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Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21)

Full Document:  

Act current to 2019-11-19 and last amended on 2019-08-28. Previous Versions

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”
 
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