F28. How does our registered charity know whether to follow federal or provincial privacy laws?

F28. How does our registered charity know whether to follow federal or provincial privacy laws?

Even where a charity's fundraising does not trigger a requirement that it may comply with privacy laws, other aspects of the charity's work (such as its role as an employer) may impose privacy compliance obligations on it.

Many charities are confused about whether to comply with federal or provincial privacy law. The general rule is set out in the "privacy compliance principle":

If the provincial privacy law has been ruled to be "substantially similar" (such as in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec) to the federal law by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, then the provincial law supercedes the federal law. That is, the registered charity only has to comply with the provincial legislation.

If the provincial law is not considered to be "substantially similar" to PIPEDA, then registered charities operating in that province must comply with both the federal and provincial laws. If a province does not have specific privacy legislation, then registered charities must comply with PIPEDA. National registered charities working across provincial borders will have to address the different laws of each province (as well as the federal restrictions).

More…

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canad - Fact Sheet: The Application of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to Charitable and Non-Profit Organizations.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals reports on relevant Canadian public policy issues.

The Service Alberta site covers privacy legislation; Legislation - Charities and Fundraisers.