Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21)

Act current to 2017-04-12 and last amended on 2016-04-05. Previous Versions

Marginal note:Powers of Privacy Commissioner in carrying out investigations
  •  (1) The Privacy Commissioner has, in relation to the carrying out of the investigation of any complaint under this Act, power

    • (a) to summon and enforce the appearance of persons before the Privacy Commissioner and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce such documents and things as the Commissioner deems requisite to the full investigation and consideration of the complaint, in the same manner and to the same extent as a superior court of record;

    • (b) to administer oaths;

    • (c) to receive and accept such evidence and other information, whether on oath or by affidavit or otherwise, as the Privacy Commissioner sees fit, whether or not the evidence or information is or would be admissible in a court of law;

    • (d) to enter any premises occupied by any government institution on satisfying any security requirements of the institution relating to the premises;

    • (e) to converse in private with any person in any premises entered pursuant to paragraph (d) and otherwise carry out therein such inquiries within the authority of the Privacy Commissioner under this Act as the Commissioner sees fit; and

    • (f) to examine or obtain copies of or extracts from books or other records found in any premises entered pursuant to paragraph (d) containing any matter relevant to the investigation.

  • Marginal note:Access to information

    (2) Notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament or any privilege under the law of evidence, the Privacy Commissioner may, during the investigation of any complaint under this Act, examine any information recorded in any form under the control of a government institution, other than a confidence of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada to which subsection 70(1) applies, and no information that the Commissioner may examine under this subsection may be withheld from the Commissioner on any grounds.

  • Marginal note:Evidence in other proceedings

    (3) Except in a prosecution of a person for an offence under section 131 of the Criminal Code (perjury) in respect of a statement made under this Act, in a prosecution for an offence under this Act or in a review before the Court under this Act or an appeal therefrom, evidence given by a person in proceedings under this Act and evidence of the existence of the proceedings is inadmissible against that person in a court or in any other proceedings.

  • Marginal note:Witness fees

    (4) Any person summoned to appear before the Privacy Commissioner pursuant to this section is entitled in the discretion of the Commissioner to receive the like fees and allowances for so doing as if summoned to attend before the Federal Court.

  • Marginal note:Return of documents, etc.

    (5) Any document or thing produced pursuant to this section by any person or government institution shall be returned by the Privacy Commissioner within ten days after a request is made to the Commissioner by that person or government institution, but nothing in this subsection precludes the Commissioner from again requiring its production in accordance with this section.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 34;
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 187.
Marginal note:Findings and recommendations of Privacy Commissioner
  •  (1) If, on investigating a complaint under this Act in respect of personal information, the Privacy Commissioner finds that the complaint is well-founded, the Commissioner shall provide the head of the government institution that has control of the personal information with a report containing

    • (a) the findings of the investigation and any recommendations that the Commissioner considers appropriate; and

    • (b) where appropriate, a request that, within a time specified therein, notice be given to the Commissioner of any action taken or proposed to be taken to implement the recommendations contained in the report or reasons why no such action has been or is proposed to be taken.

  • Marginal note:Report to complainant

    (2) The Privacy Commissioner shall, after investigating a complaint under this Act, report to the complainant the results of the investigation, but where a notice has been requested under paragraph (1)(b) no report shall be made under this subsection until the expiration of the time within which the notice is to be given to the Commissioner.

  • Marginal note:Matter to be included in report to complainant

    (3) Where a notice has been requested under paragraph (1)(b) but no such notice is received by the Commissioner within the time specified therefor or the action described in the notice is, in the opinion of the Commissioner, inadequate or inappropriate or will not be taken in a reasonable time, the Commissioner shall so advise the complainant in his report under subsection (2) and may include in the report such comments on the matter as he thinks fit.

  • Marginal note:Access to be given

    (4) Where, pursuant to a request under paragraph (1)(b), the head of a government institution gives notice to the Privacy Commissioner that access to personal information will be given to a complainant, the head of the institution shall give the complainant access to the information forthwith on giving the notice.

  • Marginal note:Right of review

    (5) Where, following the investigation of a complaint relating to a refusal to give access to personal information under this Act, access is not given to the complainant, the Privacy Commissioner shall inform the complainant that the complainant has the right to apply to the Court for a review of the matter investigated.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “35”.

Review of Exempt Banks

Marginal note:Investigation of exempt banks
  •  (1) The Privacy Commissioner may, from time to time at the discretion of the Commissioner, carry out investigations of the files contained in personal information banks designated as exempt banks under section 18.

  • Marginal note:Sections 31 to 34 apply

    (2) Sections 31 to 34 apply, where appropriate and with such modifications as the circumstances require, in respect of investigations carried out under subsection (1).

  • Marginal note:Report of findings and recommendations

    (3) If, following an investigation under subsection (1), the Privacy Commissioner considers that any file contained in a personal information bank should not be contained therein within the terms of the order designating the bank as an exempt bank, the Commissioner shall provide the head of the government institution that has control of the bank with a report containing

    • (a) the findings of the Commissioner and any recommendations that the Commissioner considers appropriate; and

    • (b) where appropriate, a request that, within a time specified therein, notice be given to the Commissioner of any action taken or proposed to be taken to implement the recommendations or reasons why no such action has been or is proposed to be taken.

  • Marginal note:Reports to be included in annual or special reports to Parliament

    (4) Any report made by the Privacy Commissioner under subsection (3), together with any notice given to the Commissioner in response thereto, may be included in a report made pursuant to section 38 or 39.

  • Marginal note:Review of exempt banks by Court

    (5) Where the Privacy Commissioner requests a notice under paragraph (3)(b) in respect of any file contained in a personal information bank designated under section 18 as an exempt bank and no notice is received within the time specified therefor or the action described in the notice is, in the opinion of the Commissioner, inadequate or inappropriate or will not be taken in a reasonable time, the Privacy Commissioner may make an application to the Court under section 43.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “36”.

Review of Compliance with Sections 4 to 8

Marginal note:Investigation in respect of sections 4 to 8
  •  (1) The Privacy Commissioner may, from time to time at the discretion of the Commissioner, carry out investigations in respect of personal information under the control of government institutions to ensure compliance with sections 4 to 8.

  • Marginal note:Sections 31 to 34 apply

    (2) Sections 31 to 34 apply, where appropriate and with such modifications as the circumstances require, in respect of investigations carried out under subsection (1).

  • Marginal note:Report of findings and recommendations

    (3) If, following an investigation under subsection (1), the Privacy Commissioner considers that a government institution has not complied with sections 4 to 8, the Commissioner shall provide the head of the institution with a report containing the findings of the investigation and any recommendations that the Commissioner considers appropriate.

  • Marginal note:Reports to be included in annual or special reports

    (4) Any report made by the Privacy Commissioner under subsection (3) may be included in a report made pursuant to section 38 or 39.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “37”.

Reports to Parliament

Marginal note:Annual report

 The Privacy Commissioner shall, within three months after the termination of each financial year, submit an annual report to Parliament on the activities of the office during that financial year.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “38”.
Marginal note:Special reports
  •  (1) The Privacy Commissioner may, at any time, make a special report to Parliament referring to and commenting on any matter within the scope of the powers, duties and functions of the Commissioner where, in the opinion of the Commissioner, the matter is of such urgency or importance that a report thereon should not be deferred until the time provided for transmission of the next annual report of the Commissioner under section 38.

  • Marginal note:Where investigation made

    (2) Any report made pursuant to subsection (1) that relates to an investigation under this Act shall be made only after the procedures set out in section 35, 36 or 37 have been followed in respect of the investigation.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “39”.
 
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