Privacy Policy

CONFIDENTIALITY / PRIVACY

Any information, written, verbal or electronic, received by the agency is considered private and confidential, and the agency will take all reasonable precautions/safeguards to protect personal information entrusted to it.

PROCEDURE:

1.1 General

  1. All service providers, support workers, management and clerical staff of the agency have an ethical responsibility to protect the confidential nature of information imparted to them.
  2. The agency, its employees and foster parents will make every reasonable effort to ensure that personal information that is to be used to make a decision that directly affects the child, is both complete and accurate.
  3. Any information received, from child intervention services, any regional authority, Pathways Family Services, or foster parents delivering foster care services, is considered confidential, and file access is restricted. Supervisor permission is required to copy and distribute any confidential document (i.e. information consolidation, assessment reports, etc.).
  4. Any information identifying a child in care can only be released by the agency to appropriate team members, and other persons on a 'need to know' basis only, and only with the consent of the child or child's guardian. 

1.2 Newsletter

  1. After approval to become a foster parent with Pathways Family Services, you are mailed our monthly newsletter, or other information of concern to our foster parents.  Information stored in this newsletter database is not shared or sold to any third party whatsoever.  Newsletters are mailed along with payment statements and any important information disclosed by the agency.
  2. Any photo of a foster parent or staff placed in the newsletter will not be identified with full names.
  3. No client picture will be displayed in our newsletter or on our WEB site.

1.3 Electronic Medium

  1. Any confidential information stored electronically, must be protected from unauthorized access (e.g. security codes, firewall).
  2. Confidential information sent via e‑mail should not be sent in the e-mail body.  Attach confidential information to the e-mail in a document format which is password protected.

1.4 File Audits

  1. As a contracted agency to local child and family service authorities, local government agents will audit Pathways Family Services from time to time.  This is to assure Pathways compliance to contractual obligations.
  2. As members of the Canadian Accreditation Council, Pathways seeks to renew Accreditation every four (4) years. The accreditation process requires a file audit by the peer review team.
    By signing the foster parent contract, foster parents agree to their files being made available during these audits.

1.5 F.O.I.P. – Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act

  1. The purposes of F.O.I.P. are:
    1. To allow any person a right of access to the records in the custody or under the control of a public body subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this act;
    2. To control the manner in which a public body may collect personal information from individuals, to control the use that a public body may make of that information and to control the disclosure by a public body of that information;
    3. To allow individuals, subject to limited and specific exceptions as set out in this act, a right of access to personal information about themselves that is held by a public body.
  2. All documents submitted by the agency to the Minister, become the property of the Province of Alberta and become subject to the provisions of the F.O.I.P. act.
  3. No personal information is to be collected by the agency or its employees for the purpose of the contract agreement unless it is related to the agreement or is authorized to be collected by the Minister.
  4. The agency must provide to the Minister any records that are requested under the access provisions of the act within seven (7) days of receiving notification by the Minister.
  5. At the Minister's request, the agency must correct any errors (within five (5) working days of the request), any personal information that the agency, its employees and foster parents may have received from the Minister, or otherwise collected or compiled about a foster child.
  6. The agency will provide to the regional authority child specific reports on a monthly basis and upon receipt, these become records of the regional authority for all purposes.
  7. All records created, obtained and maintained under the contract agreement are to be retained by the agency for a period of six (6) years following the closure of the record or completion of the contract agreement, whichever comes first.  Records are then given to the Regional Child and Family Services Authority to be disposed of in accordance with the Government of Alberta standards of security.
    The agency must obtain written approval for records disposition.

1.6 P.I.P.A. – Protection of Information and Privacy Act

  1. As an independent private agency contracted to local government authorities, Pathways is bound by both the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the Alberta's Protection of Information and Privacy Act. We take reasonable steps to use personal information only in ways that are compatible with this privacy policy.
  2. Pathways collects personal information for the purposes of recruiting, training, and monitoring and supporting foster parents who provide services to children under the protection of the local Child and Family Services Authority. The Protection of Information and Privacy Act protects this information, and any other information not protected by FOIPP.  The purposes of this act are:
    1. The act governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by  organizations in a manner that recognizes both:
      1. The right of an individual to have his or her personal information protected; and
      2. The need for organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information for purposes that are reasonable.
    2. The act provides a right of access to one's own personal information
      Pathways will make reasonable efforts to ensure all information collected is accurate, complete, and up‑to‑date.  We collect only the information required to fulfill our contract obligations and mission statements.
  3. Pathways will protect personal information in our custody or under our control by making reasonable security arrangements against such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification, disposal or destruction.
  4. From time to time Pathways may disclose mailing information to the local foster parent associations when Pathways feels that our foster parents may benefit from the services the foster parent association is offering.  Any foster parent not wanting mailing information distributed to local foster parent association must notify Pathways of their wishes.
  5. Personal information collected by us may be accessed by contacting the ‘privacy officer’ at Pathways Family Services.

