and we will attach that statement to your service record.
If you would like to correct personal information in your service record, you may do so in the following ways:
- Contact us in writing attention Privacy Officer, Dawn Boucher, at: 2206 Eglinton Ave., E, Toronto, ON M1L 4S7;
- By email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information or complaints
We encourage you to contact your CCAS Worker with any questions or concerns you might have about our information practices. You can also reach our Privacy Officer by email, phone or in writing:
If at any time you feel that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario is responsible for making sure that privacy laws are followed in Ontario.
The Commissioner can be reached at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor St. East, Suite 1400 Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
How to request access to your records
Effective January 1, 2020, the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (the CYFSA), gives individuals who received service from a children’s aid society the right to ask to see and get a copy of their personal information found in the records of service to them, which are held by the CAS.
You can make a request for access to your personal information in these records.
A parent with custody of a child under the age of 16 may request personal information of their child, subject to some exceptions. If you are a person with custody and wish to request personal information of your child(ren) who are under the age of 16, please provide the name(s) date(s) of birth of your child(ren) and confirm that you are a custodial parent/guardian. In some circumstances, we may ask you to provide documentation confirming your authority to make the request in place of your child.