Canada: Manitoba Joins The Ranks Of Other Provinces In Enacting Its Own Private Sector Privacy Legislation

The Government of Manitoba recently enacted the Personal Information Protection and Identity Theft Prevention Act (PIPITPA) to regulate the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by the private sector in Manitoba.1The statute has not come into force, but this enactment is momentous, as it will enable Manitoba to join the ranks of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, which all have their own private sector privacy legislation that is "substantially similar" to the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).2 Manitoba is also the first province to move in this direction with an all-encompassing private sector law since 2004.


This significant moment in privacy law in Canada cannot escape a historic parallel. Despite its title, the PIPITPA is almost identical to the 2009 version of Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act (2009 Alberta PIPA), with word-for-word similarities in many places.3 Similar to the 2009 Alberta PIPA, the PIPITPA is organized by divisions of purpose, protection, access and care, regulation, as well as general provisions. The key differences are that the Alberta legislation takes a different approach on breach notification and on the role of the Privacy Commissioner. Accordingly, many of the experiences under the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act (Alberta PIPA)4 will help guide organizations in Manitoba as to their risks and obligations. Likewise, the case law in Alberta should guide Manitoba courts whenever privacy litigation arises.5

This article will focus on how these two statutes compare and provide commentary on what organizations can do to prepare for the coming into force of the PIPITPA.

Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Data

Similar to the federal and provincial privacy legislations, the PIPITPA defines "personal information" very broadly as information about an identifiable individual. As a general rule, but with limited exceptions, consent must be obtained from an individual prior to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information relating to that individual. Alberta courts have taken a common-sense approach to this key definition, but their holdings are under challenge in an appeal on reserve at the Supreme Court of Canada.6

1. Consent

Consent must be "informed consent," which means that the individual must have knowledge of what he or she is consenting to, and it must be provided at the time of collection.7 To ensure informed consent is obtained, organizations will need to clearly state the purposes for the collection, use and disclosure.

Once consent is given, the organization may only collect, use or disclose the information to the extent that it is reasonable for meeting the purposes for which it stated.8 Further, the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information must be necessary for the purposes stated.9

2. Exceptions to Consent

As noted above, similar to Alberta and British Columbia's privacy statutes, the PIPITPA provides specific exceptions to the general rule requiring consent for information collected, used and disclosed.

One such exception is the business transactions exception. The PIPITPA follows the 2009 Alberta PIPA10 and the British Columbia Personal Information Protection Act (British Columbia PIPA)11 and defines business transactions broadly to include any purchase, sale, lease, merger, amalgamation, acquisition or disposal of an organization, portion of an organization, security interest or asset of an organization.12

The PIPITPA business transactions exception adopts the 2009 Alberta PIPA provisions and allows for the exchange of personal information that may be necessary to determine whether to proceed with, carry out or complete a business transaction. This exception allows for fairly broad disclosure of information related to identifiable individuals, but is conditional on the parties entering into a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement.13

3. Personal Employee Information

The PIPITPA has also adopted the exception to personal employee information. Similar to the respective privacy legislation in Alberta and in British Columbia, the PIPITPA permits private organizations in Manitoba to collect, use and disclose personal employee information without consent for reasonable purposes related to the recruitment, management or termination of the employment relationship.14 However, it should be noted that activities unrelated to recruitment, management or termination may require the employee's consent.15

4. Outsourcing to a Service Provider

Similar to the federal and provincial privacy legislation, the PIPITPA requires the organization to continue to be responsible to ensure service providers that its engagements are in compliance with the PIPITPA.16Thus, organizations should ensure they review their service contracts with third parties and that the contract contemplates legal obligations with respect to the PIPITPA.

Access to Personal Information

Both the 2009 Alberta PIPA and the PIPITPA allow access to personal information on request of an individual subject to various restrictions including: if the disclosure would reveal confidential information of commercial nature; if collection was collected for investigation or legal purposes; if that type of information is no longer provided to the organization; if the security or safety of an individual is at jeopardy; if another individual's personal information would be revealed as a result and, finally, if there is no consent.17 It is important to note that information can be severed or corrected.18

Accurate and Complete Personal Information

An organization must make reasonable effort to ensure that any personal information that is collected, used or disclosed is accurate and complete.19

Breach Notification

A significant difference in the PIPITPA, compared to the 2009 Alberta PIPA, is that the PIPITPA contains a breach notification provision. Under the PIPITPA, an organization is obligated to notify the individual directly if personal information is lost, accessed or disclosed without authorization. This obligation does not apply where a law enforcement agency is investigating.20

This is different than the mandatory privacy breach notification required under the current Alberta PIPA. Under the Alberta PIPA, organizations are required to first notify the province's Privacy Commissioner, and not the individual, if personal information under the organization's control is lost, accessed or disclosed without authorization or has in any way suffered a privacy breach. The Privacy Commissioner makes the decisions as to whether the organization is required to notify the individuals of the breach.21

Further, unlike the mandatory breach notification under the Alberta PIPA, where the notification requirement is only triggered if the harm threshold is met, which is defined as "where a reasonable person would consider that there exists a real risk of significant harm to an individual,"22 the PIPITPA does not have a harm threshold. This seems to suggest that all breaches can trigger notification.

