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.
Find information for individuals about how Canada’s two federal privacy laws protect their right to privacy.
Find advice to help individuals better protect their personal information.
Learn about the various laws in Canada that protect privacy, as well as the OPC’s role in overseeing PIPEDA and the Privacy Act.
Learn how to access your personal information held by either businesses or the federal government.
Explore information and advice for individuals about protecting personal information on mobile phones, tablets and computers.
Learn why retailers ask for driver’s licences and what you can do if asked for yours.
Find out who is authorized to ask for your SIN, and what you can do if others request that you provide the number.
Learn about the risks spam poses for privacy and find information and tips individuals can use to protect themselves.
Information and advice to help individuals guard against identity theft and report if it occurs.
Find information out about tenants’ privacy rights and landlords’ privacy obligations under PIPEDA.
Find information about privacy issues that may arise in the workplace, as well as advice for employees and employers about respecting and protecting privacy.
Find information for individuals about their privacy rights at airports and border crossings and what they can do if they feel these rights may have been violated.
Learn about some of the privacy issues that arise in the context of public safety and law enforcement, and find information on how federal privacy laws apply.
Learn about surveillance and monitoring, and the privacy issues and challenges associated with these activities.
Access guidance for organizations and information for individuals about privacy issues related to cross-border transfers of personal information.
Find information for individuals and organizations about privacy policies.
Learn more about privacy issues related to health and genetic information, as well as other information about the body.
Find links to information, guidance, research and education resources related to kids and privacy.
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?
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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