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First Nation develops a privacy policy following allegations of lost doctor’s notes

Early resolution case summary #2016-03

May 6, 2016

Lessons Learned

  • A federal works, undertakings and businesses (FWUB) is "any work, undertaking or business that is within the legislative authority of Parliament”. PIPEDA applies to all FWUBs and to the personal information of employees of, and applicants for employment with, FWUBs.
  • A First Nation band council, when acting in its core functions, will generally be considered a FWUB, and as a result, the personal information of employees of a band council will be protected under the PIPEDA.

Complaint Summary

The complainant, an employee of a First Nation band council, alleged that on two separate occasions, doctor’s notes he submitted in support of leave requests were lost by the band office, which was refusing to pay him for his leave on the basis of not having the required doctor’s notes. In addition to filing a complaint with our office, the complainant also filed a complaint under the Canada Labour Code.


Our office’s Early Resolution Unit became involved in this case. While the band council did not confirm whether it lost the medical documentation provided by the complainant, it was very open to working with our office to develop a privacy policy and adopt best privacy practices. To assist the band council in developing a privacy policy, the Early Resolution Officer (ERO) provided a package of resources including information from our office’s website. The band council confirmed that these resources were valuable to it.

The ERO then contacted the complainant to inform him of the progress. While the complainant was disappointed that the band council did not acknowledge the loss of the doctor’s notes, he recognized that the issue would be addressed through the Canada Labour Code complaint. The complainant was very pleased that the band council had agreed to develop a privacy policy. The adoption of such a policy was sufficient for the complainant to consider his complaint early resolved.

Update: As a result of input and guidance from our office, the band council confirmed to our office that it had adopted a privacy policy.

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