Written by Martin P.J. Kratz
One of the clouds of uncertainty facing Alberta and British Columbia businesses is understanding when the provincial Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) or the federal privacy legislation applies to a privacy matter.
While Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), like BC's PIPA, are validly enacted legislation and in force in each province, the complication is that the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) also purports to apply to private sector entities in BC and Alberta (unless ruled "substantially similar") by the federal government. Without commenting on the validity or appropriateness of such a process, currently some confusion does exist as businesses are, on the face of it, subject to two legislative systems—PIPA and PIPEDA.
The Organizations in the Province of Alberta Exemption Order dated March 30, 2004, and published in the Canada Gazette, April 10, 2004 for public comment to April 25, was made pursuant to section 26(2)(b) of the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and, provides:
An organization, other than a federal work, undertaking or business, to which the Personal Information Protection Act, S.A. 2003, c. P-6.5, of the Province of Alberta, applies is exempt from the application of Part 1 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, in respect of the collection, use and disclosure of personal information that occurs within the Province of Alberta.
A similar order was published for British Columbia's PIPA.
Note that if this is the final form of the order, then this exemption would exclude the applicability of PIPEDA in Alberta if PIPA applies and if the collection, use and disclosure activity occurs within the applicable province. Any complaints that result from a federal undertaking will continue to be monitored and regulated by the Federal Privacy Commissioner. However, as of mid August 2004, the final order has not been published.