FSYR Privacy & Confidentiality Statement
FSYR recognizes the importance of securing privacy for clients and the confidentiality of personal information. FSYR exercises careful and consistent vigilance in regards to its protection of client rights to privacy and confidentiality, including the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in-person and virtually. FSYR adheres to all relevant privacy legislation. Clients have the right to withdraw their consent to service and/or the collection, use and disclosure their personal information at any time.
Limitations to Confidentiality
FSYR adheres to the following legal limits to confidentiality:
- Suspicion that a child under 16 years is at risk of abuse or neglect
- Imminent risk of physical harm to oneself
- Direct threat of physical harm to another person
- When records are subpoenaed by a court of law or the agency is presented with a search warrant
- A client of the agency discloses that they were sexually abused by a regulated health professional
Questions, Concerns and Complaints
The Director of Clinical Services or designate assumes the role of Privacy Officer for the agency, overseeing the collection, use, protection and disclosure of personal information. For questions, concerns or complaints, the Privacy Officer can be contacted by calling 1-888-223-3999 or in writing at 1091 Gorham Street, Suite 300, Newmarket, ON L3Y 8X7.
If not satisfied with a response provided by the Privacy Officer, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario can be contacted by calling 416-326-3333 or in writing at 2 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1A8.
Information is collected and records are kept for all individuals, couples and families that seek and access services at FSYR. Records include demographic information, ongoing notes and other documents completed when applying for and during service. This is not an exhaustive list of what may compose a record.
All client records and counselling sessions are strictly confidential. A basic axiom of our policy is to never release information which individually identifies a client without informed consent, except in the circumstances outlined above.
Records are necessary for professional maintenance of quality and continuity of service. They are useful in clinical supervision, evaluation and skill improvement, and also serve to assist FSYR in its accountability to clients, service purchasers, funders and agency contributors. Records are useful in the provision of statistical knowledge of client problems, services provided and service gaps. Records provide vital data required to assess the quality of service delivery during accreditation.
Client Access to Records
Clients have a legal right to their file and information. On request, clients may receive a letter of attendance, service letter with goals, view and/or receive a copy of their file. FSYR charges comparable administrative fees for such requests. Fees are not to be a barrier to information and may be reduced/waived to ensure accessibility.
Should a client disagree with the content of their file or feel that it contains inaccurate information, they may register this in writing with FSYR’s Correction of File of Information form. FSYR will respond to this in writing using the Agency’s Response to Correction of File Information form. These documents will be retained in the client file.
Clients do not have access to reports in agency files written by professionals from other service delivery systems. Clients seeking access to reports from another service system will be advised to approach the other system directly.
Receiving and Releasing Information
When information is requested by or from other organizations serving clients, informed written consent must be obtained from clients prior to release or collection.
Clients have the right to withdraw, withhold and place limits on the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information at any time. Counsellors are responsible for explaining the foreseeable risks and benefits associated with these decisions. This information is documented in the records.
Signed consent forms are valid only for the period of time that the file is active. Consent forms must be signed again if the file is reopened.
FSYR provides counselling services to clients in order to further their personal or interpersonal well-being and does not conduct assessments for court purposes. Therefore, FSYR generally does not provide clinical notes or other information gathered during a counselling session for legal purposes or for any other reports.
Record Retention and Destruction
All adult client records are retained for the current year plus ten years, using the most recent closing date as the date of reference, after which they are destroyed. For children and youth files, the destruction date for the file is ten years from the client’s eighteenth birthday. Exceptions as required by law and/or specific contractual agreements are adhered to when greater than the timeframes outlined above.
Family Services York Region respects the privacy of visitors to its website. We strongly believe that if electronic commerce and online activities are to flourish, consumers must be assured that information provided online is used responsibly and appropriately. To protect online privacy, the agency has implemented the following protocol:
FSYR utilizes multiple forms of technology to communicate with clients. When utilizing online platforms and electronic communication, it is FSYR’s policy to:
- Ensure Privacy and confidentiality are protected
- For instance, counselling provided virtually is only offered through secure, end-to-end encrypted platforms and technology containing confidential information (such as virtual counselling platforms, email, voicemail) are password protected
- Inform clients when privacy and confidentiality cannot be protected
- Notably, clients are informed that email communication is not secure and offered alternative modes of communication (such as telephone), as well as how to protect privacy when communicating through email (such as not providing identifying information when possible)
- Clients are also informed that there is a risk of unauthorized access to communication technology
- Discuss limitations of communication technology
- Communication technology is not an appropriate means of accessing crisis support
- Additional limitations of specific forms of communication technology, such as managing complex issues virtually, are addressed as they arise.
Prior to a client utilizing communication technology, the basic principles outlined above and specific details are provided to the client.
About the Information We May Collect
Most of the data and information we collect through our website is used only to help us achieve our mission. It is our policy to collect and store only personal information that our clients knowingly provide.
Casual Website Visitors and General Users
We do not collect any personal information from users browsing our website. When you use the public areas of our website, you are doing so anonymously. We do collect aggregate use information, such as the number of hits (visits) per page. We use aggregate data for internal and marketing purposes, but we don’t collect any personally identifying information.