How to Create a Privacy Policy

  Creating a privacy policy, and properly implementing it, will reduce the risk of a lawsuit or government sanctions. 


Why Have a Privacy Policy?

Learning how to create a privacy policy, and properly implementing it, will reduce the risk of a lawsuit or government sanctions in Canada. Privacy policies are required by law for companies collecting user data in the course of business.

If you do not have a privacy policy the Privacy Commissioner may pursue you and impose sanctions under the relevant legislation. If you do have a privacy policy which is not implemented properly (i.e. you collect client or user data without their consent, or use it for a purpose they have not consented to), you also risk being sued by the client or user. Take for example the attacks on Facebook in both the United States and Canada.

With consumers becoming more knowledgeable and concerned about their online privacy rights, Canadian companies, particularly those collecting information online, should create an accurate privacy policy which is properly implemented within their organization.

Canadian Privacy Legislation

There is privacy legislation at both the federal and provincial levels in Canada. The main legislation at the federal level is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

PIPEDA applies to all organizations including associations, partnerships, individuals, corporations, trade unions, non-profits and charities which collect, use, or disclose personal information: (a) in the course of commercial activities; or (b) in connection with the operation of a federal work, undertaking or business; or (c) which is disclosed to a third-party or in some cases within the same company across a provincial or national boundary.

Among other things, PIPEDA requires Canadian companies to comply with 10 privacy principles to ensure companies define what information they are collecting from customers/users, why they are collecting it and how customers or users will consent to the use of their personal information. The principles every privacy policy must account for are:

Principle 1 – Accountability An organization is responsible for personal information under its control and shall designate an individual or individuals who are accountable for the organization’s compliance with the following principles.

Principle 2 – Identifying Purposes The purposes for which personal information is collected shall be identified by the organization at or before the time the information is collected.
Principle 3 – Consent The knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate.
Principle 4 – Limiting Collection The collection of personal information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by the organization. Information shall be collected by fair and lawful means.
Principle 5 – Limiting Use, Disclosure, and Retention Personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal information shall be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfilment of those purposes.
Principle 6 – Accuracy Personal information shall be as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.
Principle 7 – Safeguards Personal information shall be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.
Principle 8 – Openness An organization shall make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.
Principle 9 – Individual Access Upon request, an individual shall be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

Principle 10 – Challenging Compliance An individual shall be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the designated individual or individuals accountable for the organization’s compliance.


Creating a Privacy Policy with Wires Law