Privacy and Access to Information

People are increasingly aware of the value and vulnerability of their personal information. Privacy involves both the right to have that personal information handled with care and the responsibility of a person to protect their information. At the same time, there is a demand that governments and their agencies be open and accountable; therefore the public should be able to see and make corrections to public records. The resources below can help you to understand the laws that deal with these issues and to learn about how to protect your privacy.

The resources on this page were hand-picked by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta's staff as a good place to start.

You may also find helpful resources listed under these legal topics: Privacy, Freedom of informationInternet safety

CPLEA Suggested Resources

Not sure where to begin finding answers to your questions. Get started with our suggested resources. See additional resources below for more information.

This resource is provided by Canadian Legal FAQs, a website of the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

Related legal topic(s): Freedom of information

Alberta Resources

This website provides information to help public bodies comply with Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP Act). Public bodies include all provincial government departments, agencies, boards and commissions. It also includes local public bodies such as municipalities, universities, school boards and others.
Related legal topic(s): Freedom of information, Privacy

In Alberta each government department is required to have a directory of personal information banks (PIBs) and make it available to the public. A personal information bank lists the type of personal information held by a public body. A personal information bank does not provide direct access to an individual’s records. For further information check out this page.

Related legal topic(s): Freedom of information, Privacy

When someone uses personal information such as your name, Social Insurance number (SIN), credit card number or other identifying information without your knowledge or permission, it is identity theft and it is a crime. This tipsheet provides information on: how businesses and community groups can raise awarenes of identity theft, how to protect your identity when you are away from home, and how to report ID theft.

Related legal topic(s): Consumer protection and fraud, Internet safety, Privacy

This site contains a variety of information pertaining to the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act, the Health Information Act (HIA), the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), the Access to Motor Vehicle Information Regulation (AMVIR) and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC). The site also provides access to Commissioner’s Orders, Investigation Reports and other publications from the Office. The "Contact Us" section offers information about how to initiate a review or investigation under any of these Acts.

Related legal topic(s): Freedom of information, Privacy

Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) is Alberta’s private sector privacy law. PIPA applies to provincial private sector organizations, businesses and, in some instances, to non-profit organizations for the protection of personal information and to provide a right of access to an individual’s own personal information.Organizations that are subject to PIPA must develop and follow policies that are reasonable to meet its obligations under the Act. When PIPA refers to any thing or any matter as 'reasonable,' it is that which a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.For public bodies, such as government departments and municipalities, please see information provided on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act website.
Related legal topic(s): Freedom of information, Privacy

This tipsheet was prepared by the Alberta Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner to help landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities under the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA)

Related legal topic(s):

Depending on the specific situation, there are several different pieces of privacy legislation that may apply in Alberta. This pamphlet by Student Legal Services of Edmonton looks at the general types of rights covered under FOIP and PIPA, but the exact rules under each may vary.

Related legal topic(s): Freedom of information, Privacy


The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has created this graphic novel to help young Canadians to better understand and navigate privacy issues in the online world. The 12-page graphic novel– is designed to appeal to tweens and younger teens. The novel was developed with feedback from young people, it tells the story of a brother and sister who learn (sometimes the hard way) about the privacy risks related to social networking, mobile devices and texting, and online gaming.To accompany the graphic novel, they have also developed a discussion guide that educators can use to generate further discussion and learning.

Related legal topic(s): Classroom materials, Internet safety, Privacy

The information presented here is intended to provide the user with resources related to Canadian laws and policies dealing with access to information and privacy, with a particular emphasis on the federal Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.
Related legal topic(s): Freedom of information, Privacy

This guide was design for parents to prepare them for the conversations they may need to have with their kids when they first start using digital devices, as they grow and their online activities change, and when things go wrong. The guide is divided into three sections that each deal with a different aspect of digital citizenship:  Respect People's Feelings, to Respect Privacy and to Respect Property online.

Related legal topic(s): Citizenship and nationality, Human rights, Internet safety, Privacy

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has re-launched an online guide about privacy rights related to electronic devices – such as laptops, cellphones, and tablets – at the border. It’s aimed at people crossing the border into Canada or departing for the U.S. through preclearance areas in Canada. It is available in English in both a short guide and a full guide and available in French, Mandarin, Punjabi, Tagalog, Spanish and Arabic.

Related legal topic(s): Privacy

The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) gives consumers a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls. If you are a consumer you can choose to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive by registering your residential, wireless, fax or VoIP telephone number on the National DNCL. You can also file a complaint about telemarketing calls. Call toll-free 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625)

Related legal topic(s): Communications and media, Consumer protection and fraud, Privacy

The Commissioner is an advocate for the privacy rights of Canadians and her powers include: Investigating complaints, conducting audits and pursuing court action under two federal laws - Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA); Publicly reporting on the personal information-handling practices of public and private sector organizations; Supporting, undertaking and publishing research into privacy issues; and Promoting public awareness and understanding of privacy issues.

Related legal topic(s): Advocacy, Freedom of information, Privacy

This publication prepared by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is intended to provide readers with a general overview of the ten principles included in the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and how these principles affect associations and non-profit organizations (PDF - 10 pages).

Related legal topic(s): Business, Freedom of information, Non-profit and charity law, Privacy

Facts about internet privacy and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Suggests methods of increasing your privacy for internet use, newsgroups and email.

Related legal topic(s): Internet safety, Privacy

The focus of this web site from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is to help kids understand how technology affects their privacy, and what they can do to build secure online profiles while keeping their information safe. Includes teacher resources.

Related legal topic(s): Internet safety, Privacy