Information for Parents and Legal Guardians


The well-being, safety, education and health of children are priorities for Manitobans.
While parents and guardians of children have the primary responsibility to ensure the well-being of their children, service providers across the province, and in various sectors, also play an essential role in protecting and improving the circumstances of Manitoba’s youngest citizens. Timely sharing of information among service providers can play a crucial role in protecting the safety of at-risk children and promoting their well-being.


The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act (act) came into effect on September 15, 2017.

The act allows service providers in Manitoba to collect, use and share personal information (including personal health information) about supported children and their parents and guardians. The act provides legal authority (ability) for service providers to share personal information with other service providers.

Also, the act only applies to legal guardians. Personal information about caregivers who do not have legal guardianship of supported children cannot be shared, according to this act.

Under the act, the purpose of sharing personal information is to plan or provide services and benefits for supported children. Information can only be shared under the act if it is reasonably believed by the service provider to be in the supported child’s best interests.


The authority (ability) to share personal information is in addition to that already found in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).


The benefits of the act include:

  • timely sharing of information
  • informed decision making
  • improved services and outcomes for supported children

Note: A service provider may also share personal information about the parents and legal guardians of supported children, if the service provider reasonably believes it to be in the supported child’s best interests. Personal information about caregivers who do not have legal guardianship of supported children cannot be shared, under this act.


Trustees under The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA)

Trustees under PHIA can also share personal health information about a supported child with another trustee or with a service provider.

However, for a trustee to share personal information about a parent or a legal guardian with another service provider or trustee, they must also meet the definition of a service provider under this act. A trustee that is not a service provider is not authorized to share personal information about a parent or a legal guardian, but rather only of a supported child. A trustee is a:

  • health professional
  • health care facility
  • public body
  • health services agency

Read more about trustees and The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act.

Legal Obligations about Information Sharing

Service providers must ensure that the sharing of personal information is:

Also, when sharing personal information under the act, service providers must:

  • include relevant information about the strengths of the supported child and his or her parents or guardians, where available
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that the information is accurate and not misleading (e.g., relevant and up-to-date)

Talking to Families about Information Sharing

The act allows service providers to collect, use and share personal information about supported children and their parents or legal guardians without their consent. Timely sharing of information among service providers can play a crucial role in protecting the safety of at-risk children and promoting their well-being.

Although consent is not required before sharing personal information, it is best practice for service providers to inform parents, legal guardians and children over 12 years of age of the legal authority (ability) to share their personal information with other service providers.

Also, if it is believed to be in the child’s best interests, service providers should engage the family in service planning. Either before or after sharing personal information, a service provider may tell the parent, legal guardian or supported child over 12 years of age about a specific disclosure.

Parents and legal guardians can ask service providers how they plan to use the personal information that they collect. Remember that service providers can share personal information ONLY if they believe that it is in the supported child’s best interests to do so.



Note

  • Personal information about a person who is taking care of a supported child, but who is not the supported child’s parent or legal guardian, cannot be shared.
  • Under the act, a foster parent is considered to be a service provider.
  • Personal information includes personal health information, as defined under The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).