Canada’s new data breach law, The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”), took effect on November 1. Official guidance released by the country’s Privacy Commissioner explains a few of the law’s key provisions that will affect organizations, specifically, breach reporting and notification obligations, their triggers, and record retention.

Reporting & Notification Obligations

Under the new law, an organization must report and notify individuals of a data breach involving personal information under its control if it reasonably determines the breach creates a “real risk of significant harm” to an individual, regardless of the number of individuals affected. (The guidance states a covered breach that affects only one individual would nonetheless require reporting and notification.) Importantly, the organization that controls the data is required to report and notify individuals of the breach—the guidance clarifies that even when an organization has transferred data to a third-party processor, the organization remains ultimately responsible for reporting and notification. The guidance encourages organizations to mitigate their risk in the event their third-party processor faces a breach by entering sufficient contractual arrangements.

Notification to individuals must be given “as soon as feasible” after the organization has determined a covered breach has occurred. The guidance states the notification must be conspicuous, understandable, and given directly to the individual in most circumstances. It must include enough information to communicate the significance of the breach and allow the those affected to take any steps possible to reduce their risk of harm. The regulations further specify the information a notification must include. In certain circumstances, organizations are also required to notify governmental institutions or organizations of a covered breach; for example, an organization may be required to notify law enforcement if it believes it may be able to reduce the risk of harm.

Continue Reading Canadian Privacy Commissioner Releases Official Guidance as Data Breach Law Takes Effect

On June 18, 2015, the Canadian Parliament passed the Digital Privacy Act (DPA), Senate Bill S-4, into law.  The DPA amends Canada’s federal data protection statute, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in important respects, including introducing a new data breach notification requirement (which is not yet in force) and making other material changes to PIPEDA.  This post summarizes key changes to PIPEDA brought about by the DPA.
Continue Reading Highlights of the Canada Digital Privacy Act 2015

Last week, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in Canada (OPC) issued important guidance under Canada’s national privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  The guidance highlights various scenarios in which PIPEDA applies based on judicial opinions and previous OPC interpretations.  In general, PIPEDA applies to the personal information that an

On December 20, 2010, the Federal Court of Canada fined consumer credit agency TransUnion of Canada Inc. under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  TransUnion was ordered to pay approximately $5,000 to a consumer who was unable to secure a loan after TransUnion reported inaccurate credit information to his bank. 

The negative information