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0204 - Release of Information

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Contents

Introduction

  1. Personnel records are maintained for all government employees. This information is held in the form of personnel files and on the Human Resource Information System (PeopleSoft). Any personal employee information retained by the government is held in confidence.

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Application

  1. These guidelines apply to all employees.

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Definitions

  1. Personnel File is the official record containing personal information, on each employee, held by the Department of Human Resources.
  2. Client Services is the Client Services Division of the Department of Human Resources.
  3. Labour Relations is the Labour Relations Unit of the Department of Human Resources.

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Guidelines

  1. All third party requests for employee information should be forwarded to Client Services. Client Services will check the identity of the third party and require them to produce evidence of the employee's consent to release of the information.
  2. The employee's consent is not needed if law requires disclosure of information. (e.g. a search warrant).
  3. Most requests for employee information come from banks and credit bureaus. The requests may be by phone, facsimile or mail. When receiving a request of this nature, Client Services' staff may:
    • State an employee's position title, date of hire and date of termination (if applicable);
    • Confirm whether the employee resides in government staff housing; and
    • Confirm whether or not the salary estimate provided by the bank or credit bureau is close to the real salary.
    Client Services does not give out any exact salary information without the employee's written authorization and does not disclose the amount of rent deductions or the employee's address without the employee's written authorization.
  4. If an inquiry is received requesting the address of a terminated employee, the individual should be referred to the post office. The government does not give out forwarding addresses.
  5. The RCMP may request information regarding an employee. When the request is supported by a search warrant or subpoena, Client Servicces has a legal requirement to release the information to the RCMP. Without this supporting documentation, information is not to be released without the employee's authorization.
  6. When inquiries are received pursuant to court proceedings, Client Services will:
    • Provide information if the GNWT is compelled to do so by court order;
    • Provide salary information to the Legal Services Board with respect to the employee, upon the production of a release executed by the employee for that purpose; and
    • Release salary information to a lawyer representing this employee but only if the request is in writing and contains the written authorization of the employee to do so.

    If a former employee is involved in legal action against the government, the request for information should come through the employee's legal counsel and be forwarded to the government's legal counsel for response. The government does not release information to any other lawyer or investigator.

  7. Inquiries made by Revenue Canada and Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) must be in the form of a written request (facsimiles are acceptable). Requests are not handled over the phone. In reply to a written request, Client Services may:
    • Release salary information to Revenue Canada and HRDC; and
    • Release information about performance or attendance when requested on the standard employment insurance form.
  8. Inquiries for the release of information may also originate from within the GNWT. When such an inquiry is received, Client Services may:
    • Allow the employee, the supervisor, those the supervisor reports to and the Deputy Head to look at the employee's personnel file. The file must be signed out and in. A Client Services staff member must be present during the examination;
    • Allow an employee's union representative to view the file only if the employee is present or has provided written authorization;
    • Allow the employee or the Deputy Head to have copies of any documents or correspondence on the file. Client Services must make the copies;
    • Allow the employee's supervisor and Deputy Head to have copies of an employee's last performance appraisal. A Department of Human Resources representative must make the copies;
    • Allow Labour Relations staff to have copies of any documents pertaining to matters relevant to grievance or arbitration proceedings;
    • With the consent of the employee, allow Management and Recruitment staff to review the file of an employee being considered for a new position. This review is limited to information pertaining to employment matters only (i.e., no personal information that would not be available from an applicant from outside of the government);
    • Allow an employee, supervisor, or Deputy Head to put on the file material relevant to his/her employment. All such documents should show evidence that the supervisor and employee have seen them; and
    • Both active and terminated employees may view their files and put material on their file.
    Client Services staff do not:
  1. allow any other employees, except those specified, to view or remove files;
  2. allow any document/correspondence to be removed from a personnel file without the Director of Corporate Human Resource Services’ approval of an employee's written request; and
  3. allow employees to open the envelopes containing reference forms.

When uncertain as to whether information should be released, advice should be sought from the Labour Relations unit within the Department of Human Resources.

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Authorities and References

Main Collective Agreement with the UNW
Article 35, Employee Performance Reviews and Employee Files

Collective Agreement with the NWTTA
Article 21, Employee Performance Review and Employee Files

Excluded Employees' Handbook
Performance Evaluation

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