For individuals

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:

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.

Your privacy rights

Find information for individuals about how Canada’s two federal privacy laws protect their right to privacy.

10 Tips for Protecting Personal Information

Find advice to help individuals better protect their personal information.

Privacy laws in Canada

Learn about the various laws in Canada that protect privacy, as well as the OPC’s role in overseeing PIPEDA and the Privacy Act.

Accessing your personal information

Learn how to access your personal information held by either businesses or the federal government.

Online privacy

Access information on issues related to privacy on the Internet, including cloud computing, social networking and spam.

Digital devices

Explore information and advice for individuals about protecting personal information on mobile phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices.

Protecting your driver’s licence

Learn why retailers ask for driver’s licences and what you can do if asked for yours.

Protecting your Social Insurance Number

Find out who is authorized to ask for your SIN, and what you can do if others request that you provide the number.

Spam

Learn about the risks spam poses for privacy and find information and tips individuals can use to protect themselves.

Identity theft

Information and advice to help individuals guard against identity theft and report if it occurs.

Landlords and tenants

Find information out about tenants’ privacy rights and landlords’ privacy obligations under PIPEDA.

Privacy at work

Find information about privacy issues that may arise in the workplace, as well as advice for employees and employers about respecting and protecting privacy.

Privacy at airports and borders

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.

Public safety and law enforcement

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.

Surveillance and monitoring

Learn about surveillance and monitoring, and the privacy issues and challenges associated with these activities.

Personal information transferred across borders

Access guidance for organizations and information for individuals about privacy issues related to cross-border transfers of personal information.

What to consider when reading a privacy policy

Tips for individuals on reading and better understanding privacy policies.

Advertising and marketing

Find information about behavioural/targeted advertising, cookies and spam.

Health, genetic and other body information

Learn more about privacy issues related to health and genetic information, as well as other information about the body.

Privacy and kids

Find links to information, guidance, research and education resources related to kids and privacy.

Resources for seniors

Find information related to our privacy awareness work with seniors.

See all topics

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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