Data Provision Agreement
Developed by Employment Social Development Canada (“ESDC”), and in collaboration with communities, the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (“HIFIS”) is a comprehensive data collection and case management system that supports the day-to-day operations of Canadian homeless service providers (“Service Providers”).
HIFIS is an important component of Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy (“Reaching Home”), and is designed to support the implementation of Coordinated Access within communities by allowing participating Service Providers from the same community to access real-time homelessness data, while referring individuals and families using homeless services (“Clients”) to appropriate services at the correct time.
Organizations responsible for the installation, configuration, and maintenance of HIFIS (“HIFIS Lead Organizations”) will be granted a license upon signing the Data Provision Agreement (“Agreement”), and this license will be made available to participating Service Providers in return for the quarterly export of the non-directly identifiable personal information (Annex A) collected from Clients, and if applicable, the anonymized fields from the Point-in-Time Counts (Annex B).
Service Providers may delegate the delivery of services of Clients to contractors (“Third-Party Organizations”) to use HIFIS.
HIFIS Lead Organizations, Service Providers, and Third-Party Organizations (“Parties”) will be required to ensure they have the authority to collect, use, and disclose information from Clients in accordance to municipal, provincial, and territorial legislation.
ESDC is governed under the Department of Employment and Social Development Act (“DESDA”) and the Privacy Act.
DESDA governs how ESDC administers acts and regulations when implementing government-wide regulatory initiatives. Pursuant to DESDA, ESDC has the authority to collect personal information when administrating programs or services. The information exported from HIFIS can be used for policy, analysis, research, and evaluation purposes, and such information can be disclosed to other federal departments in accordance to the DESDA and the Privacy Act.
The Privacy Act applies to the federal government’s collection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of personal information, and defines personal information as information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form. Pursuant to the Privacy Act, federal government institutions can only collect an individual’s personal information if it relates directly to the operation of one of its programs or activities.
The Parties therefore agree as follows:
1. Entire Agreement
This Agreement, its annexes, and the End-User Licence Agreement that the Parties enter into when using HIFIS, is the entire agreement concerning the use of HIFIS and supersedes any prior communication or representation concerning HIFIS.
The Parties agree that should there be ambiguity or inconsistencies between the terms and conditions of this Agreement and those in any subsequent agreements, the provisions of this Agreement prevail.
2. Purpose of this Agreement
The purpose of this Agreement is to outline the terms and conditions related to:
- the licence that ESDC will grant to the HIFIS Lead Organization, which will extend to Service Providers and their Third-Party Organizations, in return for the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), and if applicable, the anonymized fields from the Point-in-Time Counts (Annex B)
- the collection and disclosure of information by the HIFIS Lead Organization in a manner that protects the privacy and dignity of the Client, and
- the collection, use, and disclosure of information by ESDC
The Parties’ employees, their representatives, consultants, and any individual authorized by the HIFIS Lead Organization to use HIFIS shall be “Authorized Users”.
ESDC grants the Parties a non-exclusive, non-transferable, and non-assignable right to use a registered copy of HIFIS in return for the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), and if applicable, the anonymized fields from the Point-in-Time Counts (Annex B). To obtain access to HIFIS, the HIFIS Lead Organization must register the licence with ESDC.
HIFIS is protected by intellectual property laws and treaties. No right, title, or interest in or to any intellectual property rights in relation to the HIFIS is granted under this Agreement.
ESDC maintains ownership rights, title, and interest in HIFIS, including related documentation, intellectual property associated with the system, trade secrets, and copyright.
