Information-sharing a part of recent Dawson College discussion

5 Sep

The media has reported on the release of the Coroner’s report on the 2006 Dawson College shooting and Quebec’s new gun control law, which came into force on Tuesday. I believe the report is only available in French (though if someone knows otherwise, please let me know).

The focus of the recent discussion is on gun control, but there are a number of information-related points of significance. First, the media again has suggested that privacy laws prohibited information-sharing and contributed to the incident. Second, the Quebec coroner’s report apparently recommends that health and education officials should have access to the federal gun registry so they would know if a student or patient has a gun, which begs the tough question, “And then what?” And finally, the new Quebec law includes a requirement on teachers and educational administrators to report suspicious behaviours to the police and a statutory authorization for these individuals and certain health care professionals to make such reports. The standard for reporting is a “reasonable grounds” standard and there must be a link between the behaviour and harm “by the use of a firearm.”

Notably, under the new Quebec legislation, health care professionals who are not educational administrators – “professionals occupying a management position” in the language of the Bill – do not appear to be subject to a mandatory reporting duty. Rather, they are given a discretion to report based on observation of behaviour that does not necessarily meet the traditional risk of “serious and imminent harm” standard but is linked to the use of a firearm.

As readers of this blog know, I’m very interested in the topic of information sharing and managing the threat of on-campus violence. For more on this topic, see this post.

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