The Privacy Act
Privacy issues in the public sector are being addressed by government. The Privacy Act regulates the use of information by government departments and federal agencies giving individuals the right to access and request correction of personal information about themselves held by these federal government organizations.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) with the exception of Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia since they have provincially similar legislation and thus have opted out.
The Act not only applies to ground rules for how private sector organizations such as banks, airlines, and telecommunications companies may collect, use or disclose personal information collected, used or disclosed by the retail sector, publishing companies, the service industry, manufacturers and other provincially regulated organizations.
The law gives individuals the right to access and request correction of the personal information these organizations may have collected about them.
Provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have passed legislation to deal specifically with the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information by health care providers and other health care organizations.
(Similar to PIPEDA) http://www.nymity.com/bc_pipa_reference.asp for the B.C. Privacy Office. Companies will be required to maintain a reasonable standard of care in protecting personal information, requiring private companies to protect personal information of customers and employees and sets out remedies available to individuals affected, including penalties and lawsuits.
The company will be required to appoint or designate an individual to be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act. Although specific fines are not set out, where there has been a violation, the individual has the right to sue the individual or company or both for damages.
The Privacy Legislation Common Thread
The company/employer must make alll efforts to protect personal information, and if they fail to make the standards required, they are open to civil action.