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Queen's University


Fall 2011 Newsletter

Understanding Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements at Queen's

The Office of the CIO and the Office of the Access & Privacy Coordinator have made Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement (CNDA) templates available on the ITServices website for the Queen's community.


What is a CNDA?

a manilla envelope with Top Secret stamped on it

A Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement is a legally binding contract between two parties who need to share confidential material with each other, but do not want that information shared with anyone outside of the agreement. For most employees, this will mean agreeing not to disclose to a third party, (such as coworkers outside the CNDA, a spouse, friends or another company), any confidential information you have access to through your work at Queen's. In other words, what happens at Queen's, stays at Queen's!


When you hear the word "confidential" you may have visions of a government spy carrying a folder marked "Top Secret." However, you might be surprised to learn what is classified as confidential data. Confidential data includes:

  • names
  • certain management information
  • student and employee numbers
  • drafts of strategic plans, annual reports and financial statements
  • home addresses
  • applications for employment and resumes
  • donor or donor prospect information
  • locations of hazardous material storage and animal care facilities

There are four different CNDAs at Queen's, and each has a distinct use:

  • A CNDA for Staff is used for incoming or current staff who have not yet signed a CNDA and who work with confidential information. For example, if you work with student information (marks, addresses, etc.), you should sign a CNDA.
  • The CNDA for Contractors is similar to the above agreement, but designed for interim and contractor staff working with the University. You might use this contract if you hired an outside individual to work on a custom software application your group owns, and that application contains confidential data.
  • A CNDA for Vendors enables the University to share confidential data with an outside company, which that company requires to perform a service. If the physical layout of your work area is confidential, and you were getting estimates from different companies to renovate that space, they would need to understand the layout of your office before they could commit to that work. (In this case, the successful company's employees would also be asked to sign CNDAs before they arrived onsite.)
  • Unlike the other CNDAs, a Mutual CNDA for Vendors is a two-way CNDA. This means that both the University and the vendor are sharing confidential information. This agreement is common when considering a joint venture with an outside party. One use of such an agreement could be an exchange program for students, where student data needs to flow between Queen's and another school.

Monkeys depicting see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil


See also:



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