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File a complaint under PIPEDA

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) sets ground rules for how organizations may collect, use or disclose your personal information in the course of commercial activities.

If you think an organization covered by the Act is not living up to its responsibilities under the law, you have the right to file an official complaint.

Steps to take before filing a complaint

1. Check whether the organization is subject to PIPEDA

PIPEDA applies to many private-sector organizations in Canada, but not all.

For example, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec have adopted private-sector legislation that has been deemed substantially similar to PIPEDA. These acts may apply if the information is collected, used and disclosed entirely within the province.

It should be noted that PIPEDA does not apply to organizations that are not engaged in commercial activity. As such, it does not generally apply to not-for-profit and charity groups, associations or political parties, for example—unless the organization is conducting a commercial activity (fundraising is not considered a commercial activity).

You can find more information about the application of PIPEDA in our Overview of Privacy Legislation of Canada or on our web page about PIPEDA.

If PIPEDA does not apply to your situation, try our tool designed to help you determine which organization may be best suited to help you.

2. Provide the organization with an opportunity to address your concern

We would encourage you to try to resolve the concern directly with the organization before filing a complaint.  Many issues can be quickly and effectively addressed if they are raised directly with an organization.

We have developed a resource to help individuals trying to resolve privacy matters: Tips for Raising Your Privacy Concern with a Business.

3. Learn about how the complaint process works

See our guide: What happens when you file a complaint under PIPEDA

You may also call our Office, toll-free at 1-800-282-1376. One of our Information Officers can answer questions you may have about our complaints process.

Other information you should know before filing a complaint

  • There is no charge for filing a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and you do not need to hire special advisors to help you with the process.
  • The personal information you provide on our complaint form is protected under the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.  Please note that your name and the details of your complaint will be shared with the organization that is the subject of the complaint.
  • The OPC is committed to ensuring that clients with disabilities have equal access to, and can benefit from, all our public-facing services. If you require accommodation for a disability to help you file a complaint, please contact our Information Centre. An Information Officer will either assist you in making your request or refer you to the appropriate person.
  • If you are filing a complaint on behalf of someone else, you will need written authorization from that person, indicated on the OPC Authorization form.

If you have reviewed the information above and would like to proceed with filing a complaint, please choose one of the options below.

Complaints help

The following list offers links to information that may be helpful to individuals interested in filing a privacy complaint about a business.

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