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PIPEDA – All You Need To Know

Last updated on January 30, 2016

What is PIPEDA?

PIPEDA, also known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, is Canada’s federal privacy law for the private sector and applies to personal information collected during the course of commercial activities.

Commercial activities are defined as any transaction, act, or conduct that is commercial in nature, such as selling, buying, or leasing.

Who Does PIPEDA Apply to?

PIPEDA applies to organizations that are federally regulated and fall under the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada, such as the telecommunications and broadcasting industry, and all local businesses in Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories.

PIPEDA also applies to the private sector of each province unless a province has enacted its own privacy law that is substantially similar to PIPEDA. Only British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec have privacy laws that have been deemed to be “substantially similar” to PIPEDA.

However, even if an organization is located in BC, Alberta, or Quebec, if in the course of a commercial activity personal information crosses borders, PIPEDA may apply to that information.

The 10 Privacy Principles of PIPEDA

All organizations subject to PIPEDA must follow a code for the protection of personal information which consists of ten privacy principles. These principles are called the 10 Privacy Principles of PIPEDA.


Many organizations are worried about exporting the personal information under their control to the U.S. for fears that the information may be easily accessible under the US PATRIOT Act.

But unbeknownst to the many, PIPEDA actually contains provisions that make it equivalent to the PATRIOT Act.

PIPEDA For Individuals

As an individual, you should start by knowing Your Privacy Rights under PIPEDA. Then learn How to Request Access to Personal Information under PIPEDA.

PIPEDA For Businesses

As a business, you should seek to understand the 10 Privacy Principles of PIPEDA — the heart of PIPEDA.

PIPEDA in Full Text

Read the full text of PIPEDA.