Privacy and notice of information practices
In accordance with the requirements of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, the Durham Children’s Aid Society maintains confidentiality and protects the privacy and security of personal information we hold about the children, youth and families we work with.
Children’s aid societies (CASs) have the exclusive mandate to provide child protection services in Ontario. CASs work to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children. Every CAS in the province is responsible for a specific jurisdiction, and at times CASs work together to fulfill their mandate.
Information we collect and how we use it
Our collection and use of personal information is done in accordance with the Child, Youth and Family Services Act.
We collect and use personal information to:
- investigate allegations that children may be in need of protection and, where necessary, protect children;
- assess, reduce or eliminate a risk of harm to a child or serious harm to other person or group of people;
- provide services to children and their families for protecting children or for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children;
- provide care for children and supervise children under our supervision;
- assess and approve homes for children who cannot remain with their families;
- place children for adoption.
In child protection cases, we collect information about children who may be at risk of harm or in need of our services. This includes the personal information of the child and important people in the child’s life. We collect this information from children, their families or indirectly from members of the community or other service providers.
We also collect personal information about caregivers and those who seek to provide care to children in need, such as foster parents, adoptive parents and members of a child’s extended family. We collect most of this information directly from those individuals.
Any other purpose for collecting or using personal information is done in accordance with Ontario law.
Disclosure of personal information
Disclosure of personal information means sharing the information with other people, services or organizations. We disclose information in accordance with the Child, Youth and Family Services Act.
Who we disclose information to
Other children’s aid societies
CASs share information with each other to better protect children. Information collected by one CAS may be provided to another CAS when the other CAS needs to know the information to provide child welfare services.
The vast majority of children’s aid societies and Indigenous child well-being agencies use a provincial information management system referred to as the Child Protection Information Network (CPIN) to store information needed to deliver child welfare services.
CPIN contains information about children, youth and families who receive child protection services. It also contains information from and about others who have provided information or are involved during a period of child welfare service: including extended family members, individuals who are part of the child, youth or family’s support network and where applicable, adoptive and foster parents.
Service providers are persons or organizations who assist us to deliver services to children and families. We share only the information that is necessary for service providers to deliver and administer these services.
Other third parties
Sometimes third parties such as the police, government agencies and people involved in court cases request information from our agency about people who have or are receiving services from our agency.
We only give information to third parties if:
- we have the individual’s consent;
- there is a court order, search warrant, or urgent demand for records requiring disclosure; or
- we are legally permitted or required to provide the information.
Collecting and disclosing information without your consent
In most instances, and where possible, we will ask for your consent prior to collecting or sharing your personal information. However, in accordance with the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, there may be circumstances whereby your personal information may be collected and/or shared with others without your prior consent.
How we retain and dispose of information
We primarily use CPIN for storing information needed to deliver child welfare services. Information is stored in person, case and provider records that are designed to hold the unique information for each service. Person, case and provider records are linked when appropriate to create an overall picture of a client’s or caregiver’s child protection services. CPIN records are kept indefinitely.
In certain, limited circumstances we also use a secondary legacy case management system to help us deliver services. We keep this information because it might be necessary for future cases, and because former service recipients may ask to see their records.
Records are retained and disposed of in accordance with our Record retention policy. When we dispose of personal information, we do so securely.
DCAS uses reasonable physical, technical and administrative safeguards to protect your privacy and to maintain the confidentiality of your information. These safeguards include staff training on privacy, policies and procedures, confidentiality agreements with our employees and other representatives of our agency (for example, foster, kin and adoptive parents, volunteers), controlled access to the premises, firewalls and virus protection, locked filing cabinets and other security measures.
Access to and correction of records
If you have received a service from our agency, with limited exceptions, you have the right to access the personal information we hold about you that relates to a service provided to you. We endeavor to keep your information accurate and up to date. You can also request that information in your records be corrected it if is inaccurate, or provide a short statement of disagreement to be added to your records.
If you would like to request a copy of your service records; request a record correction or provide a statement of disagreement, please contact in writing either by:
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Letter sent to:
Durham Children’s Aid Society
1320 Airport Blvd. Oshawa, ON, L1J 0C6;
In rare situations, you may be denied access to some or all of your personal information regarding services you have received.
If you are requesting access to or correction of a record created by another children’s aid society or Indigenous child wellbeing agency, please contact that agency directly. We are unable to provide services for records not created by Durham CAS.
For more information or complaints
We are committed to working together with you to address any concerns you may have about accessing your personal information, requesting a correction to your records and/or worries that your privacy has not been protected. We encourage you to contact your case worker and/or their supervisor with any questions or concerns you might have about our information practices.
For more information about providing feedback, please visit the Feedback page of our website.
You can also reach our Privacy Designate by email, phone or in writing:
Durham Children’s Aid Society
1320 Airport Blvd. Oshawa, ON, L1J 0C6
Tel: 905-433-1551 ext. 2288
You also have a right to contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The Commissioner acts independently of government to uphold and protect access to information and privacy rights in Ontario.
The Commissioner can be reached at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
Phone: 416-326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073