PIPA is the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act. PIPEDA is the federal version. How do I know which ones apply to me?
Canada’s PIPEDA is the federal legislation that governs the collection, use, and disclosures of personal information by private sector organizations in all provinces except those with substantially similar privacy legislation. Alberta’s PIPA has been deemed substantially similar to PIPEDA, so PIPEDA does not apply in Alberta.
Once information sharing becomes national or inter-provincial, other legislation may take effect. Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada provides more information if required.
I hear a lot about data sharing. Is that different than information sharing?
Typically, data sharing is the sharing of anonymous, or aggregated data. Examples include statistics generated by nonprofits (e.g. 1000 meals served in July), or the formal sharing of anonymized data between agencies. Unless the information was collected under the HIA, privacy legislation no longer applies when personal information is no longer identifying or potentially-identifying.
Information sharing often refers to the sharing of private, confidential, client-level data with an individual or organization.
Where can I find out more detailed information?
Does the Canadian Privacy Act apply to my nonprofit organization?
No. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada notes that:
The Privacy Act relates to a person’s right to access and correct personal information that the Government of Canada holds about them. The Act also applies to the Government’s collection, use, and disclosure of personal information in the course of providing services such as:
- old age security pensions
- employment insurance
- border security
- federal policing and public safety
- tax collection and refunds.
The Canadian Privacy Act only applies to federal government institutions listed in the
Privacy Act Schedule of Institutions. It applies to all of the personal information that the federal government collects, uses, and discloses. This includes personal information about federal employees. Find out more here.