6.14 Confidentiality and Access to Information

6.14.1 Confidentiality (Access to Information)

Participant Access to Files


EIA Release of Participant Personal Info and Personal Health Info (PDF 87 KB)
Participants may access their files either through the informal exchange of information between EIA and the participant, or through the formal process of applying for access under The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). To access these pieces of legislation on line use the following links:
When participants request access to their files informally, a record should be kept of when the request was made and when the file was examined. This record should be kept in the participant's Case Management Record (CMR).
Participants are entitled to see their personal information and personal health information, including medical assessments, psychological reports, treatment options, etc., regardless of who prepared the report or how the report was obtained.
Information that cannot be shared with participants includes any information that would invade a third party’s privacy. This includes, but is not limited to, a third party’s personal health information, source of income, racial or ethnic origin, religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation, or any information that could identify a third party who provided information to the Department in confidence. For details, see FIPPA Part 3, "Mandatory Exemptions" and Division 4, "Discretionary Exemptions". If a worker is uncertain what information can be shared with a participant, he or she can contact the Department’s Access and Privacy Coordinator at 204-945-4823 with questions.

Third Party Access to Files

Most requests from other external parties related to sharing personal and/or personal health information requires that the external party provide a signed release from the participant. This release is necessary even if the external party has opted to submit a FIPPA application. EIA staff should ensure all information shared is necessary and relevant to the issue at hand. In cases where a FIPPA application has been completed, EIA staff should forward the application and consent form to the Department’s Access Privacy Coordinator by fax at 204-945-2964 who will facilitate the sharing of any appropriate information with the external party.
There are some exceptions to this rule including requests by any police organization engaged in an investigation, subpoenaed information through the court process, child maintenance enforcement program representatives and child and family services social workers investigating Child Protection issues. When you receive these types of requests, EIA staff should provide the information directly.

6.14.2 The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)

The intent of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) is not to inhibit or restrict the informal exchange of information. This informal exchange may continue without the requirement of an Application for Access form, and associated fees, as long as only non-exempt information is requested.
Wherever possible, EIA staff is encouraged to be open and receptive to participants who request information and to provide non-exempt information on an informal basis.

FIPPA Fee Schedule

Some participants may choose the formal process and apply for access to information under FIPPA. When an application for access to information has been received, the following fees established under the Access and Privacy Regulation must be charged to the applicant:
  • There is no charge for completing and submitting an Application for Access form.
  • The first two hours of search and preparation time are free to applicants. A charge of $15.00 is applied to each additional half hour.
  • The first 50 pages of photocopying are free to applicants requesting copies of their own personal information. A fee of $0.20 will be charged for each additional page requested.
  • Computer programming or electronic data processing costs payable to another department, person or agency outside of the government, which are incurred by a department while responding to an application, shall be included in the total fee charged.
In general, FIPPA applicants must pay the estimated charge prior to their information request being processed. When the actual charges are less than the estimated charges, a refund is issued. However, this general procedure may be replaced by the procedures outlined in the fee payment process section below.

Special Needs FIPPA

EIA participants applying for access under FIPPA may, under certain conditions, be granted special needs funds for payment of associated fees. Funds will be provided only to access information respecting individual participant records. Requests for special needs funds for the payment of FIPPA fees incurred at other government departments, Crown corporations and agencies will only be provided if the information requested specifically pertains to the applicant's eligibility for assistance received under the EIA Program.
The maximum amount that may be provided per fiscal year, per household, for payment of FIPPA fees shall not exceed $150.00. All special needs requests and payment of FIPPA fees must be approved by the director or designate.

Fee Payment Process

Participant Pays Fees: If participants pay for the associated fees with their own funds, the request and payment shall follow the normal FIPPA process.
Special Needs Request: If participants request special needs funds to pay for associated fees to access information regarding their eligibility for assistance, the Access Coordinator shall provide the participant with the necessary form indicating the information requested, approval of the estimated FIPPA fee to be provided through special needs, and authority for the fees to be paid directly to the appropriate department. A copy of the completed form with the participant's signature should be forwarded by the Access Coordinator to the Departmental Access Coordinator.
Payment of Special Needs: Payment should not be initiated until the actual cost of providing the information is known. Payment may be provided through special needs as an extenuating circumstance under the needs code SNFI. The amount provided through special needs should be the lesser of the actual or estimated fee. Upon producing a "K" cheque made payable to the participant for the amount that will be deducted from his/her special needs entitlement, the Access Coordinator shall notify the participant in writing of this amount, then forward the "K" cheque directly to the Departmental Access Officer to process and deposit in general revenue.
Special Needs Payments - Other Government Departments: If the payment of fees is approved, payment will only be provided when the participant has provided evidence of the application and the actual cost of the fees is known.
Payment procedures for participants requesting special needs funds to cover fees incurred while accessing information at other departments should follow the same process as in Payment of Special Needs.

6.14.3 Relatives of Staff Members

EIA workers are not permitted to assume responsibility for files involving persons related to them by blood or marriage.  Cases identified by workers as being related to by blood or marriage should be brought to the attention of the District Director and reviewed under the conflict of interest guidelines.

6.14.4 Interprovincial Moves

Participants who wish to move to another province are provided with assistance to move only in certain circumstances. In general, assistance to move is provided when the participant has confirmed employment, requires protection, or needs specialized medical treatment. Both the Central Office and the receiving province should be satisfied that such conditions exist.
As a matter of courtesy and to provide a safe transition for the participant, the Central Office will request clearance from the receiving province when a person in need plans to move to another province and requests assistance.