EPSB.ca » Our District » Board Policies & Administrative Regulations » C - District Administration » CN.AR Creation, Use and Maintenance of District Information

Creation, Use and Maintenance of District Information

  • Code: CN.AR
    Topic: Creation, Use and Maintenance of District Information
    Issue Date: 29/09/2014
    Effective Date: 12/12/2006
    Review Year: 2011

Objective

Edmonton Public Schools believes in managing information as a strategic district resource and to this end is guided by provincial legislation and international record standards.

Definitions

Records means a piece of information in any form and includes notes, images, audiovisual recordings, x-rays, books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers and papers and any other information that is written, photographed, recorded or stored in any manner, but does not include software or any mechanism that produces records. 

Significant Records, regardless of physical form, created or received by the Board or an agent of the Board, are those which document:

  1. results of significant daily activities that support the mission and objectives of the District;
  2. advice and recommendations made to management and the decisions and the rationale for those decisions and actions taken or not taken as a result, along with supporting documentation;
  3. problems encountered in business operations and the steps taken to resolve the problems;
  4. interactions with the public, students, parents, stakeholders, consultants, vendors, business partners, and other school jurisdictions; verbal communications such as meetings, telephone calls and face-to-face discussions where significant actions or decisions have occurred;
  5. legal agreements of any kind, including contracts, along with supporting documentation;
  6. policy, business planning, performance measurement and budget activities, with supporting documentation;
  7. work done for the District by consultants and other external resources; and actions and decisions where payments are made or received, funds committed, services delivered or obligations incurred.
  8. the history of the District; the changes in its organization, departments, staff and programs; facilities and sites; policies, procedures; and relationships with external agencies, including printed documents; provincial government documents which affect the operation of Edmonton Public Schools; curriculum material, and individual school records such as yearbooks and photographs. 

Essential Records are those records which an organization requires to operate, records which must be retrievable after a disaster using the Disaster Recovery Plan. (see B. 8) 

Transitory Records are those which have no enduring value to the District, no legal requirement for retention and have fulfilled their purpose. Types of transitory records include:

  1. a duplicate: an exact copy of a document filed in an official file system;
  2. a document without any enduring value: information useful only for a brief period of time;
  3. advertising materials: anything that offers a product or service for the District to purchase;
  4. blank information media: materials whose purpose is to hold information (e.g., blank forms, blank compact disks)
  5. draft documents and working materials; preliminary versions of intermediate documents, calculations and notes used in the preparation of final versions; and
  6. external publications: books, magazines, pamphlets, software documentation. 

Life Cycle of a Record

  1. Active Records - records that are used on a frequent basis and for which the action, service, transaction, project is not complete. These records are stored on site and access to them is immediate.
  2. Semi-Active Records - records for which the action, service, transaction or project is complete and which are required to be accessible for follow up, evaluation, audit, or legal requirements during a possible dispute. These records are not immediately accessible and may be stored at a centralized district records storage facility.
  3. Closed Records - records that have met all organizational and legal requirements. Records at this stage are either destroyed or transferred to the custody and control of Archives and Museum. 

Personal Information

  1. Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, "personal information" means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including:
  2. the individual's name, home or business address or home or business telephone number,
  3. the individual's race, national or ethnic origin, colour or religious or political beliefs or associations,
  4. the individual's age, sex, marital status or family status,
  5. an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,
  6. the individual's fingerprints, other biometric information, blood type, genetic information or inheritable characteristics,
  7. information about the individual's health and health care history, including information about a physical or mental disability,
  8. information about the individual's educational, financial, employment or criminal history, including criminal records where a pardon has been given, anyone else's opinions about the individual, and
  9. the individual's personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else. 

Employee includes a person who performs a service for the District as a staff member, appointee, volunteer or student or under a contract or agency relationship with the District.

Regulation

  1. DISTRICT RECORDS
    1. The management of all district records requires a number of initiatives as are listed in this section. These initiatives will be under the direction of District Records and FOIP Management. The District Records and FOIP program shall be a strategically developed program in which all components must support each other to achieve the goal of effectively managing information assets.

    2. District Technology shall review all significant acquisitions of information management technologies to ensure the existing infrastructure can support the technology and new technologies fit within the overall architecture of the District for software that affects multiple users and/or department-level applications. District Technology shall review how technology may affect the District's compliance with external requirements (e.g., the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) in consultation with District Records and FOIP Management.

    3. Consistent Classification Scheme
      A consistent methodology for organizing records called a classification scheme shall be developed and maintained by District Records and FOIP Management in collaboration with decision units. Decision unit administrators shall ensure the implementation of the District classification scheme. All staff will file significant records according to the classification scheme.

