Provision of personal information regarding persons with a history of violent behaviour
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The OHSA requires school boards and supervisors to provide workers with information, including personal information, related to a risk of workplace violence from a person with a history of violent behaviour, if the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of their work and the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury.
School boards and supervisors must not disclose more personal information about a person with a history of violent behaviour than is reasonably necessary to protect workers from physical injury. For instance, workers may not need to know specific student information depending on the circumstance, but must understand the measures and procedures, (e.g., in a Student Safety Plan) to be followed as part of the workplace violence program in order to protect themselves.
School boards may wish to review A Guide to Ontario Legislation Covering the Release of Students’ Personal Information. This guide, developed by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, provides students, parents and school board workers with a basic understanding of how the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act interacts with the Education Act and other legislation, including the OHSA, to protect privacy and provide access to the personal information of students.
Additionally, there are other laws that govern the use and disclosure of personal information. These other laws must be considered as a school board takes into account a person’s right to privacy under those laws in addition to a worker’s right to be informed of workplace violence risks under the OHSA. In such cases, school boards may wish to seek legal advice. For example, school boards may wish to seek legal advice on the use of a truncated safety plan template for occasional or itinerant workers to facilitate notification of risk of the potential of workplace violence. For more information, refer to Appendix F – Notification of Potential Risk of Physical Injury form (Truncated Student Safety Plan).
School boards may also wish to use the general safety plan template to facilitate notification of risk of the potential of workplace violence from other persons who are not students. For more information, refer to Appendix G – Notification of Potential Risk of Physical Injury (General Safety Plan).
If a board chooses to use a form similar to the sample template provided in Appendices F and G, the board should ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are developed and in place to protect personal information from inappropriate use or disclosure. As a starting point, it is recommended that:
- forms be kept in a central location and in a secure container
- workers who are considered at risk of workplace violence be granted access to the forms by school administration
- forms be retained for the school year to which they apply and for one additional school year
- forms be securely destroyed upon the expiration of the second school year.
For more information about the OHSA provision of information, read OHSA s. 32.0.5.