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PIPEDA also requires the Commissioner

to undertake and publish research about

protecting personal information so as

to increase knowledge and improve

compliance with the Act’s fair information

principles. The Commissioner may conduct

independent research on privacy issues

in conjunction with academic or other

researchers. He or she may also provide

grants and contributions for academic or

other research on privacy issues.

The Commissioner reports annually to

Parliament on privacy issues.


Organizations covered by the Act must

obtain an individual’s consent when they

collect, use or disclose the individual’s

personal information. The individual has

a right to access personal information held

by an organization and to challenge its

accuracy, if need be. Personal information

can only be used for the purposes for which

it was collected. If an organization is going

to use it for another purpose, consent must

be obtained again. Individuals should also

be assured that their information will be

protected by appropriate safeguards.

Under PIPEDA, the definition of

organization includes an association, a

partnership, a person or a trade union.


PIPEDA applies to the collection, use or

disclosure of personal information in the

course of a commercial activity.

A commercial activity is defined as any

particular transaction, act, or conduct, or

any regular course of conduct that is of a

commercial character, including the selling,

bartering or leasing of donor, membership or

other fund-raising lists.

The federal government may exempt from

PIPEDA organizations and/or activities in

provinces that have adopted substantially

similar privacy legislation. To date,

Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta

have adopted private sector legislation

deemed substantially similar to the federal

law. As well, Ontario, New Brunswick and

Newfoundland and Labrador have adopted

substantially similar legislation with respect

to personal health information.

Even in those provinces which have

adopted substantially similar privacy

legislation, PIPEDA continues to apply in all

interprovincial and international transactions

by all organizations subject to the Act in the

course of their commercial activities.

As well, PIPEDA continues to apply in those

provinces to federally regulated organizations

– “federal works, undertakings or businesses”

– such as banks, telecommunications and

transportation companies.