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New Private Sector Privacy Legislation for Manitoba

November 21, 2013

By Tamarah Luk and Jennifer McKenzie

In September 2013, Manitoba became the most recent province with privacy legislation governing the collection, use and retention of personal information by private sector entities by passing The Personal Information Protection and Identity Theft Prevention Act (PIPITPA).  British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec each have private sector privacy legislation that has been designated by Canada’s Privacy Commissioner as “substantially similar” to the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  PIPITPA is not yet in force and awaits pronouncement from the Privacy Commissioner as to whether it is “substantially similar”.

PIPITPA contains many similarities to PIPEDA and the other provincial laws, such as requiring consent from an individual before an organization collects, uses or discloses his/her personal information and limiting collection, use or disclosure of personal information to what is reasonable.  However, there are also a number of differences.

One of the main differences between PIPITPA and the other Canadian private sector privacy laws is that it appears to create a lower threshold of requiring an organization to notify an individual if his/her personal information is stolen, lost or accessed in an unauthorized manner than the rest of Canada.  Once the law is passed, notification will be required regardless of the degree of risk of harm unless the organization is satisfied that it is not reasonably possible for the personal information to be used unlawfully, or if law enforcement is investigating and instructs the organization not to disclose.  The breach notification requirement in other provincial laws is only triggered if there is a real risk of significant harm.

PIPITPA also provides for a private right of action for privacy breaches, but does not allow for a complaint procedure to the Manitoba Ombudsman.  It also provides for summary conviction offenses of $100,000 for organizations, which are subject to a due diligence defense.

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Jennifer McKenzie Jennifer McKenzie
B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.
416.957.1628  email Jennifer McKenzie