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The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) is concerned with the use and disclosure of personal information.

Personal information means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including:

  • Information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual,
  • Information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved,
  • Any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,
  • The address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,
  • The personal opinions or views of the individual except where they relate to another individual,
  • Correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence,
  • The views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and
  • 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.

For the purposes of complying with FIPPA, personal information should be considered present in any record that contains, or may disclose through inference based on the record’s content or context, information about a specific identifiable person. Personal information may be present in a record that does not contain the name or identifying number of a person, given the context or small numbers involved. For example, a list of merely the grades assigned in a small class, may allow members of the class to infer which grade was received by another student.

Note: Employees of the university should note that the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has held that information associated with a person in a professional or employment capacity is not personal information and, therefore, not protected. 

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