Language selection


The Privacy Act legislation and regulations

About this legislation

The Privacy Act governs how the federal government handles personal information that it collects, uses or discloses from the general public and its own employees.

The Act gives all individuals, whether they are inside or outside Canada, the right to request access to their personal information held by federal government institutions and request corrections to it.


The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees compliance with the Act.

Individuals may complain to us about any issue described in section 29 of the Act. Some examples are:

  • being denied access to your personal information
  • receiving information that is not in the requested official language of Canada
  • experiencing delays in receiving information

The Commissioner may also personally initiate a complaint against a federal institution or organization covered by the Act.

Related acts and legislation

Related topics

Read the legislation

Privacy Act - R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21

This is an Act to extend the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals and that provide individuals with a right of access to personal information about themselves.

Read the full version of the Privacy Act (last amended 2018-12-13).

Regulations under this Act
Legislative change and review

The Act was introduced in 1983 and has not been substantially updated since then.

The OPC contributes to the reviews and makes recommendations on the Privacy Act. The OPC has continually urged the Government to update the Act to ensure that it adequately protects Canadians’ rights in an increasingly complex environment.

Date modified: