It has been five years since the Privacy Act was passed, and Canadians are still talking about it.
The government has not been shy about the data-collection and surveillance issues that remain in place.
For instance, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has said the government is still investigating whether or not the data collection practices were justified.
But as the Privacy Bill continues to move forward, Canadians are starting to get a better idea of how much their personal information is being collected, and how much privacy the government expects them to give up.
What’s the Privacy and Civil Liberties Act?
The Privacy Act defines “personal information” as “information about a person that relates to his or her identity or personal information about another person.”
Personal information can include personal data such as email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, social media handles, and browsing history.
It can also include information that identifies someone’s name or the names of family members.
The Act does not specifically limit how the information can be used.
It covers how government departments and agencies may collect, use and disclose personal information and, for example, the extent to which agencies can share such information with third parties.
But the Act does set out specific criteria for when the information may be shared.
For example, personal information that could identify a person may only be used to provide information that can help with the detection of fraud or terrorist activity, to identify persons with mental health issues, to protect the rights or safety of a person, or to facilitate the processing of a request from a third party for personal information.
Personal information is limited to personal information if it relates to the subject of the request, or the person requesting it, or is otherwise relevant to the investigation, inquiry or prosecution of the complaint.
How to contact the Privacy Commission?
The federal Privacy Commissioner can be reached at 613-546-8011.
They can also contact the Commissioner’s office by phone at 647-945-8010.
What you can do to help: Sign up to get the word out about the Privacy Acts.
Learn about the legislation’s limitations and requirements and how to contact privacy commissioners.
Contact your MP.
Tell your MPs about the bill.