Canada: Privacy Primer: 5 Things Businesses Need To Do Now To Comply With PIPEDA


Uber. Equifax. Yahoo. Hardly a month went by in 2017 without news of yet another major privacy breach at a multi-national corporation. Sensitive personal information of an estimated one billion-plus customers landed in the hands of hackers, subjecting those customers to potentially serious consequences, including identity theft. Although investigations into the breaches continue, the damage is already done: customers have lost their trust, corporate reputations suffered a black eye and some organizations may face criminal charges.

If you think data breaches befall only large companies, think again. The reality is no company is immune to the mishandling of customer personal information – whether that vulnerability comes from external threats like cybercriminals or from human error within the company's own walls. It is likely not a matter of if it will happen to your business, but when.

To prevent your business from becoming the latest headline and subject to the scrutiny of government regulators, become informed about the privacy legislation that governs the conduct of Ontario businesses, how to comply with it and a significant legislative change that is around the corner.

Legislative Framework

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is a federal law that establishes rules for how businesses collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of their commercial activities. It also provides standards that businesses must meet to safeguard personal information. PIPEDA currently applies to private-sector businesses in Ontario.

In 2015, the federal government amended PIPEDA. The changes require businesses to notify individuals of a breach involving their personal information and to report the breach to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC). While these mandatory breach reporting requirements are set out in PIPEDA, they won't come into force until the government passes regulations with details of the reporting requirements. This past fall, the government released draft breach reporting regulations for a 30-day public comment period.

Proposed Corporate Obligations under the Draft Regulations  

The draft federal regulations include requirements that a business must:

  1. report to the OPC any breach of security safeguards involving personal information under its control if the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual;
  2. notify individuals of loss of, unauthorized access to or unauthorized disclosure of their personal information if the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to the individual;
  3. provide enough details in the notice to the individual to allow the individual to understand the significance of the breach and what steps they can take to reduce the risk of harm;
  4. notify any other organization, including a government institution, if the business believes that the organization or government institution may be able to reduce the risk of harm to the individual; and
  5. keep a record of the breach for a 24-month period after the breach occurred.

The content of both the report and notice are generally the same and must include, among other things, the circumstances of the breach, when it occurred, the personal information exposed by the breach, what the business is doing to reduce the harm to the individual, and who can be contacted at the business for additional information. 

The proposed regulations also require that the report to the OPC (which must be in writing), and notice to affected individuals (which need not be in writing and may be provided indirectly such as on a website), must occur as soon as possible after the breach is discovered.

While we await the finalized regulations, here is a checklist of what your business should do to be compliant now and in the future with PIPEDA. This checklist reflects best practices in accordance with the 10 privacy principles provided in Schedule 1 of PIPEDA.

5 Things You Can Do Now to Protect Your Business and Customers

  1. Designate a Privacy Officer within your organization to be responsible for compliance with PIPEDA and who can respond to inquiries from customers.
  2. Implement the following procedures to protect the personal information of your customers while it is in your possession and when it is transferred to third parties for processing:

    • Explain to customers what personal information you are collecting and for what purpose.
    • Obtain consent at the time of collection; the customer must understand what he/she is consenting to. Consent can be written or oral, but keep proof of the consent.
    • Do not require the collection of personal information as a condition of providing the service.
    • Do not collect more personal information than you need. Limit it to only what you need in order to provide the service.
    • Do not use personal information for purposes other than what it was collected for. If you want to use the personal information for another purpose, get consent.
    • Make sure the personal information you collect is accurate and complete.
    • Do not retain personal information indefinitely; once the information has served its purpose it should be destroyed, erased, or made anonymous.
    • Implement appropriate safeguards in accordance with the sensitivity of the personal information. This can include physical safeguards such as storing the information in locked cabinets with limited access, or can include technological safeguards such as encrypting the information or making it accessible via use of passwords.
  3. Educate your employees about your organization's procedures and the importance of protecting personal information.
  4. Upon request, give individuals access to their personal information.
  5. Implement procedures to deal with a breach. Ensure they include:

    • Immediate steps to take in order to contain the breach.
    • A process to notify those individuals whose personal information was the subject of the breach. The notice must include the steps you are taking to contain it, your complaint procedure and their right to make a complaint to the OPC.
    • Assigning an internal team responsible for investigating the breach.
    • An assessment of procedures to ensure they are reasonably sufficient to prevent further breaches. 
    • A process to document details of the breach. Retain these records for at least 2 years after the breach is identified.

Pallett Valo Privacy Law Practice 

Privacy and data protection are very important considerations for both private and public sector organizations. At Pallett Valo LLP, our Privacy Law Group advises and supports private sector organizations to comply with their obligations under both federal and provincial laws including the: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Personal Health Informatino Protection Act, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and Digital Privacy Act. We assist out clients in developing privacy policies and practices to meet strategic business needds and to ensure compliance with privacy legislation. 

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
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
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