Western Libraries

Online Privacy

Legal Protections

Online privacy is regulated at both the federal and provincial levels. Laws dictate how personal information can be collected and used by the government as well as private sector organizations. However, with reports of data breaches on the rise and concerns surrounding the sharing of personal information for surveillance purposes, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has identified a need to modernize existing privacy legislation.

This video from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada explains how and why government institutions use personal information.

Federal Legislation

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act regulates the collection, retention, and disposal of personal information by government institutions. It also grants Canadian citizens and permanent residents the right to access their personal information upon request. 

Personal Information Protection and Documents Act (PIPEDA)

PIPEDA governs the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information by private sector organizations engaged in commercial activity. The Act typically does not apply to non-profit organizations, charities, or political parties.

Note: PIPEDA does not apply to organizations that operate exclusively within provinces where substantially similar legislation exists (e.g., Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec).

More Government Information

The Government of Canada's Get Cyber Safe campaign provides tips for Using Passwords

You can make an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request online.

Public Opinions about Privacy

2016 Survey of Canadians on Privacy
92% are concerned about privacy protection
81% are concerned with government monitoring their personal activities
76% adjust information sharing settings on their mobiles
78% think government should
Only 5% feel they know a great deal about information collected for intelligence

Office of the Privacy Commissioner News

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