Protection of Privacy and Access to Information at the University of Guelph

1. Introduction

This document serves as a guide to individuals or organizations seeking information about protection of privacy relative to personal information held by the University of Guelph or, more generally, about access to information under the custody and control of the University.

The University of Guelph is an autonomous institution incorporated under the University of Guelph Act (1964) and is supported, in part, by public funds. Within this context, the University operates with a high degree of self-regulation and accountability. Effective June 10, 2006, the University’s guidelines on “Protection of Privacy and Access to Information” will be overtaken by the fact that the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act1 has been amended to include Ontario universities.

Consistent with its commitment to accountability, the University actively disseminates information about its operations, activities, policies, practices and procedures regularly making public a wide range of information through, for example, its website2 and its official publications3.

The University also institutes measures to protect the personal privacy of those who work, study and have studied here. The regulation of the collection, storage, utilization, and dissemination of personal information concerning its members is part of the University’s ongoing effort to ensure that decisions concerning individuals are based on accurate information, that information gathered for one purpose is not used inappropriately for another, and that the privacy of individuals is not invaded through disclosure of sensitive information to third parties without the necessary approvals.

All departments of the University are governed by relevant legislated provisions affecting personal privacy and access to information such as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Health Care Consent Act, the Mental Health Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act4.

To the extent that the University has records of a non-personal nature under its custody and control that are not covered by these various pieces of legislation, access will be granted to the extent possible without compromising the integrity of the University or its members, or prejudicing its ability to operate at the optimal level.

2. Requests for Information and Related Questions

Those seeking information from the University of Guelph should direct their inquiry to the academic or administrative unit most likely to be the source of the information. If the requestor is unsure about which academic or administrative unit to approach with their request, they may contact the University Secretariat at or call (519) 824-4120 ext. 56760 for guidance.

Questions concerning the University’s policies and processes that apply to requests for access to information or that pertain to its collection, use or disclosure of personal information may also be directed to the University Secretariat. The University Secretary has been designated by the University as the individual responsible for the administration of the University’s obligations under FIPPA and other relevant privacy and access legislation.

  1. Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) will apply to universities beginning June 10, 2006. It specifies access and privacy obligations for information under the custody and control of the University and, in so doing, specifically excludes certain categories of records from its provisions.
  2. See Appendix A for a listing of commonly referenced websites with information about University policies, programs and services.
  3. See Appendix B for website references for the University’s regular publications.
  4. See Appendix C for web links to these pieces of legislation.


Commonly Referenced Websites with Information about University of Guelph Policies, Programs and Services


Regular Publications of the University of Guelph


Web Links to Privacy and Access Legislation