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Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2022-09-22 and last amended on 2022-07-26. Previous Versions

Office of the Privacy Commissioner (continued)

General (continued)

Marginal note:For greater certainty

 For greater certainty, sections 63 and 66 apply if the Privacy Commissioner is consulted by the Information Commissioner under subsection 36(1.1) or section 36.2 of the Access to Information Act.

Marginal note:Protection of Privacy Commissioner

  •  (1) No criminal or civil proceedings lie against the Privacy Commissioner, or against any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner, for anything done, reported or said in good faith in the course of the exercise or performance or purported exercise or performance of any power, duty or function of the Commissioner under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Libel or slander

    (2) For the purposes of any law relating to libel or slander,

    • (a) anything said, any information supplied or any document or thing produced in good faith in the course of an investigation carried out by or on behalf of the Privacy Commissioner under this Act is privileged; and

    • (b) any report made in good faith by the Privacy Commissioner under this Act and any fair and accurate account of the report made in good faith in a newspaper or any other periodical publication or in a broadcast is privileged.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “67”

Offences

Marginal note:Obstruction

  •  (1) No person shall obstruct the Privacy Commissioner or any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner in the performance of the Commissioner’s duties and functions under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Offence and punishment

    (2) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “68”

Exclusions

Marginal note:Act does not apply to certain materials

  •  (1) This Act does not apply to

    • (a) library or museum material preserved solely for public reference or exhibition purposes; or

    • (b) material placed in the Library and Archives of Canada, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 by or on behalf of persons or organizations other than government institutions.

  • Marginal note:Sections 7 and 8 do not apply to certain information

    (2) Sections 7 and 8 do not apply to personal information that is publicly available.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 69
  • R.S., 1985, c. 1 (3rd Supp.), s. 12
  • 1990, c. 3, s. 32
  • 1992, c. 1, s. 143(E)
  • 2004, c. 11, s. 39
  • 2008, c. 9, s. 10
  • 2010, c. 7, s. 9
  • 2013, c. 38, s. 18

Marginal note:Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

 This Act does not apply to personal information that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation collects, uses or discloses for journalistic, artistic or literary purposes and does not collect, use or disclose for any other purpose.

  • 2006, c. 9, s. 188

Marginal note:Confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada

  •  (1) This Act does not apply to confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any information contained in

    • (a) memoranda the purpose of which is to present proposals or recommendations to Council;

    • (b) discussion papers the purpose of which is to present background explanations, analyses of problems or policy options to Council for consideration by Council in making decisions;

    • (c) agenda of Council or records recording deliberations or decisions of Council;

    • (d) records used for or reflecting communications or discussions between ministers of the Crown on matters relating to the making of government decisions or the formulation of government policy;

    • (e) records the purpose of which is to brief ministers of the Crown in relation to matters that are before, or are proposed to be brought before, Council or that are the subject of communications or discussions referred to in paragraph (d); and

    • (f) draft legislation.

  • Marginal note:Definition of Council

    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), Council means the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, committees of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Cabinet and committees of Cabinet.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (3) Subsection (1) does not apply to

    • (a) confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada that have been in existence for more than twenty years; or

    • (b) discussion papers described in paragraph (1)(b)

      • (i) if the decisions to which the discussion papers relate have been made public, or

      • (ii) where the decisions have not been made public, if four years have passed since the decisions were made.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 70
  • 1992, c. 1, s. 144(F)

Marginal note:Certificate under Canada Evidence Act

  •  (1) Where a certificate under section 38.13 of the Canada Evidence Act prohibiting the disclosure of personal information of a specific individual is issued before a complaint is filed by that individual under this Act in respect of a request for access to that information, the provisions of this Act respecting that individual’s right of access to his or her personal information do not apply to the information that is subject to the certificate.

  • Marginal note:Certificate following filing of complaint

    (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, where a certificate under section 38.13 of the Canada Evidence Act prohibiting the disclosure of personal information of a specific individual is issued in respect of personal information after the filing of a complaint under this Act in relation to a request for access to that information,

    • (a) all proceedings under this Act in respect of that information, including an investigation, audit, appeal or judicial review, are discontinued;

    • (b) the Privacy Commissioner shall not disclose the information and shall take all necessary precautions to prevent its disclosure; and

    • (c) the Privacy Commissioner shall, within 10 days after the certificate is published in the Canada Gazette, return the information to the head of the government institution that controls the information.

  • Marginal note:Information not to be disclosed

    (3) The Privacy Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Privacy Commissioner, in carrying out their functions under this Act, shall not disclose information subject to a certificate issued under section 38.13 of the Canada Evidence Act and shall take every reasonable precaution to avoid the disclosure of that information.

  • Marginal note:Limited power of delegation

    (4) The Privacy Commissioner may not, nor may an Assistant Privacy Commissioner, delegate the investigation of any complaint respecting information subject to a certificate issued under section 38.13 of the Canada Evidence Act except to one of a maximum of four officers or employees of the Commissioner specifically designated by the Commissioner for the purpose of conducting that investigation.

