FOIP FAQs - Financial Issues

Can the finance department of the Institute disclose student information to a collection agency when a student owes a debt to the Institute?

Yes. Section 40(1)(k) allows disclosure for the purpose of collecting a fine or debt owing by an individual to the Institute or to an assignee of the Institute. A notation of the disclosure should be placed on the accounts receivable record.

What information may be disclosed to the collection agency that is trying to collect a debt owed to the Institute?

The Institute should disclose only the information needed by the collection agency to do its job. This would likely mean name, home address and telephone number and, if the student is working, business address and telephone number, as well as the amount owing.

How should a public body deal with telephone inquiries from students about information about their own record?

The Institute should satisfy itself of the identity of the person calling, perhaps through questions based on the student record the answers to which only the student is likely to know (e.g. courses taken, name of faculty, student number). Address and phone number is not sufficient proof of identity, as they could easily be known by others. Whenever practical, the caller should be asked to submit their request in writing, with their signature included on the request.

In dealing with appeals, complaints and requests for refunds, information must sometimes be obtained on students' attendance and performance and student loan information. Can this collection continue under the Act?

Yes. Section 40(1)(h) permits disclosure to an employee of the Institute in order for that person to perform their duties. The disclosure should be limited to the information needed to do the job and only provided to the individual who has a need to know that information.

Can the Institute collect the SIN from students or employees?

The only circumstance where a SIN should be collected is where the institute has a reporting requirement to the Federal Government, or where legislation authorizes the collection for another purpose.

Can the personal information of salaried or contracted employees be disclosed to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency ( formerly Revenue Canada) for the purpose of tax evasion investigations?

Yes, Section 40(1)(f) allows for disclosure to comply with another Act, and Section 38(1)(q) allows for disclosure for law enforcement purposes. In either case, the official from Canada Customs and Revenue Agency would have to provide proof of identity and the specific authority under which the information is being requested.

Where financial reports are required on completion of a licensed event are they releasable to the public?

Yes. Reports on a licensed event such as a fund raising effort would normally be routinely available. However, if these reports contain information on other aspects of the Institute, independent operators or affiliated organizations (e.g. student association), then they must be reviewed to ensure there is no information within them that is subject to mandatory withholding. [Section 16 or 17]

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