use the personal information of Canadians,
it must do so in a way that does not unduly
interfere with people’s privacy.
thus sets out the privacy
rights of Canadians in their interactions with
the federal government.
It obliges government institutions to respect
the privacy of individuals by controlling the
collection, use, disclosure, retention and
disposal of recorded personal information.
Yo u r R i g h t t o P r i va c y
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
does not specifically mention privacy or
the protection of personal information.
However, it does afford protection under
Section 7 (the right to life, liberty and the
security of the person), and Section 8 (the
right to be secure against unreasonable
search or seizure).
The Supreme Court of Canada has stated
status”, and that the values and rights set out
in the Act are closely linked to those set out
in the Constitution as being necessary to a
free and democratic society.
In particular it states that:
The government can only collect
personal information that relates directly
to one of its operating programs or
Wherever possible, the information
should be collected directly from the
person it is about and the individual
should be informed about the purpose
of the collection;
The government should take all
reasonable steps to ensure that the
information it collects is accurate, up-to-
date and complete;
The government may only use the
personal information for the purposes
that it collected it, or for a use consistent
with that purpose (unless the individual
consents to other uses), and
Personal information may be disclosed
by a government institution without an
individual’s consent where permitted
under the Act. For example, it can be
disclosed for the purpose of complying
with warrants or court orders; where
the disclosure is authorized in federal
legislation; where disclosure would
clearly benefit the individual, or
where the public interest in disclosure
outweighs the invasion of privacy.
P e r s o n a l I n f o r m at i o n
offers protections for
personal information, which it defines as any
recorded information “about an identifiable
It can include your race or colour; national
or ethnic origin; religion; age; marital status;
blood type; fingerprints; medical, criminal
or employment history; information on
financial transactions; home address; and
your Social Insurance Number (SIN),
driver’s licence or any other identifying
number assigned to you.