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Annual Report to Parliament 2014 – Report on the

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

Appendix 3

Investigation Process


Individuals make written complaints to the OPC about violations of the


. Our Intake Unit reviews these complaints, and, if necessary, follows up with

complainants to seek clarification and gather additional information.

If complainants have not raised their concerns directly with the organization, we will ask them to do so in order to try to resolve the issue directly and

then to come back to us if they are unsuccessful.

The Intake Unit is also sometimes able to immediately address issues. For example, if we have previously investigated the type of issue being raised,

and have determined that the activities are compliant with PIPEDA, an Intake Officer will explain this to the individual. Or, if we have previously

determined that we do not have jurisdiction over the organization or type of activity, an Intake Officer will explain this and, where appropriate, refer the

individual to other resources or sources of assistance.

In cases where the Intake Unit is not able to immediately address issues (and once the necessary information is gathered), the matter is accepted by our

Office as a formal complaint. The Privacy Commissioner may also initiate a complaint if satisfied there are reasonable grounds to investigate a matter.

Complaint declined

The Commissioner may decide to

decline to investigate a complaint if

certain conditions under subsection

12(1) of the


are met. The

complainant may request that the

Commissioner reconsider this decision.

Transferred to Investigation

If Early Resolution is

unsuccessful, the case is

transferred to an investigator.


A complaint may be discontinued if, for example, a

complainant decides not to pursue it or cannot be located, or

if certain conditions, described in subsection 12.2 of the



are met.

Early Resolved

Early Resolution

Officers encourage

resolutions through

mediation, negotia-

tion and persuasion.


Investigations provide the factual basis for the Commissioner to deter-

mine whether individuals’ rights have been contravened under PIPEDA.

The investigator writes to the organization, outlining the substance of

the complaint. The investigator gathers the facts related to the complaint

through representations from both parties and through independent

inquiry, interviews of witnesses, and review of documentation. Through

the Privacy Commissioner or his delegate, the investigator has the

authority to receive evidence, enter premises where appropriate, and

examine or obtain copies of records found on any premises.

Sent to Investigation

Complaints of a serious, systemic

or otherwise complex nature – for

example, uncertain jurisdictional

matters, multiple allegations or

complex technical issues – are

assigned to an investigator.


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Sent to Early Resolution Officer

Complaints which we believe could potentially be resolved

quickly are sent to an Early Resolution Officer. These com-

plaints include matters where our Office has already made

findings on the issues; where the organization has already

dealt with the allegations to our satisfaction; or where it

seems possible that allegations can be easily remedied.