  • 2001, c. 41, s. 104

General

Marginal note:Duties and functions of designated Minister

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the designated Minister shall

    • (a) cause to be kept under review the manner in which personal information banks are maintained and managed to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Act and the regulations relating to access by individuals to personal information contained therein;

    • (b) assign or cause to be assigned a registration number to each personal information bank;

    • (c) prescribe such forms as may be required for the operation of this Act and the regulations;

    • (d) cause to be prepared and distributed to government institutions directives and guidelines concerning the operation of this Act and the regulations; and

    • (e) prescribe the form of, and what information is to be included in, reports made to Parliament under section 72.

  • Marginal note:Exception for Bank of Canada

    (2) Anything that is required to be done by the designated Minister under paragraph (1)(a) or (d) shall be done in respect of the Bank of Canada by the Governor of the Bank of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Review of existing and proposed personal information banks

    (3) Subject to subsection (5), the designated Minister shall cause to be kept under review the utilization of existing personal information banks and proposals for the creation of new banks, and shall make such recommendations as he considers appropriate to the heads of the appropriate government institutions with regard to personal information banks that, in the opinion of the designated Minister, are under-utilized or the existence of which can be terminated.

  • Marginal note:Establishment and modification of personal information banks

    (4) Subject to subsection (5), no new personal information bank shall be established and no existing personal information banks shall be substantially modified without approval of the designated Minister or otherwise than in accordance with any term or condition on which such approval is given.

  • Marginal note:Application of subsections (3) and (4)

    (5) Subsections (3) and (4) apply only in respect of personal information banks under the control of government institutions that are departments as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act.

  • Marginal note:Delegation to head of government institution

    (6) The designated Minister may authorize the head of a government institution to exercise and perform, in such manner and subject to such terms and conditions as the designated Minister directs, any of the powers, functions and duties of the designated Minister under subsection (3) or (4).

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “71”

Marginal note:Designated Minister’s power

 The designated Minister may provide services with respect to the administration of this Act to the public and to any government institution.

Marginal note:Annual report — government institutions

  •  (1) Every year the head of every government institution shall prepare a report on the administration of this Act within the institution during the period beginning on April 1 of the preceding year and ending on March 31 of the current year.

  • Marginal note:Tabling of report

    (2) Every report prepared under subsection (1) shall be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after September 1 of the year in which the report is prepared.

  • Marginal note:Reference to Parliamentary committee

    (3) Every report prepared under subsection (1) shall, after it is laid before the Senate and the House of Commons, under subsection (2), be referred to the committee designated or established by Parliament for the purpose of subsection 75(1).

  • Marginal note:Copy of report to designated Minister

    (4) The head of every government institution shall provide a copy of the report to the designated Minister immediately after it is laid before both Houses.

Marginal note:Delegation by head of government institution

  •  (1) The head of a government institution may, by order, delegate any of their powers, duties or functions under this Act to one or more officers or employees of that institution.

  • Marginal note:Delegation to officers or employees of other government institution

    (2) The head of a government institution may, for the purposes of subsection 73.1(1), by order, delegate any of their powers, duties or functions under this Act to one or more officers or employees of another government institution.

Marginal note:Provision of services related to privacy

  •  (1) A government institution may provide services related to any power, duty or function conferred or imposed on the head of a government institution under this Act to another government institution that is presided over by the same Minister or that is under the responsibility of the same Minister and may receive such services from any other such government institution.

  • Marginal note:Written agreement

    (2) A government institution may provide services under subsection (1) to another government institution only if it enters into an agreement in writing with the other government institution in respect of those services before it provides the services.

  • Marginal note:Notice

    (3) The head of a government institution that receives the services shall provide a copy of the agreement to the Privacy Commissioner and the designated Minister as soon as possible after the agreement is entered into. The head of the institution shall also notify the Commissioner and the designated Minister of any material change to that agreement.

  • Marginal note:Fees

    (4) The head of a government institution that provides the services may charge a fee for those services. The fee is not to exceed the cost of providing the service.

  • Marginal note:Spending authority

    (5) The head of the institution that charges the fee may spend the revenues that are received from the provision of the services for any purpose of that institution. If the head of the institution spends the revenues, he or she must do so in the fiscal year in which they are received or, unless an appropriation Act provides otherwise, in the next fiscal year.

Marginal note:Personal information not under control of institution

 The personal information that the head of a government institution provides to the head of another government institution for the purpose of the other institution providing the services referred to in subsection 73.1(1) is not under the control of that other institution.

Marginal note:Protection from civil proceeding or from prosecution

 Notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament, no civil or criminal proceedings lie against the head of any government institution, or against any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the head of a government institution, and no proceedings lie against the Crown or any government institution, for the disclosure in good faith of any personal information pursuant to this Act, for any consequences that flow from that disclosure, or for the failure to give any notice required under this Act if reasonable care is taken to give the required notice.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “74”
 
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