Website terms and conditions of use
Revised: July 2019
On this page
- Your privacy and our website
- What personal information do we collect?
- Why we collect personal information
- Who sees your personal information?
- How we protect your personal information
- Inquiring about these practices
- Social media
- Linking to non-OPC websites
- Providing content in our official languages
- Our commitment to accessibility
- Accommodating clients with disabilities
- Ownership and usage of content provided on this site
- Who can I contact if I have any questions about this website?
Your privacy and our website
What personal information do we collect?
Web servers automatically collect certain information about a visit to a website, including the visitor's Internet Protocol (IP) address. IP addresses are unique numbers assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISP) to all devices used to access the Internet. Web servers automatically log the IP addresses of visitors to their sites. The IP address, on its own, may not identify an individual. However, in certain circumstances, it could be used to identify an individual using the site. For this reason, we consider the IP address to be personal information, particularly when combined with other data automatically collected when a visitor requests a web page. This information can include the name of the page you visited and the date and time of your visit.
Unless otherwise noted, we do not automatically gather any specific personal information from you. The only way we would get this information is if you give it to us, for example, via one of our online forms. We have forms on our site to help you interact with our office – for example, to send us an enquiry, to tell us about a privacy issue, or to make a formal complaint. We only ask for the information that we need to address your request. Our Online Complaint Form asks for more detailed personal information. As such, it has its own online complaint form’s privacy statement.
Why we collect your personal information
In the course of providing online services to Canadians through our website, we collect personal information for certain purposes. We use digital markers and web analytics to improve our site. We offer a number of online tools, such as forms for enquiries or complaints, to deliver our services. We also use certain software to ensure the security of our website. These uses are described in more detail in the sections below.
If you send us an email or complete an online form, we may use your personal information to respond to you. In most cases, we will delete any personal information that we did not ask for. For example, we will delete any personal information submitted via the “Was this page helpful?” feedback tool.
Personal information from emails or completed forms is collected according to the Privacy Act. Such information is used to provide our services to Canadians and may also be used for statistical, evaluation and reporting purposes. We do not use personal information submitted via online forms to create individual profiles.
Digital markers (including cookies)
A digital marker is a small file placed on your computer by a web site that you visit. They are stored there so that the web server can remember certain pieces of information about you. This information is used by the web server during the same or another visit to the website. Examples of digital markers are "cookies" or HTML5 web storage. They are often used in the collection of web analytics, to store your preferences (for example: language or location), and to manage your session if you are logged in.
More information about what digital markers can do and how we use them:
Digital markers can:
- allow a website to recognize a previous visitor to a web site;
- track what information is viewed on a site which helps website administrators ensure visitors find what they are looking for.
We use first-party digital markers on our website. During your visit, your browser exchanges data with our web server. The digital markers are set to be deleted after 13 months.
You may adjust your browser settings to reject digital markers, including cookies. Visiting our website with cookies disabled will have no real impact on your browsing experiences but it might prevent some of our website tools from functioning. We use technical cookies to keep our website tools running properly and securely. Some of these tools include our Online complaint form, our Online information request form, our Tell the OPC about a privacy issue, and our secure breach reporting tool.
Web analytics is the collection, analysis, measurement, and reporting of data about web traffic and visits. This data is used to improve our website and deliver on our public education mandate. It also helps us complete administrative tasks such as:
- communications and information technology statistics,
- audit and evaluation,
- planning and
More information about how we use web analytics to improve our web site:
Our use of web analytics
We use web analytics in accordance with the Government of Canada’s Standard on Privacy and Web Analytics (Appendix E).
When your computer requests one of our web pages, we collect the following types of information for web analytics using digital markers (as described above):
- the originating IP address anonymized so that they cannot be used to identify individuals
- the date and time of the request
- the type of browser used
- the page(s) visited
- the page previously viewed through which you arrived on our site
- Files that were clicked and downloaded
- Links to an outside domain that were clicked
- Type of operating system and browser used
We use this information to establish:
- which of our pages are the most popular
- what people are looking for on our site
- how people navigate our site
We use internally hosted software called Matomo. The information collected is not disclosed to an external third party. We retain the information for a maximum period of 12 months. It is then disposed of in accordance with the Standard on Privacy and Web Analytics (Appendix E) and as authorized by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Our web analytics will also respect any "do not track" setting you might have set on your browser.
Protecting the security of our website
We use software programs to monitor network traffic and identify unauthorized attempts to change information, or damage our systems. This software receives and records the IP address of the computer that has contacted our website, the date and time of the visit and the pages visited.
More information about how we handle the information that we collect while securing our website:
We make no attempt to link these addresses with the identity of individuals visiting our site unless we have detected or been advised of an attempt to damage the site.
