Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2019-06-20 and last amended on 2018-12-13. Previous Versions

Office of the Privacy Commissioner (continued)

Special Studies

Marginal note:Special studies

  •  (1) The Privacy Commissioner shall carry out or cause to be carried out such studies as may be referred to the Commissioner by the Minister of Justice

    • (a) relating to the privacy of individuals,

    • (b) concerning the extension of the rights to which individuals are entitled under this Act in respect of personal information about themselves, and

    • (c) relating to the collection, retention, disposal, use or disclosure of personal information by persons or bodies, other than government institutions, that come within the legislative authority of Parliament,

    and the Privacy Commissioner shall report thereon to the Minister of Justice from time to time.

  • Marginal note:Reports to be tabled

    (2) The Minister of Justice shall cause each report by the Privacy Commissioner under subsection (1) to be laid before Parliament on any of the first fifteen days after receipt thereof that either House of Parliament is sitting.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “60”

General

Marginal note:Principal office

 The principal office of the Privacy Commissioner shall be in the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “61”

Marginal note:Security requirements

 The Privacy Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner who receives or obtains information relating to any investigation under this Act or any other Act of Parliament shall, with respect to access to and the use of that information, satisfy any security requirements applicable to, and take any oath of secrecy required to be taken by, persons who normally have access to and use of that information.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “62”

Marginal note:Confidentiality

 Subject to this Act, the Privacy Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner shall not disclose any information that comes to their knowledge in the performance of their duties and functions under this Act.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “63”

Marginal note:Disclosure authorized

  •  (1) The Privacy Commissioner may disclose or may authorize any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner to disclose information

    • (a) that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, is necessary to

      • (i) carry out an investigation under this Act, or

      • (ii) establish the grounds for findings and recommendations contained in any report under this Act; or

    • (b) in the course of a prosecution for an offence under this Act, a prosecution for an offence under section 131 of the Criminal Code (perjury) in respect of a statement made under this Act, a review before the Court under this Act or an appeal therefrom.

  • Marginal note:Disclosure of offence authorized

    (2) The Privacy Commissioner may disclose to the Attorney General of Canada information relating to the commission of an offence against a law of Canada or a province by a director, an officer or an employee of a government institution if, in the Commissioner’s opinion, there is evidence of such an offence.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 64
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 187
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 186

Marginal note:Information not to be disclosed

 In carrying out an investigation under this Act, in notifying an individual of a disclosure under subsection 8(5) and in any report made to Parliament under section 38 or 39, the Privacy Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Privacy Commissioner shall take every reasonable precaution to avoid the disclosure of, and shall not disclose,

  • (a) any information that the head of a government institution would be authorized to refuse to disclose if it were requested under subsection 12(1) or contained in a record requested under the Access to Information Act; or

  • (b) any information as to whether personal information exists where the head of a government institution, in refusing to disclose the personal information under this Act, does not indicate whether it exists.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 111, Sch. II “65”

Marginal note:No summons

 The Privacy Commissioner or any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner is not a competent or compellable witness, in respect of any matter coming to the knowledge of the Commissioner or that person as a result of performing any duties or functions under this Act during an investigation, in any proceeding other than a prosecution for an offence under this Act, a prosecution for an offence under section 131 of the Criminal Code (perjury) in respect of a statement made under this Act, a review before the Court under this Act or an appeal therefrom.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-21, s. 66
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 187

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)
 
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