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

Last Updated: October 8 2013
Article by Daniel G. C. Glover and Roland Hung

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2018

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lawson Lundell LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lawson Lundell LLP
Related Articles
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions