Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions that have been compiled based on typical questions submitted to the University Privacy Office by Mount Royal University employees.

Please note that the following questions are captured in detail within the employee toolkit website:

If your question is not found below, there is a more comprehensive frequently asked questions list found in the Mount Royal University FOIP external website.

Personal information collection form issues

  1. Is it necessary for our department or area to have a collection form allowing consent by an individual to collect their personal information?
  2. How do I design a personal information collection form for my department or area?
  3. Do parents need to be part of the form for them to receive personal information regarding their child who is a student at Mount Royal?

Collection issues

  1. Can I collect personal information about a student indirectly in order to determine their qualifications for an award, scholarship, prize, or bursary?

Disclosure issues

  1. I have documents that contain “opinions” about another employee, are there disclosure implications?
  2. I work for a department or area that is obligated to check the “status” of a student and require information from another University department or area. Can I obtain personal information from another department in order to complete my tasks? 
  3. Can Mount Royal University employee names and business contact information be disclosed under the Alberta FOIP Act?
  4. Can I disclose personal information over the phone?
  5. Can I disclose a student’s personal information to a parent or guardian?
  6. Can I disclose a student’s personal information regarding winning an award from the University?
  7. Can I disclose that a student is enrolled in a program offered by a post-secondary body?

Use issues

  1. I have already collected personal information from an individual and have obtained consent to use the information for a particular purpose. Can I reuse the personal information for a new purpose?

Personal information collection form issues

  1. Is it necessary for our department or area to have a collection form allowing consent by an individual to collect their personal information?

    YES- According to section 34(2) of the Alberta FOIP Act all public bodies must inform the individual of the following:

    1. The purpose for which the personal information is collected
    2. The specific legal authority for the collection, such as the Alberta Post-Secondary Learning Act or the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
    3. The title, business address and business telephone number of the employee of the public body who can answer the individual’s questions about the collection 

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  1. How do I design a personal information collection form for my department or area?

    1. What personal information is being collected from the individual [always ask if all of the personal information is actually required]
    2. Explain the purpose for which the personal information is collected and what department s will have access to it.
    3. State the specific legal authority for the collection, such as the Alberta FOIP Act
    4. University contact information such as the title, business address, business telephone number so that the individual can contact the University for questions
    5. A date, name, and signature field so that you have captured the individual’s consent
    6. If applicable, inform the individual if their personal information will be disclosed to another department within the University and for what purpose. 

Note - There are form examples available through the collection form license plate on the home page

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  1. Do parents need to be part of the form for the parent to obtain personal information regarding their child who is a student at Mount Royal?

    YES- According to section 17(1) of the Alberta FOIP Act a public body must refuse to disclose personal information to an applicant if the disclosure would be an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy. Although section 84(1)e of the Act allows some discretion for a public body to discern whether a student is a minor, it is advisable to get consent directly from the student to disclose personal information to their parent in writing. The parent can be named in the collection form if this is required for your business activities.

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 Collection issues

  1. Can I collect personal information about a student indirectly in order to determine their qualifications for an award, scholarship, prize, or bursary?

YES – Section 34(1)e states that the University must collect personal information directly from the individual the information is about unless the information is collected for the purpose of determining suitability for an honor or award, including an honorary degree, scholarship, prize or bursary

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Disclosure issues

  1. I have documents that contain “opinions” about another employee, are there disclosure implications?

YES- Opinions are listed as “personal information” under the Alberta FOIP Act. Under “definitions” in the Act section (1)n), personal information includes:

    • Anyone else’s opinions about the individual
    • The individual’s personal views or opinions except if they are about someone else

Your documented opinions about another individual typically belong to the individual the opinions are about according to the Act.

However, if the documented opinion falls within the context of personal recommendations or confidential evaluation, the public body can chose to not disclose the information to the individual the opinion is about if it would identify the evaluator.

Because opinions are deemed as personal information, always be diligent on how you document your opinion when working at Mount Royal University. Keep your opinions about others factual!

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  1. I work for a department or area that is obligated to check the “status” of a student and require information from another University department or area. Can I obtain personal information from another department in order to complete my tasks?

YES- The Alberta FOIP Act does provide a list of allowances, mainly under section 40 of the Act, which enable public bodies to disclose personal information in circumstances such as those listed below.

40(1)L – A public body may disclose personal information only for the purpose of determining or verifying an individual’s suitability or eligibility for a program or benefit.

34(1)e – A public body must collect personal information directly from the individual the information is about unless the information is collected for the purpose of determining suitability for an honor or award, including an honorary degree, scholarship, prize, or bursary.

These allowances do have limitations, however, in that public bodies may only use personal information only to the extent necessary to enable the public body to carry out its purpose in a reasonable manner according to section 40(4) of the Act. 

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  1. Can Mount Royal employee names and business contact information be disclosed under the Alberta FOIP Act?

    YES- Although the Alberta FOIP Act advocates for the protection of privacy, employee contact information falls under an allowance to be disclosed under the FOIP Act.

    According to section 40(1)bb.1, some personal information can be disclosed if it routinely used in a business or professional context and it is limited to an individual’s name and business contact information such as, title, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address. 
     
  2.  Can I disclose personal information over the phone?

YES - However, there have been recent cases concerning individuals who call organizations with correct personal information belonging to another individual in order to change a Third Party’s profile. Precautions should always be taken to confirm the identity of the person calling in order to prevent a privacy breach. 

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  1. Can I disclose a student’s personal information to a parent or guardian?

YES/NO- Section 84(1) of the Act does outline the rights or powers of other persons that can be exercised on another individual including that of guardians. A guardian’s rights can be conferred on another individual if that individual is deemed as a minor based on the opinion of the head of the public body.

Because the decision is largely discretionary, it is highly recommended that parents or guardians are still identified in the personal information consent form by the individual the personal information is about prior to the disclosure of personal information to a parent.

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  1. Can I disclose a student’s personal information regarding winning an award from Mount Royal University?

YES – Section 17(2)j(iv) states that a disclosure of personal information is not an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy if the information is in regards to the third party being in receipt of an honor or award granted by the University.

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  1. Can I disclose that a student is enrolled in a program offered by a post-secondary body?

    YES – Section 17(2)j(i) states that a disclosure of personal information is not an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy if the disclosure is not contrary to public interest and reveals only the enrolment in a program offered by a post-secondary educational body unless the third party whom the information is about has requested that information not be disclosed under 17(3).

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Use issues

  1. I have already collected personal information from an individual and have obtained consent to use the information for a particular purpose. Can I reuse the personal information for a new purpose?

    NO - According to section 39(1) of the Act, a public body may use personal information only:

    1. for the purpose for which the information was collected or compiled or for a use consistent with that purpose
    2. if the individual the information is about has identified the information and consented in the prescribed manner, to the use, or
    3. for a purpose for which that information may be disclosed to that public body as an allowance under section 40, 42, or 43

The personal information can be used for the new purpose if consent for the new purpose is obtained from the individual the personal information is about.

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