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.
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.
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).