    4. Records Retention Schedule
      1. District Records and FOIP Management shall ensure the retention periods for records:
        1. meet legislated requirements;
        2. support business operations and educational decisions;
        3. provide evidence of educational programs, business transactions or the history of the District;
        4. facilitate service delivery; and
        5. support the District's ability to respond to ongoing litigation.
      2. The records retention schedule shall document:
        1. criteria to determine when a record can be closed;
        2. concurrent activities that may override the retention schedule, such as litigation or historically significant event;
        3. specific storage requirements and migration strategies to facilitate long term retrieval of information;
        4. identification of essential records and the applicable recovery practices;
        5. those records which will have archival or research value;
        6. those records which contain personally identifiable information;
        7. the length of time records must be stored on-site and off-site;
        8. opinions from legal, technology, District Records and FOIP Management, and finance;
        9. security procedures; and
        10. disposal instructions.
      3. The records retention schedule shall be approved by the Superintendent of Schools.
    5. Responsibility for Records
      Central service decision unit administrators and principals, in their role as Record Managers and FOIP Coordinators, shall implement the retention schedule by:
      1. maintaining the continuity of records essential to the conduct of business in their area of responsibility;
      2. controlling access to all district records in their area of responsibility;
      3. maintaining an inventory of the district records in their area of responsibility;
      4. arranging for the safe storage of the District's records in their area of responsibility, for the period of time prescribed in the district records retention schedule;
      5. consulting with Legal Counsel, District Records and FOIP Management or Archives and Museums regarding exceptions to the retention schedule; and
      6. employing appropriate transfer and disposal procedures.
    6. Access Provisions for Semi-Active and Archival Records
      1. Records that are semi-active may be stored in a centralized district records storage facility. Central service decision unit administrators and principals remain responsible for the records until final disposition. Records that are in storage shall be available for reference with the authorization of the responsible decision unit administrator or the District Records and FOIP Management Manager. Retrieval services shall be provided to staff.
      2. District Records and FOIP Management shall be responsible for the management of centralized records storage facility.
      3. Archives and Museum shall be responsible for the management of district archives.
      4. Archives and Museum may grant access to records containing personal information if:
        1. the research proposal meets district criteria for acceptable research practices in accordance with IQ.AR - Conducting Research Within the District
        2. the research proposal is of educational benefit or significance to the District; and
        3. the disclosure otherwise conforms to the requirements of Section 42 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
    7. Forms Management
      Decision unit administrators and principals shall be responsible to ensure all forms collecting personal information meet published district standards. A central repository for all district form templates shall be maintained by District Records and FOIP Management. Communications and District Records and FOIP Management shall jointly develop and publish standards for content and appearance of all district forms. Records and FOIP Management will offer advice and assistance on appropriate collection of personal information.

    8. Disaster Recovery
      District Records and FOIP Management shall be responsible for the development and maintenance of a methodology for defining, identifying, and protecting essential records. Decision unit administrators and custodial business units shall be responsible for ensuring protective measures are in place.

