Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21)

Act current to 2016-11-21 and last amended on 2016-04-05. Previous Versions

Marginal note:Where access is refused
  •  (1) Where the head of a government institution refuses to give access to any personal information requested under subsection 12(1), the head of the institution shall state in the notice given under paragraph 14(a)

    • (a) that the personal information does not exist, or

    • (b) the specific provision of this Act on which the refusal was based or the provision on which a refusal could reasonably be expected to be based if the information existed,

    and shall state in the notice that the individual who made the request has a right to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner about the refusal.

  • Marginal note:Existence not required to be disclosed

    (2) The head of a government institution may but is not required to indicate under subsection (1) whether personal information exists.

  • Marginal note:Deemed refusal to give access

    (3) Where the head of a government institution fails to give access to any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) within the time limits set out in this Act, the head of the institution shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to have refused to give access.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “16”.

Access

Marginal note:Form of access
  •  (1) Subject to any regulations made under paragraph 77(1)(o), where an individual is to be given access to personal information requested under subsection 12(1), the government institution shall

    • (a) permit the individual to examine the information in accordance with the regulations; or

    • (b) provide the individual with a copy thereof.

  • Marginal note:Language of access

    (2) Where access to personal information is to be given under this Act and the individual to whom access is to be given requests that access be given in a particular one of the official languages of Canada,

    • (a) access shall be given in that language, if the personal information already exists under the control of a government institution in that language; and

    • (b) where the personal information does not exist in that language, the head of the government institution that has control of the personal information shall cause it to be translated or interpreted for the individual if the head of the institution considers a translation or interpretation to be necessary to enable the individual to understand the information.

  • Marginal note:Access to personal information in alternative format

    (3) Where access to personal information is to be given under this Act and the individual to whom access is to be given has a sensory disability and requests that access be given in an alternative format, access shall be given in an alternative format if

    • (a) the personal information already exists under the control of a government institution in an alternative format that is acceptable to the individual; or

    • (b) the head of the government institution that has control of the personal information considers the giving of access in an alternative format to be necessary to enable the individual to exercise the individual’s right of access under this Act and considers it reasonable to cause the personal information to be converted.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 17;
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 36.

Exemptions

Exempt Banks

Marginal note:Governor in Council may designate exempt banks
  •  (1) The Governor in Council may, by order, designate as exempt banks certain personal information banks that contain files all of which consist predominantly of personal information described in section 21 or 22.

  • Marginal note:Disclosure may be refused

    (2) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) that is contained in a personal information bank designated as an exempt bank under subsection (1).

  • Marginal note:Contents of order

    (3) An order made under subsection (1) shall specify

    • (a) the section on the basis of which the order is made; and

    • (b) where a personal information bank is designated that contains files that consist predominantly of personal information described in subparagraph 22(1)(a)(ii), the law concerned.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “18”.

Responsibilities of Government

Marginal note:Personal information obtained in confidence
  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the head of a government institution shall refuse to disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) that was obtained in confidence from

    • (a) the government of a foreign state or an institution thereof;

    • (b) an international organization of states or an institution thereof;

    • (c) the government of a province or an institution thereof;

    • (d) a municipal or regional government established by or pursuant to an Act of the legislature of a province or an institution of such a government;

    • (e) the council, as defined in the Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement given effect by the Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act; or

    • (f) the council of a participating First Nation as defined in subsection 2(1) of the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act.

  • Marginal note:Where disclosure authorized

    (2) The head of a government institution may disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) that was obtained from any government, organization or institution described in subsection (1) if the government, organization or institution from which the information was obtained

    • (a) consents to the disclosure; or

    • (b) makes the information public.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 19;
  • 2004, c. 17, s. 19;
  • 2006, c. 10, s. 34.
Marginal note:Federal-provincial affairs

 The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct by the Government of Canada of federal-provincial affairs.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “20”.
Marginal note:International affairs and defence

 The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada, as defined in subsection 15(2) of the Access to Information Act, or the efforts of Canada toward detecting, preventing or suppressing subversive or hostile activities, as defined in subsection 15(2) of the Access to Information Act, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information listed in paragraphs 15(1)(a) to (i) of the Access to Information Act.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “21”.
Marginal note:Law enforcement and investigation
  •  (1) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1)

    • (a) that was obtained or prepared by any government institution, or part of any government institution, that is an investigative body specified in the regulations in the course of lawful investigations pertaining to

      if the information came into existence less than twenty years prior to the request;

    • (b) the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the enforcement of any law of Canada or a province or the conduct of lawful investigations, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information

      • (i) relating to the existence or nature of a particular investigation,

      • (ii) that would reveal the identity of a confidential source of information, or

      • (iii) that was obtained or prepared in the course of an investigation; or

    • (c) the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the security of penal institutions.

  • Marginal note:Policing services for provinces or municipalities

    (2) The head of a government institution shall refuse to disclose any personal information requested under subsection 12(1) that was obtained or prepared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while performing policing services for a province or municipality pursuant to an arrangement made under section 20 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, where the Government of Canada has, on the request of the province or municipality, agreed not to disclose such information.

  • Definition of investigation

    (3) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), investigation means an investigation that

    • (a) pertains to the administration or enforcement of an Act of Parliament;

    • (b) is authorized by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament; or

    • (c) is within a class of investigations specified in the regulations.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “22”;
  • 1984, c. 21, s. 90, c. 40, s. 79(E).
 
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