How your personal information is collected and used by businesses and by government institutions in Canada is governed by privacy laws.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is responsible for overseeing two federal privacy laws:
- The Privacy Act, which covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies.
- The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which covers the personal information-handling practices of businesses.
However, even with rules in place to protect that information, a great defence against a wide range of privacy risks is knowing your rights and making choices about what personal information you share, with whom, and for what purpose.
Explore the links on this page to find out about privacy rights and protections in Canada, and how to protect your personal information.
Interacting with businesses and government
Tips for parents, teachers and businesses
Reporting concerns and filing complaints
Raising concerns, filing complaints, reporting breaches, spam
Accessing your personal information
Requests to businesses and federal government, obligations for organizations
Receiving a privacy breach notification
Breaches of business security, personal information, notification, protecting your accounts, who to contact
Interactive search based on type of information and organization
Protecting your information, identity theft, social networks
Protecting information, passwords, game consoles, wearables
Tenant rights, information collection, landlord obligations
Employers, human resources (HR), work devices, online services
Protecting your driver’s licence
Requests from stores, applicable laws
Protecting your Social Insurance Number
Appropriate use of SIN, risks, protecting your SIN, infographic
Canadian and international customs, searching devices, security screening
Common threats, prevention tips
What to look for, privacy principles, raising concerns
Health, genetic and other body information
Genetic testing, biometrics, health privacy, health emergencies
Privacy awareness with seniors
Frequently asked questions
This list highlights advice and information on issues individuals frequently ask about when they contact us.
How do I get the personal information an organization has about me?
Canada’s two federal privacy law oblige federal government institutions and many businesses to give people a right to access their personal information. See our page about accessing your personal information held by others for tips.
Can businesses ask for my driver’s license or social insurance number?
Identity information like this is sensitive and should only be collected if absolutely necessary. See our guidance for individuals about protecting driver’s licences and Social insurance numbers.
What should I do if I am unhappy with how an organization is handling my personal information?
We typically encourage individuals to first try to work out privacy issues with the organization that is handling the personal information. For help with this, take a look at our tips on raising a privacy concern with an organization. If you are unable to resolve your issue, you can report a concern to our Office.
What can I do to protect myself against identity theft?
When you are asked to provide personal information, ask why it is needed, how it will be used, with whom it may be shared and how it will be safeguarded. Read our guide: Identity Theft and You for more helpful tips and information about what to do if you think you may be a victim of identity theft.
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