Insufficient evidence of an actual disclosure of personal information may be grounds to discontinue an investigation

Discontinued Case Summary #2013-002

October 2, 2013


Lessons Learned

  • Where an individual complains that personal information was improperly disclosed, without being presented with evidence that there has actually been a disclosure of personal information, the Commissioner may discontinue the investigation of a complaint where she is of the opinion that there is insufficient evidence to pursue the investigation, as permitted by paragraph 12.2(1)(a) of PIPEDA.

Complaint

The complainant alleged that a bank had sent him a letter in an unsealed envelope. He indicated that this letter contained his personal information and he did not know if anyone may have had access to it in transit.

Discontinuance of Investigation

Based on the information gathered in the course of its investigation, our Office determined that there was no evidence provided to demonstrate that there was actually a disclosure of the complainant’s personal information in the circumstances. In this particular case, our Office was of the opinion that the necessary evidence of a disclosure could not be practicably gathered.  Accordingly, the Commissioner exercised her discretion to discontinue the investigation pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(a) of PIPEDA as our Office was of the opinion there was insufficient evidence to pursue the investigation.

However, our Office reminded the bank of the importance of ensuring that all envelopes containing personal information are sealed in order to safeguard the personal information of clients.Footnote 1

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