Professional Advice, Personal Service
104 Doncaster Avenue, Thornhill Ontario, Canada, L3T 1L3
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Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
This type of information is protected under the "Personal information Protection and Electronic Documents Act". The following ACT will review personal data information and your responsibility to safeguard it.
What is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act?
Part 1 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act sets down the ground rules for how organizations may collect, use or disclose information about you in the course of commercial activities. The law gives you the right to see and ask for corrections to information an organization may have collected about you. If you think an organization covered by the Act is not living up to its responsibilities under the law, you have the right to lodge an official complaint.
What is personal information?
"Personal information" under the Act means information about an "identifiable individual".
For example, "personal information" includes your
* Name, age, weight, height
* Medical records
* Income, purchases and spending habits
* Race, ethnic origin and color
* Blood type, DNA code, fingerprints
* Marital status and religion
* Home address and phone number
"Personal information" does not include the name, job title, business address or office telephone number of an employee of an organization that is covered by the new law.
How does the Act protect my personal information?
· Your ability to control your personal information is key to your right to privacy.
· The Act gives you control over your personal information by requiring organizations to obtain your consent to collect, use or disclose information about you. The Act confers certain rights on individuals, and imposes specific obligations on organizations.
The law gives you the right to:
* Know why an organization collects, uses or discloses your personal information;*
* Expect an organization to collect, use or disclose your personal information reasonably and appropriately, and not use the information for any purpose other than that to which you have consented;*
* Know who in the organization is responsible for protecting your personal information;
* Expect an organization to protect your personal information by taking appropriate security measures;
* Expect the personal information an organization holds about you to be accurate, complete and up-to-date;
* Obtain access to your personal information and ask for corrections;*
* Complain about how an organization handles your personal information.
The law requires organizations to:
* Obtain your consent when they collect, use or disclose your personal information;*
* Supply you with a product or a service even if you refuse consent for the collection, use or disclosure of your personal information unless the information is essential to the transaction;*
* Collect information by fair and lawful means;
* Have personal information policies that are clear, understandable and readily available.
An organization should destroy, erase or make anonymous personal information about you that it no longer needs in order to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected.
*There are exceptions to these principles. For example: an organization may not need to obtain your consent if collecting the information clearly benefits you and your consent cannot be obtained in a timely way; or if the information is needed by a law enforcement agency for an investigation, and getting consent might compromise the information's accuracy.
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How can I see the personal information an organization has about me?
* Send a written request to the organization holding your personal information. You must provide enough detail to allow the organization to identify the information you want; for example, include dates, account numbers, and the names or positions of people you may have dealt with at the organization.
* Organizations must provide the information requested within a reasonable time and at minimal or no cost.
How can I correct errors or omissions in my personal information?
* Write to the organization that has personal information about you and explain the correction you are requesting and why. Supply copies of any documents that support your request, if you have them.
* If the organization refuses to correct your personal information, you may require it to attach a statement of your disagreement to the file. This statement must be passed on to any other organization that may have access to the information.
What if I believe my privacy rights are being abused?
The Act gives you the right to make a complaint if:
* You run into any difficulties obtaining your personal information, if an organization refuses to correct information you consider inaccurate or incomplete, or if you suspect your personal information has been improperly collected, used or disclosed;
* You believe an organization is not following any provision of the law.
Where do I complain?
* Contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada during business hours by calling 1 800 282-1376 if you need more information and advice on how you should proceed.
* We encourage you to try to settle the matter directly with the organization about which you are complaining by contacting the person responsible for handling privacy issues
* Within the organization.
* If you are not satisfied with the organization's response, you may contact the organization's industry association, ombudsman or complaint office, if there is one. For example, the Canadian Marketing Association and the Canadian Banking Ombudsman handle customers' complaints about their member companies.
* If you are not satisfied with the way the organization or industry association handles the matter, contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. There is no fee for making a complaint to Privacy Commissioner.
What is the role of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada?
* The Privacy Commissioner is an ombudsman who attempts to resolve disputes through negotiation.
* The Commissioner has the power to investigate your complaint.
* The Commissioner may also initiate his own investigation or review how an organization handles personal information.
* The Commissioner can recommend that the organization release your personal information to you or correct inaccuracies.
* The Commissioner can recommend that organizations change their personal information practices.
* The Commissioner will report the findings of the investigation to you and the organization.
What if the organization ignores the recommendations of the Privacy Commissioner?
* The Privacy Commissioner has the power to make public any information about the personal information practices of an organization. Few businesses would like to be publicly identified as violating the privacy rights of individuals.
* The Privacy Commissioner may also take the complaint to the Federal Court of Canada on your behalf if he supports you but has been unable to resolve the dispute.
* Once you have received the Privacy Commissioner's report, you may, under certain circumstances, take your complaint to the Federal Court of Canada yourself.
* The Court can order an organization to correct any practices that do not comply with the law, and to publish notices of how it has or will correct its practices.
* The Court can also award damages to the complainant including damages for humiliation suffered.
What do the Personal Information Protection and