4. What the HIFIS lead organization may do
The HIFIS Lead Organization, excluding Service Providers and their Third-Party Organizations may:
- create a copy of HIFIS data for back-up, archival, or business continuity purposes, provided that the original HIFIS data is kept in the HIFIS Lead Organization’s possession, and that the installation, and use of HIFIS does not exceed the scope of the licence and this Agreement
- install third-party components and plug-ins within HIFIS that may be used at the HIFIS Lead Organization’s discretion. If the HIFIS Lead Organization decides to use such third-party software, then such use shall be governed by the third-party licence agreement. ESDC is not responsible for any third-party software, and will not be liable for the HIFIS Lead Organization’s use of third-party software
5. What the HIFIS lead organization may not do
The HIFIS Lead Organization, including the Service Providers and their Third-Party Organizations may not:
- copy HIFIS data, except for backup, archival purposes and business continuity
- modify or adapt HIFIS, except where system design allows for customization
- reverse engineer, disassemble, or make any attempt to discover the source code of HIFIS
- sub-licence, rent, lease, or lend any portion of HIFIS or HIFIS-related documentation
6. Roles and responsibilities
The HIFIS Lead Organization, either directly or through Service Providers and/or their Third-Party Organizations shall:
- collect Client information using HIFIS in accordance with municipal, provincial, and territorial legislation
- ensure Clients are notified and properly informed that the collected HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), will be provided to ESDC and may be shared with other federal departments for policy, analysis, research, and evaluation purposes
- develop and enter into a Community Data Sharing Agreement, an agreement between the HIFIS Lead Organization and their respective Service Providers that outlines the partnership and expectations of both organizations in accordance with municipal, provincial, and territorial legislation
- provide to ESDC a list of Service Providers or Third-Party Organizations’ agreements, and a list of Authorized Users upon request
- export the HIFIS export fields (Annex A) to ESDC on a quarterly-basis, and if applicable, the Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B)
- ensure adequate custodianship of the data and database by designating a representative to review, verify, and clean the collected data (for example, proper field entries, naming consistencies, data accuracy), and
- develop and maintain policy and procedures in respect to privacy and data security (for example, guidance related to the collection, use, disclosure, and/or disposal of personal information)
- share aggregated HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including the Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), from the HIFIS Lead Organization with other federal departments for policy, analysis, research, and evaluation purposes
- share HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), exported from the HIFIS Lead Organization with Statistics Canada for policy, analysis, research, and evaluation purposes. Section 3 of the Statistics Act grants Statistics Canada the authority to collect, compile, analyze, abstract, and publish information on the economic, social, and overall conditions of Canada and its citizens
- inform the HIFIS Lead Organization of data quality issues (for example, improper field entries, naming inconsistencies) with respect to the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including the Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B)
- implement and maintain a secure storage system for the information exported to ESDC
- facilitate the sharing of technical information regarding the system, functionality, and security requirements
- inform the HIFIS Lead Organization of any changes related to the collection, use, disclosure, and/or retention of the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including the Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B)
- consult with the HIFIS Lead Organization prior to any amendments to the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B). Consultations will occur within a stipulated time period and shall not be interpreted as an approval process. ESDC reserves the right to exercise the final decision, and
- exercise due diligence when considering amending the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), ensuring amendments retain the scope of the program, and are in accordance to the DESDA and the Privacy Act
The Parties agree that the HIFIS Lead Organization that uses HIFIS to collect, use, and store personal information on their servers has custody and control over the records.
7. ESDC obligations relating to the use and disclosure of the HIFIS export fields
- ESDC will maintain and protect the information exported from the HIFIS Lead Organization, pursuant to DESDA and the Privacy Act
- ESDC will not use or disclose the information exported from the HIFIS Lead Organization for a purpose other than that for which it was provided as outlined in s.6 of this Agreement unless required by law. Section 6(i) of the Statistics Act grants Statistics Canada the authority to collect, compile, analyze, abstract, and publish information on the economic, social, and overall conditions of Canada and its citizens
- ESDC will make no attempt to re-identify Clients with data from the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B)
- In the event of a request under Canada’s Access to Information Act, ESDC may consult with the HIFIS Lead Organization
8. Information management and security
- ESDC will make reasonable arrangements to maintain the security of the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), by protecting data against risks such as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, and disposal
- ESDC will ensure that only those persons it deems necessary will have access to and use of the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), as required for the performance of their duties
- ESDC will advise the HIFIS Lead Organization of any circumstances or incidents which to its knowledge have jeopardized or may in the future jeopardize the privacy of any individual or the security of the system in its custody that is used to access the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B). ESDC will investigate these circumstances, incidents, or events
- ESDC will report the results of any such investigation, along with the measures taken to address the issues and/or concerns regarding the security of the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), computer systems, and the privacy of individuals to whom the information pertains to
9. Warranty and disclaimer
The Parties accept HIFIS “as is”. By using HIFIS, the Parties agree to accept all potential risks.
ESDC disclaims any and all implied or express warranties or conditions, including any implied warranty of title, non-infringement, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose, regardless of whether ESDC knows or had reason to know of particular needs.
