ACCOUNTABILITY, PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Wilson Wong
Regional Service Coordinator
Family Services

Founded in 1928, Family Services of Greater Vancouver is committed to delivering the highest quality, accredited social services to British Columbians. We are committed to protecting the rights, privacy and confidentiality of all our clients.

Privacy and Confidentiality


Family Services of Greater Vancouver handles information in accordance with the Personal Information Protection Act (British Columbia) and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Canada).

Agency staff will advise clients of their rights with regard to privacy and confidentiality. Questions and/or complaints regarding privacy and confidentiality as they directly pertain to the programs and services delivered by Family Services may be directed to the agency’s Privacy Officer.

This policy is varied with respect to programs operated under contracts where services to clients are mandated under the provisions of the Child, Family, and Community Service Act of British Columbia.

In these situations, agency staff will strive to adhere to this Privacy Policy; when information is to be shared with personnel of the mandating agency, Family Services staff will strive to engage the client(s) involved in a co-operative manner to obtain their consent prior to any use and disclosure of their personal information.

PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY


Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) collects, uses and discloses personal information in accordance with the British Columbia Personal Information Protect Act, or, where applicable, the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Information about the substance of these acts is made available at FSGV branch offices. Questions and/or complaints regarding privacy and confidentiality as they directly pertain to the programs and services delivered by FSGV may be directed to the agency’s Privacy Officer; in addition, agency staff will advise clients of their rights with regard to privacy and confidentiality.

All participants in programs operated by FSGV and all recipients of agency services (hereafter referred to as clients) can expect that all personal information provided to the agency will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. FSGV will release personal information concerning a client only with the written permission of that client (unless ordered by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction).

This policy is varied with respect to programs operated under contracts where services to clients are mandated under the provisions of the Child, Family, and Community Service Act of British Columbia. In these situations, agency staff will strive to adhere to this Privacy Policy; when information is to be shared with personnel of the mandating agency, FSGV staff will strive to engage the client(s) involved in a co-operative manner.

On occasion, mandated clients may request that agency staff share information with other persons or organizations. Because of the mandate of these programs related to the Child, Family, and Community Service Act of British Columbia, such requests should be referred to the supervising social worker in order to make an appropriate decision. In all such cases, written consent of the client is required.

Information about clients will be shared between programs in the Agency in situations where there may be a duty to warn, a safety concern, or a child protection concern. In cases where there is an intra-agency referral, only necessary and relevant information will be shared between programs of the Agency in order to facilitate the most effective referral and to support the best interests of the client.

FSGV regularly reviews its privacy practices, and updates this policy as needed.

Limits to Confidentiality
  1. Children in need of protection: FSGV is required under the Child, Family, and Community Service Act of British Columbia to report instances where it has reasonable cause to believe a child is in need of protection to the appropriate authorities. Whenever possible, parents are to be advised of the substance of the complaint, unless doing so would clearly create danger to a child or children.
  2. Duty to warn—potentially suicidal/homicidal/dangerous clients: FSGV has a duty to protect the client from him/herself or to protect others if the client is perceived as a threat. In the case of a suicide threat, a medical referral or hospitalization may be instituted. If the client is considered to be dangerous to others, the police and/or a threatened person(s) may be informed. The Executive Director or designate must be informed of such an incidence by way of unusual occurrence reporting.
  3. Legal proceedings: Staff members shall give evidence in court on a client-related matter only in response to a duly served subpoena, and upon express order of a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction.
Information for volunteers, donors, and supporters

PERSONAL INFORMATION

This is any information that can be used to distinguish, identify or contact a specific individual. This information can include an individual’s opinions or beliefs, as well as facts about, or related to, the individual. We collect, use and disclose personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in light of the circumstances. We routinely offer individuals we deal with the opportunity to opt not to have their information shared for purposes beyond those for which it was explicitly collected.

EXCEPTIONS

Business contact information and certain publicly available information, such as names, addresses and telephone numbers as published in telephone directories, are not considered personal information. Where an individual uses his or her home contact information as business contact information as well, we consider that the contact information provided is business contact information, and is not therefore subject to protection as personal information.

USE OF INFORMATION

We do not rent, sell or trade our mailing lists. The information you provide will be used to keep you informed and up to date on FSGV’s activities, including programs, services, special events, funding needs, opportunities to volunteer or to give, open houses, and other events. If at any time you wish to be removed from any of these lists, contact our Director of Development by phone at 604-731-4951 or contact us by email, and we will gladly accommodate your request.

WEBSITE AND E-COMMERCE

We use password protocols and encryption software to protect personal and other information we receive when a product or service is requested and/or paid for online. Our software is routinely updated to maximize protection of such information.

In the case of a complaint regarding privacy of information, volunteers, donors, and supporters are invited to discuss their concerns with the agency’s Privacy Officer. Information on how to contact the agency’s Privacy Officer is available at the top of this page and is also available at all FSGV’s branch offices.

Code of Ethics


We shall ensure that our professional, personal, and occupational interests do not affect our relationships with clients, our judgement, or our competence.

We shall not exploit our relationships with clients for personal benefit, gain or gratification.

We shall protect the confidentiality of all professionally acquired information. We shall disclose such information only when required or allowed by law to do so, or when clients have consented disclosure.

This code is adapted from the Code of Ethics for British Columbia Association of Social Workers, and has been revised.

Grievance Process


Family Services of Greater Vancouver respects the right of all children, youth and families to be heard, informed and involved in decision making in matters affecting them. In keeping with this, all participants in agency programs, and in the case of children, their parents/guardians, have the right to grieve or complain about any program decisions or actions impacting on their lives or the lives of their children. Family Services implements a step grievance procedure which is described in detail in our policy.

The filing of a grievance will not result in retaliation or barriers to service.

Contact

For questions, concerns, or complaints relating to FSGV’s privacy policy on the treatment of personal information, please contact:

Privacy Officer
Family Services of Greater Vancouver
201 – 1638 East Broadway
Vancouver BC, V5N 1W1
T: 604 731 4951

Further information on privacy and individual rights in regard to personal information may be found on the website of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada or the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia

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