As of June 10, 2006, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) applies to Ontario universities. It has two goals:
- Provide access to information held by Carleton University to the public
- Protect people’s privacy and personal information
Nobody can have access to:
- Your personal communication, teaching materials, research and study notes, reports, manuscripts – unless you prepared it under contract for the university
- Any information which is an “unjustified invasion of privacy”
However, your email communication on university matters or expense accounts submitted to the university for reimbursement may be disclosed
Can I post students’ grades in a public area (office door, bulletin board, etc.)?
Grades are students’ personal information and they need to be protected. Grades should not be posted in public spaces, regardless of class size.
Can students compare their marks to the marks of other students in the class?
You can provide class averages and a list of other students’ marks; just exclude names, student numbers and other personal information.
Can I allow a student to access her/his records?
Students have the right to inspect their academic record and to challenge contents which they believe to be inaccurate. You can respond informally and allow the access. If you think that a student cannot see their records (for example, evaluative/opinion materials), advise the student to make a formal request to the Freedom of Information Privacy Coordinator.
Can I provide references for students?
Faculty and staff members should not provide a reference, written or oral, without the written consent of the student. Copies of reference letters can be released to the student only if the writer has given written permission.
What should I do with graded assignments and exams?
Student exams and assignments should be returned only to the student who wrote the paper, unless you have written permission from the student. Any material that contributes to a student’s grade should not be left in a public place for pick up.
Is the university obliged to disclose exam questions, tests and other evaluative procedures?
If disclosure undermines the effectiveness or fairness of an examination, testing procedure or other means of evaluation, the university may refuse to disclose records.
What cannot be released?
Any personal information. That is, information about an identifiable individual, such as:
- Race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, address, telephone number, fingerprints, blood type, educational, medical, psychiatric, criminal or employment history
- Financial transactions in which the individual has been involved
- Any identifying number (student or employee number, for example) or symbol assigned to the individual
- The individual’s personal opinions except where they relate to another person
- The views or opinions of another individual about the individual
- Grades, tests, essays or library circulation records
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