Advisory services for federal public sector institutions
Federal public sector institutions can get practical advice and guidance from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) to help design programs and services so that Canadians may enjoy the benefits of innovation without undue risk to their privacy.
We support institutions’ efforts to comply with the Privacy Act, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) policies and privacy best practices. Find out how we can work together to proactively identify and address privacy issues.
Federal public sector institutions can request a consultation with the OPC’s Government Advisory Directorate to obtain advice and guidance on programs or activities that may have an impact on privacy. We can help you identify privacy risks and give you advice on how to proactively address them. We also offer advice on good practices for managing personal information.
We recommend that institutions contact us before starting new programs or activities. By engaging with us early, we can provide input when the activity is still being developed. This gives you time to make changes when privacy risks are identified. We are also happy to engage and to answer questions throughout the lifecycle of your initiatives.
Our team helps support institutions in managing risks to privacy by reviewing the following:
- privacy impact assessments (PIAs)
- information-sharing agreements (ISAs) and memoranda of understanding (MOUs)
- notifications of disclosures made in the public interest under section 8(2)(m) of the Privacy Act and notifications of new consistent uses under section 9(4) of the Act
- notifications of planned initiatives that may have an impact on the privacy of Canadians in line with section 4.2.12 of the TBS Policy on Privacy Protection
We recommend that you contact us before formally signing an information-sharing agreement or MOU so we can review and provide recommendations on the draft document. However, we are only able to review the final and approved version of PIAs.
The Government Advisory Directorate offers outreach sessions to the federal public sector to encourage compliance with the Privacy Act. Our information sessions cover common privacy-related topics, such as how to do a PIA or create an ISA. We can also help you address the impacts of artificial intelligence and automated decision-making, biometrics, and other issues.
Please note, GA is currently updating its outreach program. Outreach will next be offered in fiscal year 2023-2024.
What’s in it for federal institutions?
Working with the Government Advisory Directorate of the OPC helps federal institutions:
- fulfil their obligations under the Privacy Act, TBS policies, and adopt privacy best practices
- reduce privacy risks
- build and maintain Canadians’ trust and confidence
- limit the risk of complaints, external intervention or bad press
Federal institutions are welcome to email the OPC’s Government Advisory team at SCG-GA@priv.gc.ca to:
- ask privacy-related questions
- arrange a consultation or an outreach session
- submit a PIA, ISA, or notifications to our office
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