Early Childhood Programs Toronto Page 2


When making a request to formally share information about a child (in a scheduled meeting,
reports etc), staff will review the above with parents and then ask them to sign a consent form
that allows for the sharing of information (sample Consent for the Release of Information
In addition to these more organized situations, it is beneficial to have parental consent
(sample Consent for Informal and Ongoing Sharing of Information attached) to allow less
formal information exchanges (e.g. attendance, illness, behaviour) between staff if children
attend multiple programs (school, child care, family support).
In the case of a family who is unable to understand the consent form(s) it is strongly
recommended that an interpreter is used. An interpreter may be defined as another family
member, a family friend or another individual agreed upon by the parent. If a parent is unable
to read the consent, it is acceptable to read the document and ensure they understand the
information prior to signing.
The signed original consent will be given to the parents for their records. A copy will be given
to the third party named in the consent form and a copy will also be retained in the child's file.
Parents/Guardians have the right to cancel or change their consent. It is recommended that
this request be made in writing.
In all cases written information (Reports, Assessments etc) must be shared directly by
the parents/guardians or by the agency that provided the original report.
C. Legal Obligations and Government Policy:
It is essential that staff working with children are aware that maintaining confidentiality and
obtaining consent prior to sharing information about children is a legal requirement as well as
ethical practice.
1. PIPEDA: The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act is a new law
that protects personal information in the hands of private sector organizations and provides
guidelines for the collection, use and disclosure of that information in the course of
commercial activity.
As of January 1, 2004, all Canadian businesses, including child care centres, are required to
comply with the privacy principles set out by PIPEDA. The Act covers both traditional, paper-
based and on-line business. PIPEDA defines personal information as "information about an
identifiable individual" that includes any factual or subjective information, recorded or not, in
any form.
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