The information may be shared with law enforcement authorities if we suspect criminal activities. This information may be used for network security related statistical purposes, audit, evaluation, research, planning and reporting. It is included in Personal Information Bank PSU 939 Security Incidents and Privacy Breaches.
Who sees your personal information
In cases where services are provided by third parties such as social media platforms or mobile applications, IP addresses may be recorded by their web servers.
How we protect your personal information
Emails and other electronic methods used to communicate with us are not secure unless it specifically says so. It is not recommended that you send sensitive personal information, such as your Social Insurance Number or your date of birth, through non-secure electronic means.
Inquiring about our privacy practices
Any questions, comments, concerns or complaints you may have about the administration of the Privacy Act and privacy policies concerning our web presence may be directed to our Chief Privacy Officer. You can contact the Chief Privacy Officer on our toll-free line at 1-800-282-1376, by email at email@example.com, or by postal mail at:
30 Victoria Street
If you are not satisfied with our response to your privacy concerns, you may contact the Ad Hoc Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Our use of social media serves as an extension of our web presence. Social media accounts are public and are not hosted on our servers. Users who choose to interact with us via social media should read the terms of service and privacy policies of these third-party service providers and those of any applications you use to access them. You should also read our Social Media Policies and Notices. We use Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Comments left by individuals on social media can be read by anyone. Therefore, we strongly advise you not to post any personal information – whether it is yours or not. We reserve the right to remove any comments that violate our Comment Policy or contain personal information.
Personal information that you provide us via social media is collected to capture conversations (e.g. questions and answers, comments) between us. It may be used to respond to inquiries, or for statistical, evaluation and reporting purposes. The personal information that you provide directly to us falls under Personal Information Bank PSU 938 Outreach Activities.
Linking to non-OPC websites
Links to websites not under our control are provided for the convenience of our visitors. We are not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of the content. We do not offer any guarantee and are not responsible for the information found through these links. We also do not endorse these sites or their content.
You should also be aware that information on any non-Government of Canada web site that we link to is not subject to the Privacy Act, the Official Languages Act and may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. The information offered may be available only in the language(s) used by the sites in question. With respect to privacy, visitors should research the privacy policies of these websites before providing personal information.
Providing content in our official languages
The Official Languages Act, the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations and Treasury Board policy requirements set out when we use both English and French to provide services to or communicate with the public. When there is no obligation to provide these in both official languages, content may be available in one official language only. Information provided by entities not subject to the Official Languages Act is offered in the language provided. Information provided in a language other than English or French is only made available for the convenience of our visitors.
Our commitment to accessibility
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is committed to achieving a high standard of accessibility as defined in the Standard on Web Accessibility and the Standard on Optimizing Websites and Applications for Mobile Devices. In the event of difficulty using our web pages, applications or device-based mobile applications, contact us for assistance or to obtain alternative formats such as regular print, Braille or another appropriate format.
Accommodating clients with disabilities
We are committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access to, and can benefit from, all our public-facing services. Individuals can request accommodation measures for a need relating to one of the 13 prohibited grounds for discrimination set out in the Canadian Human Right Act.
We believe the accommodation process should be as uncomplicated as possible and respect the dignity and privacy of the client.
We strive to build accommodation for clients with disabilities proactively into our processes and practices. If a client wishes to request accommodation for a disability, they can contact our Information Centre. An Information Officer will either assist the client with making the request or refer the client to the appropriate person.
Examples of accommodation may include modifications in:
- filing a formal privacy complaint
- submission/response format
- the parties involved in service delivery
- settings for communication
- presentation format
For more information about our approach to creating and maintaining an inclusive and barrier-free environment for the delivery of public-facing services to clients with disabilities, please see our Policy on Accommodating Clients with Disabilities.
Ownership and usage of content provided on this site
We put content on this website to inform Canadians about the programs and services that we offer. You may use and reproduce the materials as follows:
Unless otherwise specified, you may reproduce the materials in whole or in part and in any format for non-commercial purposes, without charge or further permission, provided you do the following:
- Ensure that your reproduction is a true and accurate reflection of our original material.
- Indicate both the complete title of the materials reproduced, as well as the author (where available); and
- Indicate that the reproduction is a copy of the version available on our website.
Unless otherwise specified, you may not reproduce materials on this site, in whole or in part, for commercial redistribution without prior written permission from us.
Some of the content on this site may be subject to the copyright of another party. Where copyright is not held by Government of Canada, the materials are protected under the Copyright Act, and international agreements. Details about copyright ownership are indicated on the relevant page(s). To obtain additional information concerning copyright ownership and restrictions, please contact us.
Official symbols of federal institutions, including the Arms of Canada may not be reproduced, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes, without prior written authorization.
Who can I contact if I have any questions about this website?
Questions about our website may be directed to our webmaster. They will either answer your question or put you in touch with the correct staff member. You can contact our webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Date modified: