Terms and conditions of use

Privacy Notice

The Government of Canada and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (the OPC) are committed to providing websites that respect the privacy of visitors. This privacy notice summarizes the privacy practices for the OPC's website.

All personal information collected by this institution is governed by the Privacy Act. This means that you will be informed of the purpose for which your personal information is being collected and how to exercise your right of access to that information.

Your Privacy and the OPC's website

The nature of the Internet is such that Web servers automatically collect certain information about a visit to a website, including the visitor's Internet Protocol (IP) address. IP addresses are unique numbers assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISP) to all devices used to access the Internet. Web servers automatically log the IP addresses of visitors to their sites. The IP address, on its own, may not identify an individual. However, in certain circumstances, such as with the co-operation of an ISP for example, it could be used to identify an individual using the site. For this reason, federal institutions including the OPC consider the IP address to be personal information, particularly when combined with other data automatically collected when visitor requests a Web page such as the page or pages visited, date and time of the visit.

Unless otherwise noted, the OPC does not automatically gather any specific information from you, such as your name, telephone number or email address. The OPC would obtain this type of information only if you supply it to us, for example, by email or by filling in a contact form. In such cases, how your personal information is handled will be provided in a Personal Information Collection Statement.

In cases where services are provided by organizations outside of the OPC and Government of Canada, such as social media platforms or mobile applications, IP addresses may be recorded by the Web server of the third-party service provider.

Communicating with the OPC

If you choose to send the OPC an email or complete a form online, your personal information may be used by the OPC in order to respond to your inquiry. The OPC will delete any personal information that is not requested. For example, we will delete any personal information submitted via the “Was this page helpful?” feedback tool.

The OPC does not use personal information submitted via online forms to create individual profiles nor does it disclose the information to anyone other than to those in the federal government who need to provide you with a response. Any disclosure of your personal information is in accordance with the Privacy Act.

Emails and other electronic methods used to communicate with the OPC are not secure unless it is specifically stated on a Web page. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not send sensitive personal information, such as your Social Insurance Number or your date of birth, through non-secure electronic means.

Personal information from emails or completed feedback forms is collected pursuant to the Privacy Act. Such information may be used for statistical, evaluation and reporting purposes.

Third-Party Social Media

The OPC's use of social media serves as an extension of its presence on the Web. Social media account(s) are public and are not hosted on the servers of federal institutions. Users who choose to interact with us via social media should read the terms of service and privacy policies of these third-party service providers and those of any applications you use to access them. The OPC uses Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and WordPress for its blog.

Personal information that you provide to federal institutions including the OPC via social media account(s) is collected to capture conversations (e.g. questions and answers, comments, retweets) between you and the OPC. It may be used to respond to inquiries, or for statistical, evaluation and reporting purposes. Should the OPC become aware of comments that violate Canadian law, they will be deleted. Such comments may be disclosed to law enforcement authorities. Comments that violate our comment policy will also be deleted. The personal information that you provide directly to the OPC is included in Personal Information Bank PSU 938 Outreach Activities.

Improving your Experience on the OPC's website

Digital Markers (including cookies)

A digital marker is a resource created by the visitors' browser in order to remember certain pieces of information for the Web server to reference during the same or subsequent visit to the website. Examples of digital markers are "cookies" or HTML5 web storage. Some examples of what digital markers do are as follows:

  • they allow a website to recognize a previous visit each time the visitor accesses the site;
  • they track what information is viewed on a site which helps website administrators ensure visitors find what they are looking for.

The OPC uses sessional digital markers on its website. During your on-line visit, your browser exchanges data with the OPC's Web server. Upon ending your session by closing your browser, this digital marker does not remain on your computer. As such, the digital marker used does not allow the OPC to identify individuals upon subsequent visits.

You may adjust your browser settings to reject digital markers, including cookies, if you so choose. Visiting our website with cookies disabled will have no significant impact on your browsing experiences on the OPC site. Please consult your browser's Help Menu for instructions.

Web Analytics

Web analytics is the collection, analysis, measurement, and reporting of data about Web traffic and visits for purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.

When your computer requests an OPC Web page, our institution collects the following types of information for Web analytics using digital markers (as described above):

  • the originating IP address
  • the date and time of the request
  • the type of browser used
  • the page(s) visited

Information used for the purpose of Web analytics is collected by the OPC pursuant to its mandate as outlined within the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Such data may be used to improve the OPC website as well as for communications and information technology statistical purposes, audit, evaluation, research, planning and reporting. For more information on how your privacy is safeguarded in relation to web analytics, see the Standard on Privacy and Web Analytics.

The OPC uses software called Webtrends to conduct Web analytics internally. The information is not disclosed to an external third party service provider. The OPC retains information collected for Web analytics for a maximum period of 12 months. After this period, the information must be disposed of in accordance with the Standard on Privacy and Web Analytics and as authorized by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

Protecting the Security of the OPC Website

The OPC employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. This software receives and records the IP address of the computer that has contacted our website, the date and time of the visit and the pages visited. We make no attempt to link these addresses with the identity of individuals visiting our site unless an attempt to damage the site has been detected.

The information may be shared with appropriate law enforcement authorities if suspected criminal activities are detected. Such information may be used for network security related statistical purposes, audit, evaluation, research, planning and reporting and is included in Personal Information Bank PSU 939 Security Incidents.

Inquiring about these Practices

Any questions, comments, concerns or complaints you may have regarding the administration of the Privacy Act and privacy policies regarding the OPC's Web presence may be directed to our Chief Privacy Officer.  You can contact the Chief Privacy Officer on our toll-free line at 1-800-282-1376, by email at cpo-rpvp@priv.gc.ca, or by postal mail at:

30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1H3

If you are not satisfied with the OPC's response to your privacy concerns, you may wish to contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ad hoc at:

Privacy Commissioner of Canada ad hoc
Suite 229 - 99 Fifth Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 5P5

Providing Content in Our Official Languages

The Official Languages Act, the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations and Treasury Board policy requirements establish when the OPC uses both English and French to provide services to or communicate with members of the public. When there is no obligation to provide these in both official languages, content may be available in one official language only. Information provided by entities not subject to the Official Languages Act is in the language(s) provided. Information provided in a language other than English or French is only for the convenience of our website visitors.

Accommodating Clients with Disabilities

The OPC is committed to ensuring that clients with disabilities have equal access to, and can benefit from, all our public-facing services.

We believe the accommodation process should be as uncomplicated as possible and should respect the dignity and privacy of the client.

We strive to build accommodation for clients with disabilities proactively into our processes and practices. If a client wishes to request accommodation for a disability, they can contact our Information Centre. An Information Officer will either assist the client with making the request or refer the client to the appropriate person.

Examples of accommodation may include, but are not limited to:

  • Modifications in submission/response format
  • Modifications in the parties involved in service delivery
  • Modifications in settings for communication
  • Modifications in presentation format
  • Modifications in scheduling/timing

For more information about the OPC’s approach to creating and maintaining an inclusive and barrier-free environment for the delivery of public-facing services to clients with disabilities, please see our Policy on Accommodating Clients with Disabilities.

Linking to Non-OPC Websites

Links to websites not under the control of the OPC are provided solely for the convenience of our website visitors. The OPC is not responsible for the accuracy, currency or reliability of the content. The OPC does not offer any guarantee in that regard and is not responsible for the information found through these links, nor does it endorse the sites and their content.

Visitors should also be aware that information offered by non-OPC and non-Government of Canada sites to which this website links is not subject to the Privacy Act, the Official Languages Act and may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. The information offered may be available only in the language(s) used by the sites in question. With respect to privacy, visitors should research the privacy policies of these non-Government websites before providing personal information.

Ownership and Usage of Content Provided on This Site

Materials on this website were produced and/or compiled by the OPC for the purpose of providing Canadians with access to information about the programs and services offered by the OPC. You may use and reproduce the materials as follows:

Non-Commercial Reproduction

Unless otherwise specified you may reproduce the materials in whole or in part for non-commercial purposes, and in any format, without charge or further permission, provided you do the following:

  • Exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced;
  • Indicate both the complete title of the materials reproduced, as well as the author (where available); and
  • Indicate that the reproduction is a copy of the version available on the OPC website.

Commercial Reproduction

Unless otherwise specified, you may not reproduce materials on this site, in whole or in part, for the purposes of commercial redistribution without prior written permission from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Some of the content on this site may be subject to the copyright of another party. Where information has been produced or copyright is not held by Government of Canada, the materials are protected under the Copyright Act, and international agreements. Details concerning copyright ownership are indicated on the relevant page(s). To obtain additional information concerning copyright ownership and restrictions, please contact:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1H3
Phone: (819) 994-5444
Toll-free: 1-800-282-1376

Trademark Notice

Official symbols of federal institutions, including the Arms of Canada may not be reproduced, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes, without prior written authorization.

Filing an online privacy complaint

How do we handle your personal information?

If you fill out a complaint form, you provide the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada with personal information. The following Qs and As explain how we handle your personal information.

Why is this information collected?

The information provided in this form is collected in order to allow us to process your complaint. The information is collected under the authority of the Privacy Act or the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), depending on whether your complaint relates to a federal department or institution or a private sector organization.

How will this information be used?

Any personal information we receive from the online complaint form is only provided to those members of our staff who require it in order to respond to your complaint. The information will be used to allow us to process your complaint and administer the Privacy Act or PIPEDA.

The information may also be used for the following purposes:

  • Statistical analyses for reporting and management purposes
  • Reporting to Parliament (for example, the Privacy Commissioner submits annual reports to Parliament which may include select, anonymized case summaries of investigations)
  • Anonymized reports of investigative findings may be published on our website.
  • Conducting audits and identifying and addressing systemic privacy issues
  • Quality control to ensure consistency in the investigative process
  • Training of investigators
  • Research and litigation

If you do not provide all of the required information on this form, our Office will not be able to begin processing your complaint.

Will personal information be disclosed?

Limited personal information will be shared with the organization that is the subject of the complaint.

The OPC does not otherwise disclose the information you provide unless such a disclosure is in accordance with subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act, which is reserved for limited situations. In the case of such a disclosure, the OPC will only disclose the information that is required and, wherever possible, will inform you.

Will I be able to access the information provided? And can I correct any errors?

You have the right to request access to your personal information and also to request corrections if you believe that your personal information is erroneous or incomplete.

Where will the information be stored?

The information will be stored in our Office's complaint processing system in the personal information bank number OPC PPU 005. A description of this and other banks of personal information held by federal government departments and agencies can be found in: Info Source , a public directory which is available online.

The information you submit when filing an online privacy complaint will be encrypted (a secure means of transmission) when it is sent electronically to our Office. It is temporarily stored on the servers hosted by a third party, but is not saved on their hard disks. As soon as the complaint is submitted to our Office, it is deleted from the third-party servers.

How will the information be protected?

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals visiting its Web site. All personal information provided when you fill out the complaint form is protected under the Privacy Act.

The information you submit when filing an online privacy complaint will be encrypted (a secure means of transmission) when it is sent electronically to our Office.

Because we cannot guarantee the security of electronic mail, we do not recommend sending sensitive personal information or complaints via e-mail.

If you are concerned about the confidentiality of information, including your personal information, in transit, you should send it to us by secure means. You can do that by using our secure online complaint form or by sending your documents by mail.

How long will the information be retained?

Information provided in order to file a complaint under PIPEDA is retained for 10 years after a file is completed (including any court action) and then destroyed.

Information provided in order to file a complaint about time delays under the Privacy Act are retained for two years after a file is completed (including any court action) and then destroyed; information provided in order to file all other types of complaints under the Privacy Act are retained for five years after a file is completed and then destroyed.

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

Questions about privacy issues may be directed to our Chief Privacy Officer. You can contact the Chief Privacy Officer on our toll-free line at 1-800-282-1376, by email at cpo-rpvp@priv.gc.ca, or by postal mail at:

30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1H3

For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.

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