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Publicly Available Information and PIPEDA

October 01, 2018 posted by Steve Brownstein

In an effort to summarize the general principles that have emerged from court decisions and the Commissioner’s findings to date, the OPC issues Interpretations of certain key concepts in PIPEDA. These Interpretations are not binding legal interpretations, but rather, are intended as a guide for compliance with PIPEDA. As the Commissioner issues more findings, and the courts render more decisions, these Interpretations may evolve and be further refined.
 
The use of public records cithin the Scope of PIPEDA is allowed with or without consent.
 
These exceptions to the PIPEDA  are found:
https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/privacy-laws-in-canada/the-personal-information-protection-and-electronic-documents-act-pipeda/pipeda-compliance-help/pipeda-interpretation-bulletins/interpretations_06_pai/
 
In an effort to summarize the general principles that have emerged from court decisions and the Commissioner’s findings to date, the OPC issues Interpretations of certain key concepts in PIPEDA. These Interpretations are not binding legal interpretations, but rather, are intended as a guide for compliance with PIPEDA. As the Commissioner issues more findings, and the courts render more decisions, these Interpretations may evolve and be further refined.
 
I. Relevant Statutory Provisions
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S.C. 2000, c. 5 (“PIPEDA”)
 
Principle 4.3 of PIPEDA states that the knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate.
 
Section 7(1)(d) of PIPEDA states that for the purpose of clause 4.3 of Schedule 1, an organization may collect personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual if the personal information is publicly available and is specified by the regulations.
 
Section 7(2)(c.1) of PIPEDA states that for the purpose of clause 4.3 of Schedule 1, an organization may use personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual if the personal information is publicly available and is specified by the regulations.
 
Section 7(3)(h.1) of PIPEDA states that for the purpose of clause 4.3 of Schedule 1, an organization may disclose personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual if the personal information is publicly available and is specified by the regulations.
 
Regulations Specifying Publicly Available Information, SOR/2001-7 (13 December, 2000) (“Regulations”)
 
Section 1 of the Regulations state that the following information and classes of information are specified for the purposes of paragraphs 7(1)(d), (2)(c.1) and (3)(h.1) of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act:
 
personal information consisting of the name, address and telephone number of a subscriber that appears in a telephone directory that is available to the public, where the subscriber can refuse to have the personal information appear in the directory;
personal information including the name, title, address and telephone number of an individual that appears in a professional or business directory, listing or notice, that is available to the public, where the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information relates directly to the purpose for which the information appears in the directory, listing or notice;
personal information that appears in a registry collected under a statutory authority and to which a right of public access is authorized by law, where the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information relates directly to the purpose for which the information appears in the registry;
personal information that appears in a record or document of a judicial or quasi-judicial body, that is available to the public, where the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information relate directly to the purpose for which the information appears in the record or document; and
personal information that appears in a publication, including a magazine, book or newspaper, in printed or electronic form, that is available to the public, where the individual has provided the information.

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