The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of British Columbia (Crisis Centre) is committed to safeguarding the personal information entrusted to us by our volunteers, donors, and clients. We manage your personal information in accordance with British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act and other applicable laws. This policy outlines the principles and practices we follow in protecting your personal information.
This policy applies to the Crisis Centre and to any person providing services on our behalf. A copy of this policy is provided to any client, donor, or volunteer upon request.
What is personal information?
Personal information refers to any information about an identifiable individual. This includes an individual’s name, home address, phone number, age, gender, employment information, financial information, etc.
What personal information do we collect?
We collect only the personal information that we need for the purposes of providing services to our donors, clients and the public, including personal information needed to:
- Provide emergency resources to clients
- Assist in the correct identification of individuals such as staff, volunteers & board members
- Issue charitable tax receipts for all eligible donations
- Send organizational updates to our supporters and volunteers
- Organize workshops and training sessions
- Facilitate contact and manage client access to services
- Provide referrals for clients
Where and when possible, we inform our clients, volunteers and donors, before or at the time of collecting personal information, of the purposes for which we are collecting the information. The only times we don’t provide this notification is when an individual volunteers information for an obvious purpose (for example, producing a credit card to make a donation when the information will be used only to process the payment) or when an individual accesses our distress services.
If a supporter wishes to maintain anonymity when supporting the Crisis Centre, such requests shall be made in writing to the Privacy Officer to ensure full compliance.
We ask for consent to collect, use or disclose client personal information, except in specific circumstances where collection, use or disclosure without consent is authorized or required by law. We may assume your consent in cases where you volunteer information for an obvious purpose. We track and record IP addresses for online crisis chats and telephone numbers for distress phone services to render emergency services if required and manage access to distress services. Summaries of calls and chats are kept on record for volunteer training purposes, ensuring quality compliance, and to provide a better service to our clients.
We assume your consent to continue to use and, where applicable, disclose personal information that we have already collected, for the purpose for which the information was collected.
We ask for your express consent for some purposes and may not be able to provide certain services if you are unwilling to provide consent to the collection, use or disclosure of specific personal information. Where express consent is needed, we will normally ask clients and donors to provide their consent orally (in person, by telephone), or in writing (by signing a consent form).
A client may withdraw consent to the use and disclosure of personal information at any time, unless the personal information is necessary for us to fulfil our legal obligations. We will respect your decision, but we may not be able to provide you with certain products and services if we do not have the necessary personal information.
We may collect, use or disclose an individual’s personal information without consent only as authorized by law. For example, we may not request consent when the collection, use and/or disclosure is to determine suitability for an honour or award, or in an emergency that threatens life, health or safety.
How do we use and disclose personal information?
We use and disclose client personal information only for the purpose for which the information was collected, except as authorized by law. The Crisis Centre does not rent, sell or trade any personal information with third parties.
From time to time, the Crisis Centre participates in research programs to help ensure the service we provide to our clients remains relevant. All data provided for research is edited to ensure complete anonymity of our clients.
What information do we provide for volunteer references?
In some cases, after your volunteer relationship with us ends, we will be contacted by other organizations and asked to provide a reference for you. It is our policy to only disclose personal information about our volunteers to other organizations who request references when we have that volunteer’s consent. The personal information we normally provide in a reference includes:
- Confirmation that an individual was a volunteer, including the position, and date range to which they volunteered
- General information about an individual’s volunteer duties, information about the volunteer’s ability to perform these duties and success in the volunteer relationship
How do we safeguard personal information?
We make every reasonable effort to ensure that personal information is accurate and complete. We rely on individuals to notify us if there is a change to their personal information that may affect their relationship with our organization. If you are aware of an error in our information about you, please let us know and we will correct it on request wherever possible. In some cases we may ask for a written request for correction. Telephone and online chat records can only have factual information changed (names, telephone numbers, etc.), we cannot correct worker documentation of the contact. The client can provide documentation of their view/description of the contact, to be added to the file.
We may contact individuals who have provided their information specifically in order to conduct surveys seeking feedback. These surveys are used to improve our level of service to our stakeholders and to understand how our stakeholders view and value our strategic mission. While aggregate information about survey results may be publicized, individual data from these surveys will not be shared with other organizations.
We protect personal information in a manner appropriate for the sensitivity of the information. We make every reasonable effort to prevent any loss, misuse, disclosure or modification of personal information, as well as any unauthorized access to personal information.
We use appropriate security measures when destroying personal information, including shredding paper records and permanently deleting electronic records. We retain personal information only as long as is reasonable to fulfil the purposes for which the information was collected or for legal purposes.
Please be aware that Crisis Centre is not responsible for the privacy practices of other websites that we link to. We encourage you to read the privacy statements of each and every website that requests personal information from you.
Access to records containing personal information
Individuals have a right to access their own personal information in a record that is in the custody or under the control of the Crisis Centre, subject to some exceptions. For example, organizations are required under the Personal Information Protection Act to refuse to provide access to information that would reveal personal information about another individual.
If we refuse a request in whole or in part, we will provide the reasons for the refusal. In some cases where exceptions to access apply, we may withhold that information and provide you with the remainder of the record.
You may make a request for access to your personal information by writing to the Executive Director. You must provide sufficient information in your request to allow us to identify the information you are seeking.
You may also request information about our use of your personal information and any disclosure of that information to persons outside our organization. In addition, you may request a correction of an error or omission in your personal information. We will respond to your request within 30 calendar days, unless an extension is granted.
Questions and complaints
If you have a question or concern about any collection, use or disclosure of personal information by the Crisis Centre, or about a request for access to your own personal information, please contact:
Executive Director and Privacy Officer
763 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1X8
(604) 872-1811 sashton [at] crisiscentre [dot] bc [dot] ca
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you should contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia:
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia
4th Floor, 947 Fort Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8V 3K3
Phone: 250-387-1969 Toll Free: 1-800-663-7867
Email: info [at] oipc [dot] bc [dot] ca Website:www.oipc.bc.ca
Approved by Board of Directors: September 18, 2014