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Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Policy

Approved: January 16, 2006

Revised: June 21, 2010

Policy Objectives

To ensure that Toronto Public Library (the Library) complies with the spirit, principles and intent of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

To ensure that members of the public have access to information about the operations of the Library and to their own personal information held by the Library in accordance with the access provisions of MFIPPA.

To ensure that the privacy of individuals' personal information is protected in compliance with the privacy provisions of MFIPPA.

Underlying Principles/Background

The Library is guided by the values of accountability and integrity in the provision of public service. These values speak to the need for openness, and responsibility in all operations.

The Library's mandate is to provide library services and programs to the community. The continuing rise in Internet use has generated increasing public concerns about privacy and the security of personal information that is provided during on-line transactions. It is essential that the Library maintain the trust and confidence of its users, and continue to encourage their use of its services and programs. The Library recognizes that users' choices about the materials they borrow and websites they visit is a private matter. The Library will therefore make every reasonable effort to ensure that information about its users and their use of library materials, services and programs remains confidential.

The Toronto Public Library Board has also endorsed the Canadian Library Association's Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom. This statement affirms the fundamental right of all Canadians to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly.

The Toronto Public Library's Security Video Surveillance Policy covers the Library's policy for ensuring that its use of security video surveillance cameras protects the privacy of individual's personal information in compliance with the privacy provisions of MFIPPA.

Policy Statement

The Toronto Public Library Board will make information about the Library available to the public, and protect the privacy of all individuals' personal information in its custody or control in keeping with the access and privacy provisions of MFIPPA and other applicable legislation.

Scope

This policy applies to all information held by the Library, including general information related to its operations, to personal information collected from users of its services and programs, and to personal information relating to Library staff.

Application

This policy applies to the Toronto Public Library Board, staff, and volunteers.

Specific Directives

  1. The Library will ensure that a retention schedule for a directory of general records and a directory of personal information banks is available to the public. This schedule will be updated on a regular basis.
  2. Privacy and Access statements, together with procedures to be followed in making a request for information, will be publicly available through the Toronto Public Library's web site and in hard copy.
  3. A notice of collection statement in compliance with MFIPPA will be available at all registration desks and on all Library forms used to collect personal information. The notice statement will include: the Library's legal authority for the collection; the principal purpose(s) for which the personal information is to be used; the title, business address and business telephone number of a Library officer or employee who can answer questions about the collection; and that personal information may, with the user's consent, be disclosed to the Toronto Public Library Foundation for fundraising purposes.
  4. Third party service providers will be required to ensure, by means of a statement in their contract, that any staff or users' personal information to which they have access is only to be utilised for the purposes of carrying out the service they provide to the Library and for no other purpose.
  5. Library staff will be provided with training in the access and privacy provisions of MFIPPA and in the contents of this policy.

Accountability

The City Librarian is responsible and accountable for documenting, implementing, enforcing, monitoring and updating the Library's privacy and access compliance.

Appendices

The City Librarian is responsible and accountable for documenting, implementing, enforcing, monitoring and updating the Library's privacy and access compliance.

Appendix 1: References

  1. Canadian Library Association: Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom Statement on Intellectual Freedom Approved by Executive Council - June 27, 1974; Amended November 17, 1983; and November 18, 1985 All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation's Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society. Libraries have a basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom. It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, libraries shall acquire and make available the widest variety of materials. It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee the right of free expression by making available all the library's public facilities and services to all individuals and groups who need them. Libraries should resist all efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups. Both employees and employers in libraries have a duty, in addition to their institutional responsibilities, to uphold these principles.
  2. Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M. 56
  3. Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.R.O. 1991, Regulation 372/91 as Amended
  4. Public Libraries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 44
  5. City of Toronto Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A
  6. Toronto Public Library Circulation and Collection Use Policy
  7. Toronto Public Library Internet Use Policy
  8. Toronto Public Library Records Management Policy
  9. Toronto Public Library Financial Control Policy
  10. Toronto Public Library Security Video Surveillance Policy

Appendix 2: Definitions

General Records is a collection of general information that is organized and capable of being retrieved using the record series as identified in the directory of records. The records contain no personal information.

Personal Information means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including:

  1. Information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual,
  2. Information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved,
  3. Any identifying number, symbol, or other particular assigned to the individual,
  4. The address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,
  5. The personal opinions or views of the individual except if they relate to another individual,
  6. Correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence,
  7. The views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and
  8. The individual's name if it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual

Personal information bank is a collection of personal information that is organized and capable of being retrieved using an individual's name or an identifying number or particular assigned to the individual.

Record means any record of information however recorded, whether in printed form, on film, by electronic means or otherwise, and includes:

  1. Correspondence, a memorandum, a book, a plan, a drawing, a diagram, a pictorial or graphic work, a photograph, a film, a microfilm, a sound recording, a videotape, a machine readable record, any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, and any copy thereof, and
  2. Subject to the regulations, any record that is capable of being produced from a machine readable record under the control of an institution by means of computer hardware and software or any other information storage equipment and technical expertise normally used by the institution.

Appendix 3: Contact

Director, Policy, Planning and E-Service Delivery
Tel: 416-395-5602

Library Service Manager
Tel: 416-395-5604

Policy Analyst
Tel: 416-395-0744