10. Liability and indemnification
ESDC, its employees, and agents, shall not be liable for any claims, damages, injuries, and loss of any kind, whether direct or indirect, consequential or incidental, arising from the use or the inability to use HIFIS, or the failure to safeguard the data contained in HIFIS. This includes, without limitation, loss of revenue, profit or savings, lost, damaged or stolen data, or other commercial or economic loss.
The Parties agree to indemnify and hold ESDC, its employees, and agents, harmless from and against any claims, damages, complaints, costs, or expenses, loss, actions or causes of action the Parties incurred or suffered, as a result of the use or inability to use HIFIS or the failure to safeguard the data contained in HIFIS.
HIFIS contains trade secrets and proprietary know-hows that belong to ESDC that are being made available to the HIFIS Lead Organization, and their Third-Party Organizations in strict confidence. Any use or disclosure of HIFIS, or of its algorithms, protocols, or interfaces, other than in strict accordance with this Agreement, may be actionable as a violation of trade secret rights.
Either Parties may terminate this Agreement for any reason, including failure to comply with any term or conditions of this Agreement upon 60-days of written notice.
In the event this Agreement is terminated:
- ESDC shall retain the data collected from the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), in accordance with DESDA and the Privacy Act
- the Parties shall be provided with an opportunity to create a copy of existing HIFIS data before destroying all copies of HIFIS and related documentation in their possession, and
- all data collected and stored upon termination must be securely stored and protected indefinitely
13. Designated officials
ESDC and the HIFIS Lead Organization agree to designate an official to act as their contact person for any issues related to the installation, implementation, and administration of this Agreement.
Ian Cooper, Director
Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting Division (DCAR)
Homelessness Policy Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage
Place du Portage Phase IV
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9
For the HIFIS Lead Organization:
14. General provisions
- This Agreement becomes effective when signed by both parties. It will remain in effect until terminated
- ESDC may amend the terms of this Agreement at any time. Amendments to this Agreement, excluding amendments to HIFIS export fields (Annex A) and Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B), will only be valid if agreed upon and signed by both parties
- ESDC reserves the right to exercise the final decision regarding any amendments that occur to the HIFIS export fields (Annex A), including the Point-in-Time Count fields (Annex B). Pursuant to s.6(m)(n)(o) of this Agreement, ESDC will exercise due diligence, consult, and inform the HIFIS Lead Organization prior to making any amendments
- This Agreement is a licence agreement only, not a contract for services, or a contract of service or employment. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as creating a partnership, employment, and/or agency relationship between ESDC and yourself
- This Agreement is governed by the laws of Canada
- The signatory to this Agreement represent and warrant that the individual has the capacity and the authority to sign this Agreement on behalf of the HIFIS Lead Organization
In witness whereof this Agreement has been signed on behalf of the Parties by their authorized representatives.
Annex A: HIFIS export fields
The following is a list of the information exported through HIFIS by the HIFIS Lead Organization to ESDC on a quarterly basis. The export fields provide the Government of Canada with the data to inform policy, analysis, research, and evaluation purposes.
Pursuant to s.6(m)(n)(o) and s.14(c) of this Agreement, ESDC will exercise due diligence, consult, and inform the HIFIS Lead Organization prior to making any amendments.
Shelter provider ID*
Shelter provider name*
Service provider type*
Unique client identifier*
Year and month of birth*
Family head ID*
Contributing factor start date
Contributing factor end date
Country of origin
Sources of income
Income start date
Income end date
Housing start date
Housing end date
Reason for service*
Reason for discharge*
Reason for turnaway*
Date of turnaway*
Anonymous age category*
Anonymous Indigenous indicator (assumed)
Anonymous disability indicator (observed)
(*) Mandatory field
Annex B: Point-in-Time count export fields
The following is a list of the information included in the Point-in-Time Count exported through HIFIS to ESDC. Fields where information is not supplied will remain blank.
Service provider information
Shelter provider information
Shelter provider ID
Service provider name
Service provider type
Survey date and time
Family status and role
Age of first homelessness experience
Homelessness duration over the past year
Shelter use in the past year
Newcomer status on arrival to Canada and time since arrival
Duration in community
Experience in child welfare
Identified health challenges
Reasons for recent housing loss and time since housing loss
Housing loss related to COVID-19
Sources of income
Times experienced homelessness over the past year
Reasons for not accessing shelter
Reasons for migration
Indigenous community of origin
Duration between child welfare exit and homelessness
Child protection service support
History of brain injury
Level of education
Desire for permanent housing
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