24 April 2020
PIPEDA is Canada's main private-sector privacy law. It set rules about how businesses collect, process, and share the personal information of people in Canada.
PIPEDA applies to businesses and other private-sector organizations such as charities engaged in "commercial activity." The term "commercial activity" is defined at Section 2 (1) of PIPEDA:
Nonprofits and organizations that are partially publicly-funded can engage in commercial activity, and they must comply with PIPEDA when doing so.
Yes, according to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC), the public authority that enforces Canadian privacy law, non-Canadian companies do have to comply with PIPEDA if they have any "real and substantial link to Canada."
Your introduction can also set out some of your company's principles when it comes to using and protecting your customers' personal information.
Here's how Optimizely does this:
Note that Optimizely also provides a link to copies of its old Privacy Policies, which is a helpful thing to do.
PIPEDA requires that you provide "the name or title, and the address, of the person who is accountable for the organization's policies and practices and to whom complaints or inquiries can be forwarded."
Larger companies should appoint a Privacy Officer who is responsible for overseeing compliance with PIPEDA and other laws and regulations.
Alternatively, you can provide contact details for anyone in your company who will know how to handle privacy inquiries.
Here's how ContactsPlus does this:
Note that ContactsPlus provides the contact details of the Data Protection Officer (DPO). This is a requirement for some companies under the EU's GDPR.
PIPEDA requires that you provide "a copy of any brochures or other information that explain the organization's policies, standards, or codes."
Your other policies might include:
Here's how Sabre Overseas does this:
You should explain what personal information you collect. This includes your customers, as well as anyone else whose personal information you might collect, including prospective customers, visitors to your website, etc.
PIPEDA defines "personal information" as "information about an identifiable individual." The Canadian authorities have taken a broad view of what this includes.
Some common examples of personal information include:
Remember that personal information doesn't need to directly identify an individual. It only needs to be about an individual, and so if a piece of information could indirectly identify an individual when combined with other information, then it should be treated as personal information.
Here's how Stripe identifies some of the types of personal information it collects about consumers:
Broadly speaking, there are three main ways in which businesses collect personal information:
Think carefully about your sources of personal information and the types of personal information you receive via these sources.
Here's how Thrive Therapeutics identifies how it collects personal information directly from consumers:
Here's how the company identifies how it collects personal information from third parties:
You should identify your purposes for collecting personal information, which means explaining how and why you use it.
Informing consumers about your purposes for collecting personal information is an important obligation under PIPEDA. It's also important that you do not collect any personal information unless you have a specified, legitimate purpose for doing so.
Of course, there are many legitimate purposes for collecting and using personal information. Here are some of the more common ways that online businesses use personal information:
Here's how News UK explains some of the ways in which it uses personal information:
First, here's how Twitter explains what cookies are:
Here's how Twitter explains how users can opt out of cookies:
You should explain how consumers can find out what personal information you hold about them, or exercise control over their personal information.
Unlike certain other privacy laws, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), PIPEDA does not contain an extensive set of consumer rights.
However, PIPEDA does grant consumers the right to:
Of course, you can go over and above PIPEDA's requirements by offering consumers greater control over their personal information. This might include the ability to delete their account or to delete user-generated content they have posted on your website.
Here's how Canadian company RedDress Medical explains PIPEDA's basic privacy rights:
Practically every business needs to share personal information with service providers and other companies.
PIPEDA requires that you disclose "what personal information is made available to related organizations (e.g., subsidiaries)." We'd suggest you don't only list "related organizations." Let consumers know all the different types of third parties with whom you share personal information.
Here are some examples of the types of companies with whom you might share personal information, or who might collect personal information on your company's behalf:
Here's an example from LeadersPlus:
You don't need to be specific with the names of the third parties you share data with or may share it with. You can just put categories of parties, such as LeadersPlus did in the above clause.
Here's an example from Asana's mobile app.
This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.