Employee alleges non-consensual disclosure by employer to investment firm

PIPEDA Case Summary #2001-17

[Section 7(3) and Principles 4.3 and 4.5, Schedule 1]

Complaint

An employee of a large corporation complained that his employer was improperly disclosing his and other employees' personal information, including information related to cash bonuses, without the employees' consent or prior knowledge, to the investment firm involved in an RRSP and savings plan sponsored by the corporation.

Summary of Investigation

The corporation in question has admitted that it discloses employees' personal information without their explicit consent to the investment firm involved in its RRSP and savings plan for hourly employees. The information disclosed consists of the individual's payroll and personal identification numbers, name, address, social insurance number, marital status, gender, preferred language, seniority service date, birth date, department, group code, and union code. The corporation also informs the investment firm when it awards cash bonuses, but does not specify the recipient or the amount of the bonus. The RRSP and savings plan was established by the corporation in fulfillment of a commitment under its collective agreement with the employees' union. The corporation pays the investment firm for the services it provides under the plan and does not disclose the information to the investment firm for consideration, monetary or otherwise.

Commissioner's Findings

Issued October 18, 2001

Jurisdiction: As of January 1, 2001, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies strictly to federal works, undertakings, or businesses or to disclosures of personal information across borders for consideration. The corporation in question is neither a federal work, undertaking, or business as defined in the Act, nor does it disclose the personal information at issue across borders for consideration.

The Commissioner concluded that he lacked jurisdiction to pursue the matter further.

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