Some of our FOPL members are asking about Contact Tracing.  An App has not been launched in Ontario yet (although Alberta has).  This can be a complicated research and library policy question which likely requires a professional legal opinion.

We, here at FOPL, are not lawyers so can’t provide legal advice.

That said, Public Libraries are not formally required to collect user information in Stage 3 for contact tracing.  However, it can’t hurt to be aware of (and prepared) for what may happen.  As always, libraries should work with their lawyers, municipal legal team, and public health. If you start down this path – or if the Ontario or Federal government introduces policies or an App in the future as part of the COVID-19 re-opening – you might want to give consideration to the following questions.

  1. What are privacy implications for library users?
  2. What are the privacy implications for employees and volunteers?
  3. Are there liability issues for the library, management, etc.?
  4. How do we craft a response to requests for user/cardholder information from government departments, law enforcement, public health, etc.?  Our normal policy is generally to request to see a court order.
  5. What laws and regulations might apply here? (e.g. Canadian Charter of Rights, MFIPPA, privacy laws, employment laws, labour laws, OHS laws, Accessibility laws, etc.)
  6. What protocols, procedures and policies should be put in place and when?

This document from a Canadian law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, was released July 6, 2020.

Contact tracing apps in Canada
A new world for data privacy

Norton Rose Fulbright

canada-contact-tracing PDF