Understanding the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

1. How does PIPEDA affect you as a StFX employee or student?

This federal legislation was fully implemented on 1 January 2004. It provides the rules by which organizations, and in this case, StFX, may collect, use or disclose personal information about a person. PIPEDA is concerned mainly with commercial activities and at the same time it protects the privacy rights of customers, or obtainers of services and/or products. This legislation also provides the guidance and rules by which the banking, transportation, telecommunications, and broadcasting industries use personal information. It also regulates how the federal government uses personal information regarding its employees. It is similar to provincial freedom of information legislation yet it deals primarily with issues dealing with the selling and obtainment of a product or a service. PIPEDA will not affect all StFX employees or students.

2. What are the 10 principles of fair information practices which must be kept in mind when considering PIPEDA?

  1. Accountability
  2. Identifying purposes
  3. Consent
  4. Limiting collection
  5. Limiting use, disclosure, and retention
  6. Accuracy
  7. Safeguards
  8. Openness
  9. Individual access
  10. Provide recourse

3. How do you know if you are complying with PIPEDA in the performance of your duties?

PIPEDA basically deals with personal information. If, as a StFX University employee, you are dealing with a commercial venture you should be aware of the implications of obtaining personal information from people. It is advised that each StFX unit which deals in any type of commercial enterprise should ask every person purchasing a product/service to sign a form outlining the measures that the University takes to protect personal information.

4. If the requester of the StFX product/service refuses to sign the agreement do I still have to provide the product/service?

Yes. The legislation makes accommodations for this.

5. What recourse is there if a requester of the StFX product/service feels that his/her personal information has not been properly handled?

Ideally, it is recommended that the dispute try to be resolved first at the University level. If that is not successful he/she can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

If you have would like to review the legislation or learn more regarding the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada visit www.priv.gc.ca.