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Privacy Policy

Dufferin Child and Family Services is committed to protecting your privacy and developing technology that gives you the most powerful and safe online experience. This Statement of Privacy applies to the Dufferin Child and Family Services Web site and governs data collection and usage. By using the Dufferin Child and Family Services website, you consent to the data practices described in this statement.

Collection of your Personal Information

Dufferin Child and Family Services collects personally identifiable information, such as your e-mail address, name, home or work address or telephone number. Dufferin Child and Family Services also collects anonymous demographic information, which is not unique to you, such as your ZIP code, age, gender, preferences, interests and favorites.

There is also information about your computer hardware and software that is automatically collected by Dufferin Child and Family Services. This information can include: your IP address, browser type, domain names, access times and referring Web site addresses. This information is used by Dufferin Child and Family Services for the operation of the service, to maintain quality of the service, and to provide general statistics regarding use of the Dufferin Child and Family Services Web site.

Please keep in mind that if you directly disclose personally identifiable information or personally sensitive data through Dufferin Child and Family Services public message boards, this information may be collected and used by others. Note: Dufferin Child and Family Services does not read any of your private online communications.

Dufferin Child and Family Services encourages you to review the privacy statements of Web sites you choose to link to from Dufferin Child and Family Services so that you can understand how those Web sites collect, use and share your information. Dufferin Child and Family Services is not responsible for the privacy statements or other content on Web sites outside of the Dufferin Child and Family Services and Dufferin Child and Family Services family of Web sites.

Use of your Personal Information

Dufferin Child and Family Services collects and uses your personal information to operate the Dufferin Child and Family Services Web site and deliver the services you have requested. Dufferin Child and Family Services also uses your personally identifiable information to inform you of other products or services available from Dufferin Child and Family Services and its affiliates. Dufferin Child and Family Services may also contact you via surveys to conduct research about your opinion of current services or of potential new services that may be offered.

Dufferin Child and Family Services does not sell, rent or lease its customer lists to third parties. Dufferin Child and Family Services may, from time to time, contact you on behalf of external business partners about a particular offering that may be of interest to you. In those cases, your unique personally identifiable information (e-mail, name, address, telephone number) is not transferred to the third party. In addition, Dufferin Child and Family Services may share data with trusted partners to help us perform statistical analysis, send you email or postal mail, provide customer support, or arrange for deliveries. All such third parties are prohibited from using your personal information except to provide these services to Dufferin Child and Family Services, and they are required to maintain the confidentiality of your information.

Dufferin Child and Family Services does not use or disclose sensitive personal information, such as race, religion, or political affiliations, without your explicit consent.

Dufferin Child and Family Services keeps track of the Web sites and pages our customers visit within Dufferin Child and Family Services, in order to determine what Dufferin Child and Family Services services are the most popular. This data is used to deliver customized content and advertising within Dufferin Child and Family Services to customers whose behavior indicates that they are interested in a particular subject area.

Dufferin Child and Family Services Web sites will disclose your personal information, without notice, only if required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: (a) conform to the edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on Dufferin Child and Family Services or the site; (b) protect and defend the rights or property of Dufferin Child and Family Services; and, (c) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of users of Dufferin Child and Family Services, or the public.

Child Protection Specific Privacy Information in Accordance with Part X of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (2017)

Ontario has a law that protects your personal information relating to services that you receive from us. We are required to follow the privacy rules under the Child Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. We are required to keep your personal information safe and secure. You have the right to know how we may use and give out your service information, and how you can get access to it.

We are committed to promoting privacy and protecting the confidentiality of the personal information we hold about you and the services you have received.

Child Protection Mandate

Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) is a multi-service agency.  One service we provide is child protection, as mandated under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (2017).

Child Protection Service Providers (Children’s Aid Societies/CAS) have the exclusive mandate to provide child protection services in Ontario. CASs work to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children. Every CAS in the province is responsible for a specific jurisdiction and at times CASs work together to fulfill their mandate.

Personal Information We Collect and How We Use It and Disclose It

Our records may include personal information collected to provide services to you including for example: your date of birth, contact information, records of meetings with you and/or your family, the services you received, the programs you attended, details of your physical and mental health, medical, psychological or psychiatric reports, school information, financial information, employment history, allegations or findings of child maltreatment, court documentation, police interventions, criminal history, your views or opinions, the views and opinions of others about you and information about your race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, cultural or linguistic needs, marital or family status. 

We collect, use, and disclose (meaning share) personal information to:

  • investigate allegations that children may be in need of protection and, where necessary, protect children;
  • assess, reduce or eliminate a risk of harm to a child or serious harm to other person or group of people;
  • provide services to children and their families for protecting children or for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children;
  • provide care for children and supervise children under our supervision;
  • assess and approve homes for children who cannot remain with their families;
  • place children for adoption;
  • plan and manage services; 
  • aid a law enforcement agency investigation;
  • receive payment or process, monitor, verify or reimburse claims for payment;  
  • detect, monitor or prevent fraud or any unauthorized receipt of services or benefits;
  • provide appointment reminders; 
  • seek consent (or consent of a substitute decision-maker) where appropriate; 
  • conduct risk management, error management and quality improvement activities;
  • service recipient surveying;
  • dispose of identifiable information;
  • respond to or initiating legal proceedings;
  • conduct research (subject to certain rules);
  • compile statistics;
  • report to the government as required by law;
  • allow for the analysis, administration and management of the children’s aid system;
  • comply with legal and regulatory requirements; and
  • fulfill other purposes permitted or required by law.

In child protection cases, we collect information about children who may be at risk of harm or in need of our services. This includes the personal information of the child and important people in the child’s life. We collect this information from children, their families or indirectly from members of the community or other service providers.

