The Ontario and BC privacy commissioners have released a practice tool for violence prevention at post secondary institutions.
The tool is important and helpful, but does tend to blur the distinction between disclosure of personal information collected in the course of providing health care and disclosure of personal information collected in the course of academic and non-academic administration. For example, the commissioners state very generally, “The disclosure of personal health information allowed by BC and Ontario privacy laws is also consistent with disclosure permitted by the rules governing medical professionals such as physicians, nurses and psychologists.”
While the “life trumps privacy” message communicated by the commissioners is a critical one for health care practitioners, university and college administrators and academic staff alike, to equate the standard for disclosure of personal information collected in the course of providing health care to the standard for the disclosure of other personal information would be a radical proposition. Universities and colleges should be cautious that the commissioners did not necessarily intend to make such a finely-pointed policy statement.
I have a strong interest in this topic. For my most substantive post on violence prevention at post secondary institutions, please click here.