Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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Country or territory: Canada (federal)
Organisation: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Chair: Daniel Therrien (since June 5, 2014)
Location/address: 1st floor – 30, rue Victoria
Gatineau, QC
K1A 1H3
Primary contact: Miguel Bernal-Castillero
Email: miguel.bernal-castillero@priv.gc.ca
Number of staff: 203 (172 indeterminate employees)
Year established: 1983
Founding Act or Law: Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-1) – public sector legislation.

Also oversees the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) (S.C. 2000, c. 5) – private sector legislation.

Online profile (website, social media, etc.): Website: priv.gc.ca
Twitter: @PrivacyPrivee
Blog: blog.priv.gc.ca
General description of activities: The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is an Officer of Parliament who reports directly to the House of Commons and the Senate.

The Commissioner is an advocate for the privacy rights of Canadians and his powers include:

  • Investigating complaints, conducting audits and pursuing court action under two federal laws;
  • Publicly reporting on the personal information-handling practices of public and private sector organizations;
  • Responding to inquiries of Parliamentarians, individual Canadians and organizations seeking information and guidance and taking proactive steps to inform them of emerging privacy issues;
  • Supporting, undertaking and publishing research into privacy issues; and
  • Promoting public awareness and understanding of privacy issues.
General description of enforcement actions (powers of investigation, inspection and/or sanction): As a public advocate for the privacy rights of Canadians, the Commissioner carries out the following enforcement activities:

  • Investigating complaints and issuing reports with recommendations to federal government institutions and private sector organizations to remedy situations, as appropriate;
  • Pursuing legal action before Federal Courts where matters remain unresolved;
  • Assessing compliance with obligations contained in the Privacy Act and PIPEDA through the conduct of independent audit and review activities, and publicly report on findings;

Advising on, and review, privacy impact assessments (PIAs) of new and existing government initiatives.

Number of decisions, opinions, recommendations in previous year: Privacy Act (last published results from our 2014-15 Annual Report): 1907 complaints closed.

PIPEDA (last published results from our 2014 Annual Report): 375 complaints closed; 33 findings included public recommendations.

Significant decisions, opinions or recommendations: Privacy Act: 10 summaries of significant decisions for 2014-15, our most recent published results. All published Findings under the Privacy Act are available online.

PIPEDA: for 2016, so far 4 case summaries under PIPEDA. All Findings under PIPEDA available online.

All Annual Reports for previous years are also available online.