We also collect personal information about caregivers and those who seek to provide care to children in need, such as foster parents, adoptive parents and members of a child’s extended family. We collect most of this information directly from those individuals. 

Our collection, use and disclosure (sharing) of personal information is done in accordance with Ontario law.

Other Children’s Aid Societies

CASs share information with each other to better protect children. Information collected by one CAS may be provided to other CASs when the other CAS needs to know the information to provide child protection services.

Service Providers

Service Providers are persons or organizations who assist us to deliver services to children and families. We share only the information that is necessary for service providers to deliver and administer these services.

Other Third Parties

Sometimes we receive requests for information from third parties such as the police, government agencies and people involved in court cases with our clients. We only give personal information about service recipients to third parties if:

  • we have the individual’s consent;
  • there is a court order, search warrant, or urgent demand for records requiring disclosure; or
  • we are legally permitted or required to provide the information.

If you have questions about this, please ask us.

Your Choices and Who Decides

We do not need consent to fulfill our primary role as a child protection agency, to protect children, where we are required by law to collect, use and disclose personal information. For example, we do not need your permission to meet our child protection obligations or to share your personal information to keep you or someone else safe (it’s called to assess, eliminate or reduce a risk of serious harm).  

There are other situations where you have the right to make your own information privacy decisions. When we require and ask for your permission, you may choose to say no. If you say yes, you may change your mind at any time. Once you say no, we will no longer share your information unless you say so. Your choice to say no may be subject to some limits. 

When there is a right to consent, you may make your own decisions if you are “capable”. You may be capable of making some information privacy decisions and not others. If you are not capable – you will have a substitute decision-maker who will make your information decisions for you. Who can act as a substitute decision-maker and what they have to do is also set out in law.

For children, there is no legal age when you become able to make your own decisions about your personal information.  If you are capable, you can make your own decisions. However, if you are under the age of 16, there are some additional rules to know. 

  • If you are not capable, your parent(s) or other official guardian will make decisions for you as your substitute decision-maker.
  • If you are capable, you will make your own decisions. 
  • If you are capable, your parent(s) or guardian will also be allowed to make some decisions about your personal information service records. But they will not be able to make decisions about any records about treatment or counseling to which you alone consented. 

We encourage you to ask your case worker questions to find out more about privacy and your family.

How We Retain and Dispose of Information

CPIN is a provincial information management system used by CASs.  CPIN is the primary tool for storing information needed to deliver CAS services.  

CPIN contains information about children and their families who receive child protection services. It also contains information about caregivers and those who seek to provide care to children in need, such as foster parents, adoptive parents and members of a child’s extended family.

In CPIN, information is stored in person, case and provider records that are designed to hold the unique information for each service. Person, case and provider records are linked when appropriate to create an overall picture of a client’s or caregiver’s child protection services. 

We also have some older paper and electronic case files that predate CPIN.

We keep the information collected because it might be necessary for future cases. We also keep the information because former service recipients may ask to see their records. 

When we dispose of personal information, we do so securely.

Safeguards

Your personal information must be kept private and secure. Everyone here is bound by confidentiality. We have to protect your information from loss or theft and make sure no one looks at it or does something with your information if they are not involved in providing services to you or allowed as part of their job. If there is a privacy breach, we will tell you (and we are required by law to tell you). 

This applies equally to what we enter into CPIN and other electronic information systems, as well as paper or electronic copies of records, reports, financial records, administrative notes, voice messages, text messages, and emails (including on laptops and cell phones) and any other ways personal information can be recorded.

Access and Correction

With limited exceptions, you have the right to access the personal information we hold about you that relates to a service provided to you.  

If you need a copy of your service records, please contact us in writing at: 

Dufferin Child and Family Services
655 Riddell Road
Orangeville, ON
L9W 4Z5

In rare situations, you may be denied access to some or all of your personal information about service (with any such denial being in accordance with the law).

We try to keep your personal information accurate and up-to-date. Please let us know if you disagree with what is recorded, and we will make the change or otherwise we will ask you to write a statement of disagreement and we will attach that statement to your service record.

For More Information or Compliments

We encourage you to contact your worker with any questions or concerns you might have about our information practices. 

If your privacy questions have not been answered or issues not resolved to your satisfaction, you may wish to make a formal privacy complaint to us. View our Complaints Resolution Process for Service Recipients or ask us for a copy.

If, after contacting us, you feel that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario is responsible for making sure that privacy laws are followed in Ontario. 

The Commissioner can be reached at:

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400

Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8

Phone: 416-326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073

TDD/TTY: 416-325-7539  

Fax: 1-416-325-9195

E-mailinfo@ipc.on.ca

Website: www.ipc.on.ca 

Use of Cookies

The Dufferin Child and Family Services Web site use “cookies” to help you personalize your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a Web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you.

One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. The purpose of a cookie is to tell the Web server that you have returned to a specific page. For example, if you personalize Dufferin Child and Family Services pages, or register with Dufferin Child and Family Services site or services, a cookie helps Dufferin Child and Family Services to recall your specific information on subsequent visits. This simplifies the process of recording your personal information, such as billing addresses, shipping addresses, and so on. When you return to the same Dufferin Child and Family Services Web site, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the Dufferin Child and Family Services features that you customized.

You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most Web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the interactive features of the Dufferin Child and Family Services services or Web sites you visit.

Security of your Personal Information

Dufferin Child and Family Services secures your personal information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. Dufferin Child and Family Services secures the personally identifiable information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. When personal information (such as a credit card number) is transmitted to other Web sites, it is protected through the use of encryption, such as the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol.

Changes to this Statement

Dufferin Child and Family Services will occasionally update this Statement of Privacy to reflect company and customer feedback. Dufferin Child and Family Services encourages you to periodically review this Statement to be informed of how Dufferin Child and Family Services is protecting your information.