SHORE Centre is committed to safeguarding the personal information entrusted to us by our clients, program participants, volunteers, staff, and donors. We manage your personal information in accordance with Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act and other applicable laws. This policy outlines the principles and practices we follow in protecting your personal information.
This policy applies to SHORE Centre and to any person providing services on our behalf. A copy of this policy is provided to anyone on request and is posted to our website.
What is personal information?
Personal information means information about an identifiable individual. This includes an individual’s name, home address and phone number, age, sex, gender, health history, an identifying number, financial information, educational history, etc.
What personal information do we collect?
We collect only the personal information that we need for the purposes of providing services to our clients, program participants, volunteers, staff, and donors, including personal information needed to:
- deliver client services and programming
- provide services and programming with community partners
- submit referrals on behalf of clients
- communicate with donors and volunteers
- employ and manage staff and volunteers
We normally collect client, program participant, volunteer, staff, or donor personal information directly from them. We may collect your information from other persons with your consent or as required or authorized by law.
There are some exceptional circumstances when we cannot maintain strict confidentiality because of ethical or legal requirements, such as:
- When records are required by law (eg. Courts).
- When a SHORE Centre employee or volunteer suspects child abuse or neglect.
- When there is a need to intervene to prevent serious harm to yourself or someone else.
- When we are required according to Canada’s Legal Age of Consent to Sexual Activity laws.
We inform our clients, program participants, volunteers, staff, or donors, before or at the time of collecting personal information, and of the purposes for which we are collecting the information.
We ask for written consent to collect, use or disclose your personal information, except in specific circumstances where collection, use or disclosure without consent is authorized or required by law.
We assume your consent to continue to use and, where applicable, disclose personal information that we have already collected, for the purpose for which the information was collected.
A client, program participant, volunteer, staff, or donor may withdraw consent to the use and disclosure of personal information at any time, unless the personal information is necessary for us to fulfil our legal obligations. We will respect your decision, but we may not be able to provide you with certain services if we do not have the necessary personal information.
How do we use and disclose personal information?
We use your personal information only for the purpose for which the information was collected, except as authorized or required by law.
We do not publish the names of our clients, program participants, volunteers, or donors without their written consent.
We may disclose non-identifying information on our clients, program participants, volunteers, staff, and donors. This information includes the combining of multiple client stories into a client example story and demographic information.
If we wish to use or disclose your personal information for any new purpose, we will ask for your consent.
How do we safeguard personal information?
We make every reasonable effort to ensure that personal information is accurate and complete. We rely on individuals to notify us if there is a change to their personal information that may affect their relationship with our organization. If you are aware of an error in our information about you, please let us know and we will correct it on request wherever possible. In some cases we may ask for a written request for correction.
We protect personal information in a manner appropriate for the sensitivity of the information. We make every reasonable effort to prevent any loss, misuse, disclosure or modification of personal information, as well as any unauthorized access to personal information.
We use appropriate security measures when destroying personal information, including shredding paper records and permanently deleting electronic records.
We retain personal information only as long as is reasonable to fulfil the purposes for which the information was collected. Client and program participant records are destroyed within 3 months. Online chat records are deleted within 48 hours of the end of the chat. Volunteer records are destroyed within 12 months of the volunteer ending their relationship with us. Employee and donor records are kept indefinitely.
Access to records containing personal information
Individuals have a right to access their own personal information in a record that is in the custody or under the control of SHORE Centre subject to some exceptions. If we refuse a request in whole or in part, we will provide the reasons for the refusal. In some cases where exceptions to access apply, we may withhold that information and provide you with the remainder of the record. You may also request information about our use of your personal information and any disclosure of that information to persons outside our organization. In addition, you may request a correction of an error or omission in your personal information.
You may make a request for access to your personal information by writing to the Executive Director or Board President. You must provide sufficient information in your request to allow us to identify the information you are seeking. We will respond to your request within 45 calendar days.
Questions and complaints
If you have a question or concern about any collection, use or disclosure of personal information by SHORE Centre, or about a request for access to your own personal information, please contact the Executive Director or Board President.
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you should contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.