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When you do business with a company,

you do more than simply exchange money

for a product or service: Unless you pay in

cash, you also leave behind a trail of personal

information about yourself. Your name,

address, credit card number and spending

habits are all information of great value

to somebody, whether that’s a legitimate

marketer or an identity thief.

Many organizations need to collect personal

information about you for legitimate

business purposes.

But personal information has become an

increasingly hot commodity for many private

sector organizations that use it in order to try

to sell us more of their services and products.


Personal Information Protection and

Electronic Documents Act

(PIPEDA), sets

the ground rules for handling of personal

information in course of commercial

activities. It applies equally to small and big

businesses, whether they operate out of an

actual building or only online.

W h e r e P I P E D A A p p l i e s

PIPEDA applies to private enterprises

across Canada, except in provinces that

have adopted substantially similar privacy

legislation, namely Québec, British

Columbia, and Alberta.

Ontario, New Brunswick and

Newfoundland and Labrador fall into this

category with respect to personal health

information held by health information

custodians under health sector privacy laws

in those provinces.

However, even in those provinces with

substantially similar legislation, and

elsewhere in Canada, PIPEDA continues

to apply to personal information collected,

used or disclosed by all federally regulated

organizations such as radio and television

stations, airports and airlines, railways and

telecommunication companies.

PIPEDA also applies to all personal data that

flows across provincial or national borders,

in the course of commercial transactions

involving organizations subject to the Act or

to substantially similar legislation.

Overview of Canada’s federal

private sector privacy law