Your Privacy and Personal Information

We care about your privacy at Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST).  When it comes to collecting or using or disclosing your personal information, we are required to follow the privacy rules under the Child Youth and Family Services Act.  We are required to keep your personal information safe and secure, and to protect it from loss or theft.  If there is a privacy breach involving your personal information, we will tell you. You have the right to know how we may use and disclose your service information, and how you can get access to it. We are committed to promoting privacy and to protecting the confidentiality of the personal information we hold about you and the services you have received.

Notice of Information Practices

Authority for the Collection of Personal Information

Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Services (CFWBS), such as NCFST, have a mandate to provide child protection services in Ontario.  We work to promote the best interest, protection, and well-being of Indigenous children and their families. This mandate is provided by the Child, Youth, and Family Services Act (CYFSA) and this Act authorizes the collection of Personal Information (PI).  Every CAS and CFWBS in the province are responsible for a specific jurisdiction, and at times we work together to fulfill our mandates.

Collection of Personal Information

NCFST collects personal information to fulfil our mandate as a provider of holistic healing services and child and family well-being services.  Information is collected to establish and maintain a positive long-term relationship with community members, to help them access services of interest, to help them connect with culture, to ensure their safety and well-being, and to help them live the way of Mino Bimaadiziwin which is “the way of a good life”.

Here are some examples of the data that NCFST might collect: date of birth, sex, contact information, Indigenous nationality, Clan, home community, records of meetings with community members and/or their family, services received, programs attended, details of a community member’s spiritual or mental or emotional or physical health, medical or psychological or psychiatric reports, school information, financial information, allegations or findings of child maltreatment, court documentation, police interventions, criminal history, views or opinions, or even the views and opinions of others about community members.

Recognizing that other factors influence wellbeing, NCFST’s records may include information on the Social Determinants of Health such as: disability, early life, employment and working conditions, education, food security, housing situation, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, social and cultural inclusion, and family status.

In child protection cases, NCFST collects information about children who may be at risk of harm or in need of services. This includes the PI of the child and important people in the child’s life. NCFST may collect this information directly from children and/or their families, or indirectly from members of the community and/or other service providers.  NCFST also collects PI about caregivers and those who offer to provide care to children in need, such as members of a child’s extended family, foster parents, and adoptive parents. NCFST collects most of this information directly from those individuals.

Use and Disclosure of Personal Information

As an Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Service Provider, NCFST uses your relevant Personal Information to:

  • provide services to children and/or their families for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children;
  • provide or refer community members for spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical health services as part of a wrap-around “Circle of Care”;
  • investigate concerns that children and/or their families may be in need of support and, where necessary, act to protect children;
  • assess, reduce, or eliminate a risk of harm to a child or serious harm to another person or group of people;
  • provide care to children and supervise children under our protection;
  • consult with a representative of a child’s First Nation, Metis, or Innuit community about the provision of services, the exercise of powers, and about other matters affecting the child
  • assess and approve homes for children who cannot remain with their families;
  • plan and manage services for children and/or formalize a permanent care arrangement;
  • aid a Canadian law enforcement agency investigation;
  • receive payment or process, monitor, verify or reimburse claims for payment;
  • detect, monitor, or prevent fraud or any unauthorized receipt of services or benefits;
  • provide appointment reminders;
  • seek consent (or consent from a substitute decision-maker) where appropriate;
  • conduct error and risk management, and quality improvement activities;
  • survey community members;
  • respond to, or initiate, proceedings in the Canadian court system;
  • compile statistics, conduct research (subject to certain rules), and train staff;
  • to seek and/or maintain accreditation status;
  • allow for the analysis, administration, and management of the child and family well-being system;
  • report to the Crown, comply with any Canadian legal and regulatory requirements, and fulfill other purposes permitted or required by Canadian law.

Your relevant PI is only used by authorized staff, at appropriate times.  Inappropriate use of your PI by staff, such as viewing your PI without a legitimate reason, is considered a disrespectful use of your data.  NCFST monitors and audits for disrespectful uses of data; staff members who use PI disrespectfully are subject to discipline up to and including termination.

CFWBSs sometimes disclose information to each other to better protect children. Information collected by one CFWBS may be provided to other CFWBSs when the other CFWBS needs to know the information to provide child protection services.  The laws of the Crown permit the sharing of information, under certain conditions, with other CFWBSs for the purpose of assessing, reducing, or eliminating risk of harm to a child.

Service Providers are other persons or organizations who assist NCFST to provide services to children and families as part of a “Circle of Care”.  In a Circle of Care, there are no “my clients” or “their clients”; there is only “your team” that works together for a community member’s well-being.  Service Providers who are not part of direct or follow-up services, as well as non-Service Providers like extended family, friends, the police, and employers are not part of a Circle of Care.

NCFST shares only the appropriate amount of PI that is necessary for Service Providers to deliver and administer their services or to decrease the risk to a child within the context of a Circle of Care, based on a community member’s implied consent.  If ever NCFST needs to disclose additional information to a Service Provider beyond this threshold, NCFST will obtain a community member’s explicit consent to do so.

Sometimes NCFST receives requests for information from third parties such as First Nations’ government offices, Canadian police, Canadian government agencies, and people involved in Canadian court cases with our clients. NCFST only gives personal information about service recipients to third parties if:

  • NCFST has the individual’s informed consent; or
  • there is a Canadian court order, search warrant, or urgent demand for records requiring disclosure; or
  • NCFST is permitted or required by Canadian law to provide the information.

Access to Personal Information

NCFST provides access to Personal Information pursuant to Part X of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act.  All requests for access to personal information require the completion of a consent form and at least one copy of a government issued photo identification.

Your Personal Information means recorded information about you, including:

  • information relating to your race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital, or family status;
  • information relating your education or your medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal, or employment history or information relating to financial transactions in which you have been involved;
  • any identifying number, symbol, or other similar marker assigned to you;
  • your address, telephone number, fingerprints, or blood type;
  • your personal opinions or views, except where they relate to another individual;
  • correspondence sent to an institution by you or on your behalf 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 you.

Personal information belonging to any other individual, even if recorded amongst your personal information, is not considered your personal information.  Their personal information will be redacted from yours should you be granted access to your records.

A person with custody of, or exercising rights of access to, a child under the age of 12 may request that child’s Personal Information, subject to some exceptions. In some circumstances, you may be asked to provide documents confirming your authority to make the access request in place of the child.

If you are currently receiving services or have in the past and would like access to your Personal Information, please email our Disclosure department at: [email protected].  To help serve you better, consider including this optional form along with a photo of a piece of government issued identification.

For More Information or to Make a Complaint

For more information, you may contact our Privacy Lead by email, phone, or in writing:

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
c/o: Anne Riley, Privacy Lead
30 College Street
Toronto, ON, M5G 1K2

Phone: 416- 969-8510 x3293
Email: [email protected]

If at any time you feel that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario:

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 1A8

Phone: (416) 326-3333
Email:  [email protected]