Statement of Confidentiality
Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) collects and stores personal and health information as is reasonably required to provide disability-related services and is allowed under the authority of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
Information pertaining to a student’s disability, and/or functional limitations arising from a disability, specifically as it relates to accommodations in the academic context is collected. Information pertaining a student’s participation in academic studies at Queen’s including name, birth particulars, contact information, emergency contacts and academic status is also collected.
QSAS collects this information for the following purposes:
- Determine a student's eligibility for accessibility services
- Design and approve appropriate individualized accommodation plans
- Determine eligibility for funding supports (e.g., Bursary for Students with Disabilities, Ontario Student Assistance Program – Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP))
- Facilitate referrals to on or off-campus supports
- Support informal and/or formal academic appeals, upon request from the student
The University is committed to maintaining confidentiality to the greatest extent possible when providing academic accommodation and related support services to students with disabilities. All information provided by students including written documentation related to their disability and information disclosed by students to QSAS staff personal in appointments, emails or phone calls is held in strictest confidence.
Student paper records are maintained in locked file cabinets in the QSAS office and are accessed only by QSAS employees. QSAS also stores student electronic records on an encrypted, secured server that is maintained by the University Information Technology Services. Only QSAS staff is authorized access to these student electronic records.
QSAS maintains records for 10 years after the last contact with the service before being destroyed. This enables students to access their file with QSAS for various purposes for a period after leaving Queen’s University, such as applying for admission to other academic institutions or accommodation on professional qualifying exams.
Students often see more than one SWS professional staff member and consultation among those directly involved in service provision may be necessary to ensure effective, integrated service. Students will be asked to consent to this exchange of information within SWS at the time of initial registration with QSAS and annually during each subsequent re-registration.
No information about a student’s disability and/or their registration with QSAS is shared with others at Queen’s University, without the student’s explicit consent, including with instructors, teaching assistants, staff in academic departments, Student Awards, Registrar’s Office, Residences or other units.
Students are not required and are advised not to share any information about their disability or health condition with anyone outside of QSAS for the purposes of obtaining academic accommodations.
Information about a student’s disability/health condition, their registration with QSAS and/or their receipt of academic accommodations does not appear on any official file with the University, including transcripts, SOLUS accounts or degree documents.
There are some exceptions where QSAS may be required by law or statue to share information about students registered with its services. These exceptions include:
- If there is a known risk of serious harm to the student or another person
- In the case of apparent, reported, suspected or potential child abuse or neglect
- In response to a court order or summons for records or testimony
- If a student reports sexual abuse by a Regulated Health Care Professional
- For the purpose of contacting a relative, friend or potential substitute decision-maker if the student is injured, incapacitated, or ill and unable to give consent personally
- If the student is known to be involved in a fraud investigation
- For the purpose of a proceeding or a contemplated proceeding in which QSAS is expected to be a party or a witness if the information relates to or is a matter at issue in the proceeding
Consent forms to grant any sharing of their personal, health or disability-related information are available from QSAS staff as needed.
Students are required to submit documentation containing information about the nature of their disability or health condition and associated functional impairments as they relate to the academic context. This information is to be provided before or at the time of registration with QSAS.
Documentation may be submitted in hard copy or electronically. Email is not a secure way to submit confidential information. Students are encouraged to choose one of two safer methods instead:
- Upload the confidential file(s) to the secure server through the link on the QSAS website
- Fax the information to the confidential fax machine in the QSAS office (613) 533-6284
Once an accommodation plan is finalized, QSAS advisors provide registered students with a Letter of Accommodation (LoA). The LoA serves a written agreement between the university and the students concerning the academic accommodations for which they have been approved. No information pertaining to a student’s disability and/or health condition is reproduced on the LoA. Students and their QSAS advisor are expected to work together to inform instructors, teaching assistants and other identified individuals as necessary about a student's accommodations as they apply in specific courses (e.g., extra time on mid-term exams, extra time on assignments, etc.). Students may negotiate with their QSAS Advisors various methods for sharing their accommodation information with instructors, teaching assistants or others who have a role to play in implementing a student’s academic accommodation.
QSAS has the capacity to share students’ accommodation information directly with relevant groups responsible for implementing accommodations outside the classroom (e.g. Queen’s Exams Office, Continuing and Distance Studies). With their consent, QSAS will share a student’s accommodation plan with the relevant departments for the sole purpose of implementing exam accommodations. No information pertaining to a student’s disability and/or health condition is shared with units external to QSAS for the purpose of implementing exam and other academic accommodations.
Occasionally QSAS staff are contacted by Queen’s staff and faculty members who have questions about the accommodations or eligibility for bursaries or other services. With a student's consent, QSAS staff will respond to these inquiries by explaining the nature and purpose of the accommodations or providing an opinion on eligibility.
QSAS Advisors have limited access to students’ SOLUS accounts, specifically course and grade history. With student consent, QSAS staff may review this information for the purpose of accommodation planning or assisting with other student requests (e.g. informal or formal academic appeals).
At the time of initial registration and annually during each subsequent re-registration with QSAS, students will be asked for their consent to permit QSAS staff to share and access information as described above.
Students who have questions about how their personal and/or health information is used, stored or shared within SWS or QSAS or any other aspect of this confidentiality statement may speak directly with any of the QSAS advising staff, the Senior Disability Services Advisor or the Executive Director of SWS. Students have the right to refuse consent or withdraw it at any time.