    9. Information Security
      1. District Records and FOIP Management shall develop and maintain a consistent set of categories for the classification of information based on sensitivities and disclosure risks. Categories shall specify criteria and appropriate security measures to protect the information.
      2. Record and FOIP Coordinators shall ensure that security arrangements are in place for information under their custody and control in keeping with district standards.
      3. District Technology shall provide advice and assistance to principals and decision unit administrators with respect to appropriate electronic security measures.
    10. Management of Contracts
      When a principal or decision unit administrator enters into a contract agreement with another individual or organization, they are placing obligations on the District. A contract is defined as any legally binding agreement, written or verbal, between the District and another individual or organization. Purchasing and Contract Services provides assistance regarding vendor contracts in accordance with CWA.AR - Expenditure of Public Funds. General Counsel shall create and maintain a standards document to assist principals and decision unit administrators in protecting district interests for other contracts. Before entering into negotiations that will result in a contract, principals and decision unit administrators should consult the standards document. Contracts obligating the district to release or exchange personal information shall meet district standards.
  2. COLLECTING, RECEIVING AND CREATING PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
    1. Collection of Personal Information
      1. Personal information shall be collected only if it relates directly toward and is necessary for an operating program or activity of the District and the District has the authority to collect the information.
    2. Processes for Collection of Information
      1. Employees must take appropriate steps to ensure personal information is accurate. When collecting personal information staff shall inform the individual as to why the information is being collected, how long the information will be retained and who they can contact for clarification.
      2. Programs and practices to ensure the District meets its legislated requirements shall be developed and implemented as defined in this section.
    3. Protection of Privacy
      1. All personally identifiable information shall be managed to ensure individual privacy is maintained. District Records and FOIP Management shall develop and publish standards and best practices. Decision unit administrators shall be responsible to meet the prescribed guidelines and standards for all personally identifiable information in their area of responsibility.
      2. All personally identifiable information shall be collected and disclosed on the basis of delivering a service or program. All staff information sharing shall be limited to only what is needed in order to complete a task. All personal information is sensitive; therefore privacy shall be protected during the collection, storage, use, sharing and transmission of personally identifiable information by all staff.
  3. ACCESS TO INFORMATION
    The right of access is the cornerstone of openness and accountability of public bodies. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is in addition to and does not replace existing procedures for the public to obtain access to information from the District. A request for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is a costly undertaking for the district and wherever possible, requests for information should be accommodated outside of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, but in keeping with the access and privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
    1. Right of Access
      1. The public has the right of access to records held by public bodies, subject to narrow and specific exceptions.
      2. An individual's right of access to their own information is significant and any exceptions to access should be interpreted with a view to giving an individual as much access as possible to their own personal information.
      3. Any disclosure of personal information must be in compliance with the privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
    2. FOIP Requests
      1. A request for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act must be made in writing and sent to the attention of the District Records and FOIP Manager. The request may be made by completing a Right of Access Information Form or by writing a letter requesting specific records and referencing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
      2. Employees must not reveal the identity of a FOIP applicant in any communication, formal or informal, with any other individual unless the other individual requires the identity to search for responsive records.
    3. In the Public Interest
      All decisions related to an information disclosure in the public interest must be approved by the FOIP Head and, or the Superintendent of Schools.
  4. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
    Each employee is responsible for properly handling and protecting information in their custody and control. Descriptions of various roles throughout the organization are detailed below; each employee will find themselves described in one or more of the roles.
    1. The FOIP Head shall be responsible for:
      1. ensuring that the district complies with the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
      2. all decisions made under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
      3. reporting as required to the Ministry responsible for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act on the operation of the Act.
    2. The District Records and FOIP Manager shall be responsible for:
      1. developing, implementing and maintaining a district records management program
      2. providing advice and assistance to employees in understanding and applying the legislated requirements related to access of information and protection of privacy
      3. providing training programs on access to information and protection of privacy and coordinating participation in FOIP courses offered by the Government of Alberta
      4. advising staff on information that can be released as a routine disclosure or only under a FOIP request
      5. managing the FOIP request process for the District
        1. assisting applicants
        2. assigning requests
        3. monitoring and tracking the processing of requests
        4. meeting time limits and notification requirements
        5. considering representations from third parties
        6. calculating fee estimates and collecting fees
      6. setting up practices and procedures to ensure that privacy protection measures are implemented and carried out
      7. coordinating any negotiations, mediations, inquiries, investigations, and audits with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC)
      8. ensuring staff are aware of other Acts and regulations that restrict the disclosure of information
      9. coordinating the development and maintenance of a directory of records and establishing a list of Personal Information Banks
      10. providing training for all staff for managing and handling information specific to their responsibilities
    3. Records and FOIP Coordinators
      The following positions shall be designated Records and FOIP Coordinators:
      1. Principals
      2. Decision Unit Managers/Administrators
      3. District Records and FOIP Manager (district level)
    4. The District has two large records collections containing personally identifiable information. Each collection is identified below with a designated Records and FOIP Coordinator.
      1. Student Records - Director District Support Services and Student Information
      2. Personnel Records - Director Staff Relations
    5. Records and FOIP Coordinators shall be responsible for:
      1. implementing district policies, regulations, and procedures to manage records under their custody and control;
      2. setting up practices and procedures to ensure that the management and security of records in the custody and control of their decision unit or school meets district and legislated requirements related to access to information and protection of privacy;
      3. ensuring staff follow appropriate practices and facilitating training opportunities;
      4. identifying and providing access to information that can be released as a routine disclosure or outside of a FOIP Request;
      5. assisting the District Records and FOIP Manager in responding to a FOIP request.
    6. All employees shall be responsible for:
      1. documenting, creating and organizing district information in the course of their work in a way that is objective and professional;
      2. following district record management procedures and respecting the principles of access to information and protection of personal privacy in an open accountability organization;
      3. protecting all information while in their custody and control, ensuring the risk of unauthorized disclosure of personal or other confidential information is minimized;
      4. making sure they have authority to collect personal information they request;
      5. ensuring personal information is used in a way that is consistent with the original purpose of collection;
      6. sharing personal information only with individuals or organizations that have the right of access or the consent of the individual about whom the information applies;
      7. exercising their judgment in refusing to confirm the existence or nonexistence of a record if it is believed that an applicant's knowledge that a record exists or not may pose a danger to an individual or would be an unreasonable invasion of their privacy;
      8. assisting individuals in accessing information in accordance with district procedures;
      9. taking reasonable steps to verify accuracy of information used to make decisions affecting individuals.

References

CN.BP Managing District Information
CWA.AR Expenditure of Public Funds
IQ.AR Conducting Research Within the District
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Government of Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Website
Right of Access Information Form