1.7 WEB Site – www.pathwaysfamilyservices.com

  1. This privacy policy defines how personal information is processed and used at Pathways Family Services, as well as information collected through our web page - www.pathwaysfamilyservices.com. 
  2. Pathways Family Services is the sole owner of the information collected from our website at www.pathwaysfamilyservices.com.  We do not, or will not in the future, sell, share, or rent this information to others without your express consent.
  3. All information collected through our web site for the application and foster home approval process is considered confidential and is only used by agency staff to evaluate appropriateness of your home to place foster children.
  4. Cookies - Web Site
    A cookie is a piece of data stored on the visitor's hard drive containing information about the visitor.  Pathways may use cookies for login purposes only, and at no time are these linked to any personal information.
  5. Log Files - Web Site
    1. Pathways Family Services thru www.pathwaysfamilyservices.com may keep log files on broad fields to analyze trends, track user movements, and gather data for demographic locations.  This is not attached in any way to visitor's personal identification.
  6. Web Links
    1. Links to other sites outside of www.pathwaysfamilyservices.com do not apply to this privacy statement.  We are not responsible for privacy policies of other web sites linked to Pathways Family Services.  Please read the privacy statement of each website linked to www.pathwaysfamilyservices.com for information and data use for visitor's personal identification.  Our privacy statement applies solely to www.pathwaysfamilyservices.com. 

1.8 Exceptions to PIPA/FOIP

  1. According to privacy regulations, an organization may, without the knowledge or consent of the individual, use personal information only if:

    1. In the course of its activities, the organization becomes aware of information that it has reasonable grounds to believe could be useful in the investigation of a contravention of the laws of Canada, a province or a foreign jurisdiction that has been, is being, or is about to be committed, and the information is used for the purpose of investigating that contravention;
    2. It is used for the purpose of acting in respect of an emergency that threatens the life, health or security of an individual;
    3. It is used for statistical or scholarly study or research, providing that the research purposes cannot be achieved without using the information.  The information is used in a manner that will ensure its confidentiality, it is impracticable to obtain consent and the organization informs the Commissioner of the use before the information is used.

1.9 Third Party Disclosure Notice

  1. If and when applicants become approved to become a licensed foster home in Region 6, they may receive a variety of updates and informative information from our office, linked agencies and/or referred service groups.  Foster parents may receive e‑mails through the web site or agency staff.  However, personal information is never given nor sold to these third party companies. Agency staff will never reveal applicants private information outside the agency.
  2. Applicants/ foster parents receiving solicitations from anyone other than Pathways, via e‑mail or private messages, should forward a copy of the e-mail to management staff at , or contact the agency directly at (780) 488‑2444.

1.10 Grand-fathering

  1. Personal information collected before January 1, 2004, is deemed to have been collected with consent.
  2. This information may be used and disclosed by Pathways for the purpose for which it was collected.

1.11 Definitions/Information

  1. "PERSONAL INFORMATION" means information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization.
  2. "RECORD" includes any correspondence, memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microform, sound recording, videotape, machine‑readable record and any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, and any copy of any of those things.
  3. When "reasonable" is used in the act it means what a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.
  4. PIPA contact information:
    1. Web site: www.oipc.ab.ca/pipa/
    2. Phone: (780) 422‑6860;   (toll free:  dial 310‑0000 first and then enter the number)
    3. E‑mail:   generalinfo@oipc.ab.ca
  5. "Personal employee information" means, in respect of an individual who is an employee or a potential employee, personal information reasonably required by an organization that is collected, used or disclosed solely for the purposes of establishing, managing or terminating:
    1. An employment relationship; or
    2. A volunteer work relationship between the organization and the individual but does not include personal information about the individual that is unrelated to that relationship.
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