The PIPITPA also creates a right of action for an individual against an organization for damages arising from its failure to: a) protect personal information that is in its custody or control or b) provide reasonable notice if the organization was not satisfied that the lost, stolen or accessed information would be used lawfully. Unlike the Alberta PIPA, the PIPITPA does not require notification to individuals before transferring personal information to foreign service providers.

Retention of Information

An organization may retain personal information for legal or business purposes as long as it is reasonable and consent has not been withdrawn or varied. This section is identical in both the 2009 Alberta PIPA and the PIPITPA.


The PIPITPA, similar to the 2009 Alberta PIPA, contains a division on professional regulatory and non-profit organizations. The 2009 Alberta PIPA contained an entire division on the role and power of the Privacy Commissioner, which included the restrictions and entitlements of the position, including reviews and orders. Manitoba does not have a Privacy Commissioner and, for most duties that require this position, the PIPITPA has assigned the role to the Ombudsman. Currently, the Manitoba Ombudsman is responsible for upholding access to information and privacy rights by investigating complaints and reviewing compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Act.

However, since the PIPITPA creates a private right of action for damages relating to the failure to protect personal information, or the failure to provide notice of a material breach, it is possible that private litigation will wield an equally if not more significant influence compared to the Ombudsman's activities.


Once the PIPITPA comes into force, there may be a brief transitional period in which both it and the PIPEDA apply to activities with a connection to Manitoba. This transitional period would end when the Governor in Council enacts a regulation deeming the PIPITPA to be "substantially similar" to Part I of the PIPEDA. Thereafter, organizations will be exempted from the application of the PIPEDA in respect of the collection, use or disclosure of personal information that occurs within Manitoba, but will remain subject to the PIPEDA or other provincial privacy laws in terms of any collection, use or disclosure that crosses borders. Thus, it is important to avoid assuming that the PIPITPA will be the final word onmeasure taken regarding privacy issues with a Manitoba connection.

Tips for Businesses

In response to this new Act, organizations operating in Manitoba should:

  • designate a privacy officer to ensure compliance under the PIPITPA;
  • ensure consent has been obtained prior to collecting, using or disclosing any personal information;
  • identify the purposes for the collection, use and disclosure, and limit collection, use and disclosure to those purposes;
  • ensure that any collection, use, and disclosure of personal information is reasonably needed to carry out the purposes required;
  • develop, implement and review current privacy policies to ensure compliance with the PIPITPA;
  • train employees to ensure they understand the organization's responsibilities and obligations under the PIPITPA;
  • use reasonable safeguards to protect personal information from theft, modification, and unauthorized access;
  • only keep personal information for as long as reasonable to carry out the business or legal purpose;
  • destroy or anonymize records containing personal information once the information is no longer needed.
  • take reasonable steps to ensure personal information is accurate and complete to the extent necessary, and not misleading;
  • develop an access and complaint-handling procedure;
  • review and revise all service contracts and ensure the contracts require the contactor to provide a comparable level of protection; and
  • appreciate that compliance with the PIPEDA or other privacy statutes will remain necessary for collection, use or disclosure of personal information that takes place outside Manitoba.


1 Personal Information Protection and Identity Theft Prevention Act, CCSM c P-33.7.

2 Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S.C. 2000, c.5.

3 Personal Information Protection Act, SA 2003, 2005-2009, c. P-6.5 [hereinafter "2009 Alberta PIPA"].

4 Personal Information Protection Act, SA 2003, c P-6.5, as amended [hereinafter "Alberta PIPA"].

5 The structure and objectives of the BC PIPA are also very similar, and may provide guidance as to risks and obligations as well.

6 See United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 v Alberta (Attorney General), 2012 ABCA 130 at para. 77, appeal at Supreme Court heard June 11, 2013; Leon's Furniture Ltd. v Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2011 ABCA 94 at paras. 46-65.

7 PIPITPA, at s. 7(1).

8 PIPITPA at s. 8(4).

9 PIPITPA at s. 7(2).

10 2009 Alberta PIPA at s. 22.

11 BC PIPA at s. 20.

12 PIPITPA at s. 22(1).

13 PIPITPA at s. 22(3).

14 PIPITPA at s. 15(1).

15 PIPITPA at s. 15(3).

16 PIPITPA at s. 5(2).

17 PIPITPA at s. 24(2).

18 PIPITPA at s .24(4) and 25(2).

19 PIPITPA at s. 33.

20 PIPITPA at s. 34.

21 Alberta PIPA at s.34(1).

22 Alberta PIPA at s. 37.1.

23 PIPITPA at s. 34 (4).

24 PIPITPA at s. 35.

To view original article, please click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.