Language selection


Organizational Structure

The core responsibility of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is to protect and promote people’s fundamental right to privacy.

The Privacy Commissioner is the head of the organization. The OPC’s organizational structure is comprised of four sectors, each overseen by a Deputy Commissioner:

  • Legal Services
  • Compliance
  • Policy and Promotion
  • Corporate Management

Privacy Commissioner

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Philippe Dufresne, is an independent Agent of Parliament and reports directly to Parliament.

The Deputy Commissioners of each of the OPC’s four sectors report directly to the Privacy Commissioner. The Commissioner is also supported by the OPC’s Executive Secretariat.

Legal Services Sector

The Legal Services Sector provides legal advice in relation to PIPEDA and Privacy Act compliance and in support of other operational activities across the OPC. It represents the OPC in litigation matters before the courts and in negotiations with other parties. It is also involved in international and cross-regulatory work as well as parliamentary appearances. The Sector also includes the OPC’s Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Program.

The Legal Services Sector is headed by Marc Chénier, Deputy Commissioner and Senior General Counsel. The sector is supported by General Counsel, Julia Barss and Denis Vaillancourt, Director of ATIP.

Compliance Sector

The Compliance Sector focuses on addressing privacy compliance problems through enforcement activities to ensure that violations of the law are identified and that remedies are secured. This includes not only investigations in response to complaints filed by Canadians, but also proactive enforcement, such as Commissioner-initiated investigations.

The Compliance Sector includes three directorates:

  • Privacy Act Compliance (public sector)
  • Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) Compliance (private sector)
  • Compliance, Intake and Resolution (public and private sectors)

The Sector is headed by Isabelle Gervais, Deputy Commissioner.

Privacy Act Compliance Directorate

The Privacy Act Compliance Directorate conducts investigations under the Privacy Act concerning:

  • collection, use and disclosure of personal information by federal institutions
  • access to personal information held by federal institutions

The Directorate is headed by Lahoussine Aniss, Director.

PIPEDA Compliance Directorate

The PIPEDA Compliance Directorate conducts investigations under PIPEDA about the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities. The Directorate also conducts proactive enforcement actions, including sector-wide investigations, global privacy sweeps and Commissioner-initiated investigations. The Directorate is headed by Michael Maguire, Director.

Compliance, Intake and Resolution Directorate

The Compliance, Intake, and Resolution Directorate is responsible for complaint intake and the early resolution of complaints under both PIPEDA and the Privacy Act. It also:

  • reviews and follows up on mandatory data breach reports from private sector organizations and federal institutions
  • carries out breach investigations
  • conducts compliance monitoring

The Directorate is headed by Sue Lajoie, Executive Director.

Policy and Promotion Sector

The Policy and Promotion Sector aims to inform Canadians of their rights and how to exercise them, and to bring organizations toward compliance with the law. This involves, for example, the development and promotion of general—yet practical—information and guidance, reviewing privacy impact assessments (PIAs) and offering advice on specific initiatives. The goal is to share information and advice with businesses and federal government institutions when they are designing their services so that Canadians may enjoy the benefits of innovation without undue risk to their privacy.

The Policy and Promotion Sector includes six directorates:

  • Government Advisory
  • Business Advisory
  • Policy, Research and Parliamentary Affairs
  • International, Provincial and Territorial Relations
  • Technology Analysis
  • Communications

The Sector is headed by Gregory Smolynec, Deputy Commissioner.

Government Advisory Directorate

The Government Advisory Directorate provides advice and recommendations to federal public sector institutions in relation to specific programs and initiatives, as well as through its review of PIAs and information sharing agreements submitted by departments and agencies. This group also undertakes outreach initiatives with the federal public sector to encourage compliance with the Privacy Act. The Directorate is headed by Lacey Batalov, Director.

Business Advisory Directorate

The Business Advisory Directorate provides advisory services to businesses subject to PIPEDA, which includes advice for new programs and initiatives, reviews of existing privacy practices and proactive engagements with the business community. This group also conducts outreach with the private sector to encourage compliance with PIPEDA. The Directorate is headed by Abubakar Khan, Director.

Policy, Research and Parliamentary Affairs Directorate

The Policy, Research and Parliamentary Affairs Directorate:

  • develops strategic policy positions on legislative bills, government policies and private sector initiatives
  • supports the Commissioner’s appearances before Parliament
  • develops guidance for the public and private sectors
  • conducts applied research on emerging privacy issues

This Directorate also manages the OPC Contributions Program which funds external researchers and non-profit organizations to advance and apply new knowledge about data protection in the private sector. The Directorate is headed by Lara Ives, Executive Director.

International, Provincial and Territorial Relations

The International, Provincial and Territorial Relations Directorate serves as the focal point for the Office’s domestic and international engagement. The OPC strives to work collaboratively with its counterparts on public-sector and private-sector compliance, public education and policy matters. It has established frameworks with a number of counterparts to formalize consultation, cooperation and the sharing of relevant information. The OPC also participates in a number of international privacy protection organizations to help shape and improve privacy policies and standards around the world, which in turn leads to better protection for Canadians’ personal information. The Directorate is headed by Miguel Bernal-Castillero, Director.

Technology Analysis Directorate

The Technology Analysis Directorate:

  • identifies and analyzes technological trends and developments in electronic platforms and digital media
  • conducts research to assess the impact of technology on the protection of personal information in the digital world
  • provides strategic analysis and guidance on complex, varied and sensitive technological issues involving government and commercial systems that store personal information
  • provides technical support and subject matter expertise for investigations led by the Compliance Sector

The Directorate is headed by Justin Lafontaine, Director.

Communications Directorate

The Communications Directorate provides strategic advice and support for the planning and execution of public education and communications activities in both official languages. The Directorate develops information for Canadians and organizations aimed at increasing awareness of privacy rights and obligations. Other areas of responsibility include:

  • media relations and media monitoring and analysis
  • website and social media
  • events and outreach campaigns
  • public opinion research
  • linguistic services

The Directorate is also responsible for responding to requests for information from the public and organizations regarding privacy rights and responsibilities through the OPC’s Information Centre. The Directorate is headed by Brenna Morell, Executive Director.

Corporate Management Sector

The Corporate Management Sector provides advice and integrated administrative services related to corporate planning, resource management, financial management, information management/technology, digital transformation and service modernization, human resources and people management and general administration to managers and staff. The Sector is headed by Richard Roulx, Deputy Commissioner.

The Corporate Management Sector includes four directorates:

  • Human Resources
  • Finance and Administration
  • Information Management/Information Technology
  • Business Planning, Performance, Audit and Evaluation

The Sector is also supported by three Directors and an Executive Director: Sofia Scichilone (Human Resources Directorate), Robert Sabourin (Finance and Administration Directorate), Chantale Roussel (Business Planning, Performance, Audit and Evaluation Directorate) and Manu Singh, Executive Director, Chief Services and Digital Officer, responsible for guiding the implementation of the OPC’s digital vision and agenda.

Date modified: