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Do Community Groups Need Consent to Share Personal Information?

Last updated on December 1, 2021

Robin writes us asking whether community groups need consent to share personal information.

Question 1

Hello,

Can information be shared among different departments within the same organization without contravening privacy laws? I don’t see this specific question answered anywhere.

Thank you!

—Robin

Answer

Hi Robin,

A community group needs your consent to share personal information (e.g. contact information) if it is located in BC, Alberta, or Quebec.

The privacy legislation in those three provinces applies to all organizations whenever they collect, use, or disclose personal information. These non-profit organizations include charities, clubs, amateur sport associations, religious organizations, and community groups like theatre and dance class.

If you are not located in those three provinces, there is no private-sector privacy legislation that will apply. PIPEDA is Canada’s federal privacy legislation, but it only applies to an organization if it is engaged in commercial activities.

Assuming you are located in BC, Alberta, or Quebec, chances are that the community group you belong to shared your contact information because it thought it may be in the best interest of the group. They would also be unlikely to know that privacy laws apply to their operations.

A simple message to the offending individual (e.g. group administrator) stating that you would like your privacy and that of the group’s to be respected will likely prevent the same occurence from happening in the future.

Best,
—M.G.

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