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1st Session, 41st Legislature

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Bill 8

THE PROTECTING CHILDREN (INFORMATION SHARING) ACT


Table of Contents Bilingual version (PDF) Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

WHEREAS the well-being, safety, security, education and health of children are priorities for Manitobans;

AND WHEREAS programs and services for children are most effective when they are provided through a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach;

AND WHEREAS appropriate sharing of information between individuals and organizations planning or providing programs and services for children is critical to ensuring successful outcomes for children and families;

THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

DEFINITIONS

Definitions

1           The following definitions apply in this Act.

"child and family services agency" means an agency as defined in The Child and Family Services Act. (« office de services à l'enfant et à la famille »)

"department" and "government agency" have the same meaning as in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (« ministère » et « organisme gouvernemental »)

"guardian" means a guardian as defined in The Child and Family Services Act and includes any other person of a class defined by regulation. (« tuteur »)

"personal health information" has the same meaning as in The Personal Health Information Act. (« renseignements médicaux personnels »)

"personal information" has the same meaning as in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (« renseignements personnels »)

"service provider" means

(a) a department;

(b) a child and family services agency;

(c) an authority under The Child and Family Services Authorities Act;

(d) a school division or school district established under The Public Schools Act or a private school as defined in The Education Administration Act;

(e) a police service as defined in The Police Services Act or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; or

(f) any other person or organization that receives funding from the government or a government agency to provide services or benefits for supported children, except as provided in the regulations. (« fournisseur de services »)

"supported child" means a child

(a) who is in the care of a child and family services agency;

(b) who is receiving or whose family is receiving programs or services from a child and family services agency;

(c) who has or is eligible to have an individual education plan under The Public Schools Act;

(d) who is receiving or is entitled to receive mental health services or addiction services provided by or on behalf of a public body as defined in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or a health care facility as defined in The Personal Health Information Act;

(e) who is receiving or is entitled to receive disability services provided by or on behalf of the government;

(f) who is receiving or whose family is receiving victim support services provided by or on behalf of the government;

(g) who is receiving services under The Correctional Services Act for children in custody or under supervision; or

(h) who is provided for in the regulations. (« enfant bénéficiaire »)

"trustee" means a trustee as defined in The Personal Health Information Act. (« dépositaire »)

COLLECTION AND USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

Collection and use of information to deliver services

2           For the purpose of providing or planning for the provision of services or benefits to a supported child, a service provider may

(a) collect personal information or personal health information about the supported child or the child's parent or guardian from another service provider; and

(b) collect personal health information about the supported child from a trustee;

and may use the information for the purpose of providing or planning for the provision of services or benefits to the child.

DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

Disclosure of information to deliver services

3(1)        For the purpose of providing or planning for the provision of services or benefits to a supported child, information may be disclosed as follows:

1.  A service provider may disclose personal information or personal health information about a supported child to another service provider.

2.  A service provider may disclose personal information or personal health information about a parent or guardian of a supported child to another service provider.

3.  A trustee may disclose personal health information about a supported child to another trustee or to a service provider.

Best interests of child

3(2)        A service provider or trustee may make a disclosure under subsection (1) only if they reasonably believe that the disclosure is in the child's best interests.

Engaging families in planning

3(3)        To engage the family of a supported child in planning services or benefits for the child, the parent or guardian and the child are entitled to receive information about disclosures that are made under subsection (1), to the extent required by the regulations.

Limits on disclosing information

4           A service provider or trustee making a disclosure under section 3 must ensure that the disclosure of personal information or personal health information

(a) is necessary to accomplish the purpose of providing or planning for the provision of services or benefits to the supported child;

(b) is limited to the minimum amount of information necessary to accomplish that purpose; and

(c) is not explicitly prohibited by another law, including the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada).

Further disclosure limited

5           When information is disclosed under section 3 to a service provider who is neither a public body under The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act nor a trustee under The Personal Health Information Act, that service provider must not further disclose the information unless the disclosure is authorized under section 3.

If disclosure permitted under other privacy laws

6            If another enactment, including The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and The Personal Health Information Act, permits the disclosure of personal information or personal health information, nothing in this Act is to be interpreted as limiting the ability to make that disclosure.

REGULATIONS

Regulations

7           The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) for the purpose of clause (f) of the definition "service provider" in section 1, excluding any person or organization from the definition;

(b) for the purpose of the definition "supported child" in section 1, providing for additional categories of supported children;

(c) respecting the provision of information to parents, guardians and supported children for the purpose of subsection 3(3);

(d) respecting retention periods, destruction policies and security safeguards for personal information and personal health information maintained by service providers referred to in clause (f) of the definition "service provider";

(e) requiring service providers to keep records of disclosures made under section 3 and respecting related matters;

(f) defining "guardian" and any other term used but not defined in this Act;

(g) respecting any other matter that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the intent of this Act.

