This guide is a starting point for finding books, legislation, case law, articles, websites, and other resources for legal research on privacy & access to information.
- Federal Access to Information and Privacy Legislation Annotated by Michel W. Drapeau and Joshua M. Juneau. Table of Contents.
- Fundamentals of Privacy and Freedom of Information in Canada by Michel W. Drapeau & Marc-Aurele Racicot Table of Contents
- Government Information: The Right to Information and the Protection of Privacy in Canada , 2nd ed. by Kris Klein & Denis Kratchanov Table of Contents
- In the Public Eye: Privacy, Personal Information, and High Stakes Litigation in the Canadian Public Sector by Shaun E. Finn, Danielle Miller Olofsson. Table of Contents
- Law of Employee Monitoring in Canada, 2nd ed. by Melanie R Bueckert and Daniel J. Michaluk. Table of Contents
- Law of Employee Use of Technology by Howard Simkevitz & Avner Levin Table of Contents
- Law of Privacy, 3rd ed. by Michael Power Table of Contents
- Law of Privacy in Canada by Barbara McIsaac, Rick Shields, & Kris Klein Table of Contents
- Managing Privacy in a Connected World by Eloise Gratton & Elisa Henry Table of Contents
- Privacy in the Workplace, 4th ed. by Eloise Gratton & Lyndsay Wasser Table of Contents
- Privacy Law in Canada by Colin H. H. McNairn & Alexander K. Scott Table of Contents
- Protection of Privacy in the Canadian Private and Health Sectors by Michel W Drapeau & Marc-Aurele Racicot Table of Contents
- Understanding Personal Information: Managing Privacy Risks by Eloise Gratton Table of Contents
Last revised Feb. 9, 2023
- Annotated Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
- Federal Access to Information and Privacy Legislation Annotated by Michel W Drapeau & Marc-Aurele Racicot Table of Contents
- Government Information: The Right to Information and the Protection of Privacy in Canada, 2nd ed. by Kris Klein & Denis Kratchanov Table of Contents
- Privacy Law in the Private Sector: An Annotation of the Legislation in Canada by Priscilla Platt & Jeffrey Kaufman Table of Contents
Last revised Apr. 6, 2023
Orders and Summaries of Findings
Privacy Commissioner of Alberta
Orders of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) of Alberta (1996- onwards) are available from:
Orders of the OIPC can be judicially reviewed in the Court of King’s Bench. “Judicial review” refers to the power of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta to determine whether the Information and Privacy Commissioner has acted strictly within the powers that have been given to him or her.
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Canada Privacy Commissioner Summaries of Findings (2001 – onwards) are available from:
Findings may be subject to judicial review before the Federal Court. In addition, the Privacy Commissioner may be involved in a review before the Federal Court under section 42 of the Privacy Act, or by applying to appear before the Federal Court in cases where a federal institution has denied an individual access to his or her personal information.
Information Commissioner of Canada
Canada Information Commissioner Investigation Summaries are available from:
- Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada 1991-
The Information Commissioner may be involved in several types of proceedings before Federal Court, including judicial review.
