GNWT HSS

Client Confidentiality

Our Dedication to Client Confidentiality

It is against the law for GNWT employees to discuss or disclose personal information about a client with the public, including the media, without written consent from the client.

For more information, read the Northwest Territories Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.


Child and Family Services Act

The paramount objective of the Child and Family Services Act is to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children. The Child and Family Services Division balances protecting the privacy of children and their families with being open and accountable with the work that they do. To help ensure that the privacy of children and their families are protected, the Child and Family Services Act includes sections on confidentiality, as well as a publication ban.


What does the publication ban cover?

Section 87 of the Child and Family Services Act says:

No person shall publish or make public any information that has the effect of identifying:

  1. A child who is:
    • The subject of the proceedings of a plan of care committee or hearing under the Child and Family Services Act; or

    • A witness at a hearing.
  2. A parent or foster parent of a child referred to in paragraph (a) or a member of that child's family or extended family.

Writers and journalists can still write compelling stories about the services a child received without identifying the child, the child’s family and extended family. For instance, a story could be written about the services a child has received without including the child’s name, the names of their parents or guardians or other identifying information. If you are unclear about whether a story breaches the publication ban, you are encouraged to seek legal advice.


What is the penalty for breaching the publication ban?

Anyone who is found guilty of breaching the publication ban can be fined up to $10,000, or can face imprisonment up to one year or both.