Data protection and privacy—Canada—Q&A guide

The following Information Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Data protection and privacy—Canada—Q&A guide
  • 1. Summarise the legislative framework for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Does your jurisdiction have a dedicated data protection law? Is the data protection law in your jurisdiction based on any international instruments on privacy or data protection?
  • 2. Which authority is responsible for overseeing the data protection law? Describe the investigative powers of the authority.
  • 3. Are there legal obligations on the data protection authority to cooperate with other data protection authorities, or is there a mechanism to resolve different approaches?
  • 4. Can breaches of data protection law lead to administrative sanctions or orders, or criminal penalties? How would such breaches be handled?
  • 5. Does the data protection law cover all sectors and types of organisation or are some areas of activity outside its scope?
  • 6. Does the data protection law cover interception of communications, electronic marketing or monitoring and surveillance of individuals? If not, list other relevant laws in this regard.
  • 7. Identify any further laws or regulations that provide specific data protection rules for related areas.
  • 8. What forms of PII are covered by the law?
  • 9. Is the reach of the law limited to PII owners and processors of PII established or operating in the jurisdiction?
  • More...

Data protection and privacy—Canada—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to data protection and privacy in Canada published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: June 2020).

Authors: Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP—Doug Tait; Catherine Hamilton

1. Summarise the legislative framework for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Does your jurisdiction have a dedicated data protection law? Is the data protection law in your jurisdiction based on any international instruments on privacy or data protection?

In Canada, four private sector privacy enactments provide the framework for the protection of PII. These are:

  1. Canada’s federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA);

  2. the province of Québec’s An Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector (Private Sector Act (QC));

  3. the province of Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA (AB)); and

  4. the province of British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA (BC)).

PIPEDA governs the interprovincial and international collection, use or disclosure of PII by private sector organisations in the course of carrying out commercial activities for profit. It also has application to employee PII in federally regulated organisations (such as banks, airlines, railways, and telecommunication companies).

PIPEDA also applies within all provinces and territories in Canada, except Québec, Alberta and British Columbia. The Private Sector Act (QC), PIPA (AB) and PIPA (BC) have been deemed substantially

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