Confidentiality Policy and Privacy
Confidentiality and Informed Consent Policy
Counselling Services recognizes that the information you provide is private and we are committed to keeping that information confidential. However, there are a few facts about how your information will be collected, used, and retained that you should understand prior to entering our service.
Record of Your Use of Counselling
As a Counselling Service, we are required to keep a record of each of your interactions with anyone in our service. That record will be retained for 10 years after your last contact with us. All members of Algonquin’s Counselling Services will have access to your counselling record. This includes all counsellors at the Woodroffe, Perth, and Pembroke Campuses. It also includes the Manager of Counselling Services, Counselling Services’ intake staff, Aboriginal Counsellors in the Mamidosewin Centre, and the Mental Health Nurse in Algonquin’s Health Services. Members of the Welcome Centre will also have access to the section of your counselling record that contains your contact information in order to book appointments at your request. Please note that your counselling record will only be accessed by those listed above for the purpose of providing you with mental health support services.
Your counselling record will be stored in a secure manner and its contents cannot be directly accessed by anyone not listed in this document. No information will be released from your counselling record without your consent; except in the circumstances described in the Coordination of Student Support Services and Limits of Confidentiality sections below.
Counsellor Supervision and Professional Consultation
When appropriate, your counsellor will consult with other mental health professionals and engage in clinical supervision in order to provide you with the best possible service. When discussing aspects of your case with a member of Counselling Services or a qualified expert, every effort will be made to exclude information that could identify you in order to protect your privacy.
Coordination of Student Support Services
The Managers of Algonquin College’s Counselling Services, the Centre for Accessible Learning (formerly Centre for Students with Disabilities), and Health Services, along with the Director of Student Support Services, may share information about your needs in order to best coordinate the services to be delivered to you.
Limits of Confidentiality
Counselling Services is legally obligated to disclose information about you to the appropriate authorities, with or without your consent, in the following circumstances:
- There are reasonable grounds to believe that you are likely to harm yourself or another person.
- There are reasonable grounds to believe that a child under the age of 17 years is at risk of being abused or neglected.
- Your counselling record has been subpoenaed by a court of law.
- You disclose that you have been sexually abused by a regulated health professional.
Release of Personal Information
In most cases, we may believe that it would be helpful to share information about you with someone outside of Counselling Services, such as a member of another Algonquin department, your parents, or your family doctor. In these situations, we will discuss the benefits and risks of releasing this information and ask you to decide which information should and shouldn’t be released.
In those rare situations where we believe that it is necessary to disclose confidential information about you without your consent, we will a) only release information that we believe is relevant to the situation and b) only release information to those whom we believe need to receive it. When it is appropriate and safe to do so, we will notify you if we have released information without your explicit consent.
When you meet with a counsellor for your initial appointment, your counsellor will provide you with a copy of our Confidentiality and Informed Consent Form to review and sign. We may decline your request for “counselling” services should you choose to withhold your consent to receiving counselling services under these policies. In such a case, we will provide you with a listing of available services not affiliated with Algonquin College to help you find a suitable service provider.
If you have any questions or concerns about these policies, please feel free to discuss them with a member of the Counselling Services team.