The Oshawa Public Libraries (“OPL”) is committed to providing both access to information about OPL to the public, and protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its customers by complying with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O., 1990 c. M.56. (“MFIPPA”), and other legislation as applicable.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure OPL:
- complies with the MFIPPA;
- protects the privacy of individuals is protected with respect to personal; information about themselves held by the Library;
- has a process in place for individuals to access information held by OPL; and
- will not share, use or disclose personal information except with the consent of the individual, through exceptions in this policy or as required by law.
Personal information means identifiable information about an individual such as name, phone, address, email, date of birth, financial transaction, etc. Exceptions such as personal information in context of doing business, or persons deceased for over 30 years, etc. are defined in the MFIPPA.
Record means any record of information however recorded, whether in printed form, on film, by electronic means or otherwise, and includes:
- Correspondence, a memorandum, a book, a plan, a map, a drawing, a diagram, a pictorial or graphic work, a photograph, a film, a microfilm, a sound recording, a videotape, a machine readable record, any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, and any copy thereof, and
- Subject to the regulations, any record that is capable of being produced from a machine readable record under the control of an institution by means of computer hardware and software or any other information storage equipment and technical expertise normally used by the institution.
Questions regarding the collection and use of personal information can be directed to OPL’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Coordinator, Oshawa Public Libraries, 65 Bagot Street, Oshawa, ON, L1H 1N2.
1. Access to Information
- OPL shall allow customers to see personal information about themselves. Parents or legal guardians, who are listed as the responsible person for the child, may obtain information about that account if they show their own personal ID to verify their identity. This applies to children under 16 years of age in accordance with the MFIPPA.
- OPL Board agendas and minutes, annual reports, policies and a variety of other information will routinely be made a matter of public record through OPL’s website and through OPL publications.
- Access to general records about OPL operations will be provided to the public, subject to the provisions of MFIPPA.
- Payment of a fee may be required and will be assessed and collected in accordance with MFIPPA regulations.
2. Collection and Use of Information
Individuals will be informed of the reasons for collecting personal information at, or before the time of collection. Examples may include:
- Access to library materials and services
- Room rentals
- Library fund development
- Electronic communications including, but not limited to, hold alerts and overdue notices
- Non-identifying data for statistical purposes
- Protection of OPL property and the safety of the public
- Personal information may only be obtained from the individual to whom the record relates, as required in MFIPPA, unless the individual authorizes another name of collection.
- OPL will not share, distribute or disclose any personal information, for any non-library purposes to outside parties, except with the consent of the individual, through exceptions in this policy, or as required by law.
- OPL will strive to maintain updated and current personal information, collect only what is necessary, and establish safeguards to protect unauthorized access.
- It is the responsibility of the customer to notify the library of any name change, change of address, phone number, or other contact information. Personal information shall be protected from unauthorized access by safeguards that are appropriate for the sensitivity of the information collected.
OPL’s database shall provide access to customer’s library records with the customer’s library card number and PIN number. In order to allow a customer to review their library activity, the information will be stored in their personal library account, which includes such information as name, email address, phone number, date of birth, fees owing, current checkouts, and requests/holds information.
A customer’s borrowing history is stored for the convenience of the customer to provide a list of items previously checked out. Customers may request in writing that the borrowing history list be deleted.
3. Disclosure of Information
Notwithstanding the specific applications of MFIPPA cited in this policy, OPL is subject to all requirements of disclosure in the MFIPPA.
OPL will not disclose personal information, under its custody or control, related to an individual to any third party without obtaining consent to do so, subject to certain exemptions as provided in MFIPPA.
All information related to a customer’s registration, including their birth date and the materials borrowed, are for internal library purposes only. Personal information is confidential except in the following situations:
- Overdue and holds notifications from OPL by telephone, email, text message, or mail to the customer’s preferred contact information listed on the account (title information may be included in the mail and email).
- Fees payment: A receipt including title information is provided to the person paying.
- Agencies acting on behalf of OPL for the collection of OPL property or unpaid fines or fees.
- OPL will disclose personal information to a parent or legal guardian of a child, under 16 years of age, whose names are recorded on the child’s library record, if they show their own personal ID to verify their identity.
- OPL will disclose relevant personal information about the individual enrolled in the Visiting Library Services, to an authorized support person/family member, or staff of long-term care facilities, for the purposes of service delivery, as authorized by the individual.
- OPL will disclose personal information concerning an individual to a third party who has been assigned supplementary card privileges (such as picking up material on hold) provided that the individual and the third party have indicated their agreement and the agreement has been recorded in the patron’s record. Use of the card does not allow access to other services and programs or access to information in the individual’s record.
- OPL will release information to the Family and Children’s Services, under the authority of the Child, Youth & Family Services Act 2017, which states that a person who believes, on reasonable grounds, that a child under 16 is at risk of harm, must report this suspicion to the Family and Children’s Services immediately, directly and on an ongoing basis.
- Official police investigations where authorized by a subpoena.
4. Retention of Records
OPL will only retain personal information as required.
Personal records of all customers who have not used their library card in the previous five (5) years and who do not have outstanding fines are purged on an annual basis.
5. Privacy at the Library
Visiting the Library
All OPL branches have security cameras inside and/or outside the buildings. The images may be kept up to 30 calendar days. In order to ensure the safety and security of visitors and staff, these images may be monitored or reviewed by OPL staff, City staff, security staff, or for official police investigations.
Using Workstations at the Library
OPL cannot guarantee a customer’s privacy when using library workstations, as all workstations are located in public areas, and any files that are displayed on monitors are subject to viewing by members of the public and OPL staff. It is recommended that OPL customers be cautious about displaying personal information.
It is also recommended that before leaving a workstation, all personal information be deleted from the workstation by closing all open screens. OPL has software on all public computers that resets the workstation once a customer closes out all open screens.
When a customer uses an OPL workstation to access resources, including but not limited to, online magazines, eMusic, eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMovies, OPL tracks the use of these products for statistical purposes only. The use is anonymous and not associated with a library client account in any manner.
6. Lost or Stolen Library Cards
Customers should report immediately any lost or stolen library cards to reduce the potential of unauthorized access to their records and protect their information.
All OPL staff will be made aware of their obligations under MFIPPA and this policy. Training will be provided to the appropriate staff responsible for the administration and application of this policy.
Last Reviewed: April 2023