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Federal Legislation

Canadian privacy legislation comprises two federal laws:
  • The Privacy Act
  • The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
 The Privacy Act limits the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by government and sets out roles and obligations for departments and agencies. The Act also gives individuals the right to access personal information about themselves held by federal government.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) protects personal information held by the private sector.  Canadian businesses are required to comply with the Act. PIPEDA governs organizations, including corporations, individuals, associations, partnerships, and trade unions.  The Act provides guidelines regarding the collection, use and disclosure of information involved in commercial activity. Originally, the Act applied to those private sector organizations regulated by federal laws such as banks, airlines, telecommunications companies, while conducting commercial activities. Now the Act applies also to the retail sector, the publishing industry, the service industry, manufacturers, provincially regulated organizations.

The responsibility of business is, to limit the use and disclosure and retention of collected information.  Business must also obtain consent to collect the information, and be responsible for the accuracy of the information.

Privacy Training for the Small Businessperson

Federal Government Oversight:

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Privacy Commissioner of Canada 112 Kent Street
Provides control of these Acts and regulations.  Complaints should be addressed to this office.
Reference tools assisting the public to access information:
Info Source (a series of publications)
Privacy in the Digital Economy
Information on Canada
Anti-Spam Law
Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) is in place to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.
If you use electric channels to promote or market your organization, product or services, Canada's new Anti-Spam Law may affect you.

Provincial Legislation

The Ontario Government protects personal information by the following Acts:

  • The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
  • The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)
  • The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)
The Acts establish the rules whereby the Ontario Government may collect, use, retain, disclose and dispose of personal information. The FIPPA deals with ministries and agencies of Ontario Government, while the MFIPPA govern municipalities and local boards throughout the province.

Provincial Government Oversight:

Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario

Government Responsibility: 
Ministry of Government Services, Access & Privacy Office
Directory of Records
This publication details the type of records maintained by Ontario Government ministries and agencies, as well as the contact information.
Directory of Institutions
The Directory lists all institutions covered by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), including contact information for ministries, provincial agencies, municipalities and local boards and is comprised of two parts:  Part I covers Provincial ministries and agencies, while Part II covers municipalities and local boards.

Guide for Businesses and Organizations on the Personal Information Protection Act
International ATIP
Department of Justice Canada: International Access to Information and Privacy Office
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