PROTECTION FROM LIABILITY

Protection from liability

8           No action or proceeding may be brought against the government, a service provider or trustee, or any person acting for or under their direction for damages resulting from the use or disclosure of personal information or personal health information in circumstances where the government, the service provider or trustee, or other person reasonably believed that the use or disclosure was authorized under this Act.

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS

C.C.S.M. c. A60 amended

9            The Addictions Foundation Act is amended in clause 14(1)(a) by adding "or authorized" after "required".

C.C.S.M. c. A2 amended

10          The Adoption Act is amended by replacing section 99 with the following:

Conflict with other Acts

99          In the case of a conflict between any provision of this Part and a provision of either The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act, the provision of this Part prevails.

C.C.S.M. c. C80 amended

11          The Child and Family Services Act is amended in subsection 76(3) by adding the following after clause (g):

(g.1) where a disclosure is authorized under The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act, as long as the disclosure is not explicitly prohibited by another section of this Act;

C.C.S.M. c. C230 amended

12           The Correctional Services Act is amended in subsection 56(1) by adding "or The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act" at the end.

C.C.S.M. c. M110 amended

13(1)       The Mental Health Act is amended by this section.

13(2)       Clause 36(2)(e) is replaced with the following:

(e) to any person, if the medical director reasonably believes that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen

(i) a risk of harm to the health or safety of a minor, or

(ii) a serious and immediate threat to the mental or physical health or the safety of the patient or another person;

13(3)       The centred heading before section 39 is replaced with "ACTS THAT DO NOT APPLY".

13(4)       Section 39 is replaced with the following:

Acts that do not apply

39          The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act do not apply to a clinical record to which this Act applies.

C.C.S.M. c. M199 amended

14           The Missing Persons Act is amended in the part before clause 8(2)(a) by striking out "and section 22 of The Personal Health Information Act," and substituting ", section 22 of The Personal Health Information Act and section 3 of The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act,".

C.C.S.M. c. P33.5 amended

15           The Personal Health Information Act is amended by replacing clause 22(2)(b) with the following:

(b) to any person, if the trustee reasonably believes that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen

(i) a risk of harm to the health or safety of a minor, or

(ii) a serious and immediate threat to the health or safety of the individual the information is about or another individual, or to public health or public safety;

C.C.S.M. c. V55 amended

16          The Victims' Bill of Rights is amended in section 6 by striking out everything after "by the agency," and substituting "except to the extent

(a) required by law, or for the purpose of law enforcement or prosecution or other legal proceedings;

(b) required to ensure the safety and security of any person; or

(c) authorized under The Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act.".

C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE

C.C.S.M. reference

17          This Act may be referred to as chapter P143.5 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.

Coming into force

18           This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Explanatory Note

This Bill authorizes organizations and others who provide services to at-risk and vulnerable children to collect, use and disclose personal information or personal health information about them. This authority is in addition to that already found in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and The Personal Health Information Act.

Children whose information can be disclosed

The Bill allows information to be shared about "supported children" who are:

  • children in care or who are receiving voluntary child and family services;
  • school children who need an individual education plan;
  • children who need disability services, mental health services, addiction services or victim support services;
  • children in the youth criminal justice system.

Information may also be disclosed about their parents or guardians.

Who can disclose information about children

The Bill uses the term "service provider" to describe those organizations and others who are authorized to share information. Government departments are included, as are child and family services agencies and authorities, schools, police, and others who receive government funding to provide services to supported children.

Limits on disclosure

Information may be disclosed only if disclosure is in the child's best interests and only for the purpose of providing the child with services or benefits. A service provider may disclose no more information than is strictly necessary.

Amendments to other Acts

To permit disclosures to be made under the new Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act, this Bill amends The Addictions Foundation Act, The Child and Family Services Act, The Correctional Services Act and The Victims' Bill of Rights Act.

The Personal Health Information Act is amended to allow personal health information to be disclosed when necessary to prevent or lessen a risk of harm to a child's health or safety. The Mental Health Act is similarly amended with respect to clinical records maintained by a psychiatric facility.

To ensure that disclosures remain restricted even under the new Protecting Children (Information Sharing) Act, amendments are made to The Adoption Act and The Missing Persons Act.