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
Based on regulatory bodies, there is no maximum time for retention of clinical files, therefore FSYR does not destroy clinical files. If needed, FSYR would follow the minimum timeframes for record retention and dispose of records in such a way that ensures that the confidentiality of the information is not compromised.