Risk Management

Risk Management Advisories

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION & PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT

This Advisory explains the status of the OSBIE Incident Report Form and the FOI Act.

Our research on the subject included obtaining a legal opinion on the form, and discussions with The Freedom of Information Departments of the Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Financial Institutions, and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Branch of Management Board Secretariat. This Advisory includes the questions and answers that were obtained from the Secretariat.

Our research on the subject included obtaining a legal opinion on the form, and discussions with The Freedom of Information Departments of the Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Financial Institutions, and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Branch of Management Board Secretariat. This Advisory includes the questions and answers that were obtained from the Secretariat.

In this Bulletin, we would like to share with you the information and the facts, that we have obtained from various sources outlined above:

  1. School boards are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Bill 49). When personal information is collected about an individual, disclosure must be made to the individual about the possible uses of the information. It is suggested that when the board is recording the name, address, age, phone numbers of students at the beginning of the school year, that a disclosure statement include reference to the fact that this information may be given to insurer in the event the student is involved in an accident or is a witness to an accident.
  2. A common question from school boards is: "How long must the board retain copies of the Incident Report Forms?"

From OSBIE's perspective, it is not necessary for boards to retain copies of the Incident Reports once they are submitted to OSBIE.  The information from the report is retained in the OSBIE data bank and will be available to the board, if required.

However, when we asked the Freedom of Information and Privacy Secretariat about retention of the Incident Report Forms, they advised that the minimum statutory requirement for retention is 1 year, UNLESS the Board passes a resolution to reduce this period. The authority for this is found on page 22 of the Regulations. Under section 150 (1)36 of the Education Act, School Boards may establish retention schedules for board and school records.

The commission suggests that if boards do not wish to retain the Incident Report Forms, a resolution should be passed to have a zero retention period for completed Incident Report Forms that have been sent to OSBIE. If a resolution is not passed, the retention period will default to the minimum of one (1) year.

Can a copy of the completed Incident Report be given to the injured party upon request?

If the board retains copies of the report, there is an obligation under the FOI Act to give a copy of the report to the injured party upon request. The witness section of the form must be covered or blacked out before copying - this contains personal information of others, and should not be disclosed to the injured party or any anyone acting on their behalf, i.e. lawyers.

Please advise OSBIE when a copy of a completed incident report has been requested by an injured party. A request is an indication that a claim may be made against the school board.

Please advise OSBIE when a copy of a completed incident report has been requested by an injured party. A request is an indication that a claim may be made against the school board.

It is strongly recommended by OSBIE and by legal counsel that proper completion of the Incident Report Form and dissemination will assuage the concerns of OSBIE if release of the form is requested. The Incident Report should contain factual information only. There should be no speculation on what caused the incident and what might be done to prevent similar incidents in the future. These types of issues should be dealt with through the board's risk management department.

(REVISED 2015) E&OE
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