Commissioner Comments on Adoption Profile Website

February 12, 2003

Frank Work, Information and Privacy Commissioner, issued comments today respecting the Alberta Children’s Services’ “Adoption Profile” website.

“We have not sanctioned the website,” says Work. “The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office referenced on the website and in Children’s Services’ February 10 news release is a department within the Ministry and is not the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner,” he adds.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) has examined the website and has a number of recommendations to which the Department has been responsive. Some of the concerns are the amount of personal history the children’s profiles contain and the amount of health information. The Department has agreed not to add any further children to the site for three months, at which time they will evaluate the site’s effectiveness.

“I am pleased with the response of the Department. There are some 4,700 children who need homes. If the technology can help them, good. However, we have to make sure it doesn’t harm them,” adds Work. The OIPC will continue to monitor the website, and provide additional recommendations when required.

Children’s Services is citing section 40(1)(f) (disclosing personal information for any purpose with an enactment of Alberta) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as the authority to disclose information.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner is an independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly. The Commissioner’s mandate includes overseeing the access and privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Health Information Act, and to inform and educate the public about access and privacy issues.