For more information on finding case law see also our research guide: Finding and Researching Cases
Access to Information Act, RSC 1985, cA-1
- came into force July 1,1983
- provides a right of access to information in records under the control of a federal government institution
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, SC 2000, c 5
- sets out ground rules for how private sector organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities
- applies to federal works, undertakings and businesses in respect of employee personal information
- gives individuals the right to access and request correction of the personal information these organizations may have collected about them
- generally, PIPEDA applies to organizations’ commercial activities in all provinces, except organizations that collect, use or disclose personal information entirely within provinces that have their own privacy laws, which have been declared substantially similar to PIPEDA. In such cases, it is the substantially similar provincial law that will apply instead of PIPEDA, although PIPEDA continues to apply to federal works, undertakings or businesses and to interprovincial or international transfers of personal information
Privacy Act, RSC 1985, c P-21
- imposes obligations on federal government departments and agencies to limit the collection, use and disclosure of personal information
- gives individuals the right to access and request correction of personal information about themselves held by these federal government organizations
Federal Acts and Regulations can be found electronically at:
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, RSA 2000, c F-25
- came into force in 1995
- covers public bodies
- sets out individuals’ rights to access records (of any type) that are in the custody or control of a public body (subject to the exceptions as set out in the FOIP Act)
- sets out the timelines and requirements under which a public body must respond to an access request
Health Information Act, RSA 2000, c H-5
- came into force April 25, 2001
- provides individuals with the right to request access to health records in the custody or under the control of custodians
- provides custodians with a framework within which they must conduct the collection, use and disclosure of health information
- also covers the actions of affiliates. Affiliates include employees, volunteers, contractors and agencies under contract to the custodian
Personal Information Protection Act, SA 2003, c P-6.5
- came into force in 2004
- governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by private sector organizations
- allows individuals to request access to their own personal information, including their personal employee information, and to request that personal information be corrected if the accuracy of the information is disputed
- individuals may make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner if they believe their personal information has been collected, used or disclosed without proper authority or without their consent
- personal information in the custody or control of private sector organizations as it relates to commercial transactions or activities is subject to PIPA
- personal employee information is covered by PIPA
- allows the Commissioner to review the decisions of private sector organizations to deny an individual access to their own personal information, or to refuse a request for correction to their own personal information
To access or purchase the official version, go to: Alberta King’s Printer
Canadian Encyclopedic Digest
Some sections relevant to Privacy law include:
- Internet Law
- Privacy and Freedom of Information
Available electronically through: Westlaw Canada
Halsbury's Laws of Canada
This multi-volume set includes coverage of Federal, Provincial & Territorial legislation. It explains the legislation and cases which govern privacy law issues in every jurisdiction in Canada.
Titles related to privacy law include:
Additional information may be found under other topical headings.
Also available electronically through : LexisAdvance Quicklaw
- Index to Canadian Legal Literature (ICLL) available electronically on Westlaw Canada and Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
- Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP) – Available electronically on HeinOnline
Additional full-text articles are available electronically through:
Forms and Precedents
- O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms – Includes many forms related to privacy
- Canadian Forms & Precedents. Commercial Transactions. Sale and Operation of a Business by John Abraham & Jennifer Babe Table of Contents – Also available through Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
- Canadian Forms & Precedents. Commercial Transactions. Intellectual Property Forms by Toni Ashton Table of Contents – Also available through Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
- Canadian Forms & Precedents. Commercial Transactions. Information Technology and Entertainment by Lisa Abe Table of Contents – Also available through Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
- Annotated business agreements by Gregory Harrington Harris & Paul Richard Table of Contents – See IIIB. PRIVACY LAW
- Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Canadian Precedents of Pleadings, 3rd ed. Table of Contents – See Part M, PRIVACY
Last revised June 8, 2023
Words and Phrases
Research into words & phrases judicially defined identifies the interpretation of a word or phrase by the courts. Words & phrases sources typically provide the case citation and a direct quotation of the relevant section from the decision.
Some textbooks have a subject-specific words & phrases section; for example:
- Government Information: the Right to Information and the Protection of Privacy in Canada by Kris Klein & Denis Kratchanov
Contains a section on words & phrases that have been considered in the context of government information and privacy law in Canada.
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC) – provides you with information needed to understand the provincial privacy legislation including FOIP Act, HIA, PIPA and AMVIR. It provides access to Commissioner’s Orders, Investigation Reports and other publications from the OIPC
- Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
- Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
- Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP). Government of Alberta
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can enforce the anti-spam legislation (which came into force July 1, 2014) with respect to two types of conduct:
- the collection of personal information through access to computer systems contrary to an act of parliament;
- electronic address harvesting where bulk email lists are compiled through mechanisms; including the use of computer programs that automatically mine the Internet for addresses.
- Canadian Privacy Law Blog – This blog is written by a Canadian privacy lawyer.
- Michael Geist – Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He blogs on many tech law topics including privacy, spam, and surveillance
- Privacy and IT Law – By Eloise Gratton, a lawyer practicing in Privacy and IT Law. She also teaches at the Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal.
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