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APEGGA, PIPA and PIPEDA

Background

As of January 1, 2004, new rules will apply to all organizations that collect, use and disclose personal information about individuals. The purpose of this paper is to provide a sketch outline of APEGGA responsibilities that will apply in the future under PIPA – the Personal Information Protection Act of Alberta, and PIPEDA - the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and Act of the Government of Canada.

PIPA was introduced by way of Bill 44 in the Alberta legislature and was given first reading in the spring sitting. The Alberta government had the Bill approved in its fall 2003 sitting. It is quite clear that insofar as APEGGA’s status as a “Professional Regulatory Organization” its regulatory activities in Alberta will be subject to PIPA rules.

Regular updates on privacy legislation in Alberta can be obtained from:

http://www.psp.gov.ab.ca/

Activities Beyond Alberta and Regulatory Mandate

APEGGA’s activities include a number of things well beyond a strictly regulatory mandate. There are also regulatory activities that go beyond the borders of Alberta, such as examinations for other associations and inter-association transfer application information. APEGGA members may participate in member benefits that have been negotiated by the CCPE. These are considered to be commercial activities. The federal legislation that has a bearing on these APEGGA activities is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). This Act was passed in 2000 and initially applied only to the federally regulated private sector. However, on January 1, 2004, it will also apply to commercial activities undertaken in the provincially regulated private sector, unless provinces pass legislation that the federal government deems "substantially similar" to the federal Act. The federal privacy commissioners office views the regulatory licensing activities under a provincial statute as falling under this umbrella in the absence of applicable provincial legislation.

Canadian provinces have an option to either pass equivalent legislation that covers professional licensing or become subject to PIPEDA. Since many provinces have no intention of working on their own privacy legislation, it follows that many of the associations within Canada will be subject to PIPEDA effective January 1, 2004. Therefore we can expect that exchanges of information with sister associations and with the CCPE will be subject to PIPEDA.

A recent conference held by the Alberta government for professional associations was assured that the new acting federal privacy commissioner has ruled that the draft Alberta legislation is “substantially equivalent” to the federal Act. This conference also suggested that professional regulatory organizations may wish to develop their own “Personal Information Code”. APEGGA has developed a summary version of this policy as its code. Note that this Code is useful in communicating our commitment to privacy principles to members, but final determination of compliance is subject to PIPEDA and/or PIPA depending on the specific circumstance involved.

APEGGA Personal Information Code

APEGGA respects the privacy of its members and is committed to protecting their personal information. In this privacy statement “personal information” means information that reveals a distinctive trait about you, helps to identify you and is not available in the public domain. It does not include business contact information, or the information provided to issue and maintain professional status or any other class or category of registration under the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act. This Act is our legislated mandate under provincial statute, and any activity under that Act is subject to the obligations set out in the EGGP Act and in the Personal Information Protection Act of Alberta.

APEGGA adheres to the privacy standards of the Canadian Standards Association regarding collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information. Compliance with these principles is verified regularly and revised as needed. Your contact information is collected, maintained and disclosed to approved providers of member services with your consent in keeping with these principles. The principles in summary are:

1. Accountability

APEGGA is responsible for personal information under its control and has designated its Deputy Registrar as the individual for APEGGA’s compliance with the following principles.

2. Identifying Purpose

The purpose for which personal information is collected shall be identified by APEGGA at or before the time the information is collected.

3. Consent

The knowledge and consent of an individual is required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate. In its investigation of member conduct or the investigation of an applicant’s suitability for registration, specific information may be kept confidential from the member or applicant in order to protect the integrity of the investigation process.

4. Limiting Collection

The collection of personal information will be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by APEGGA. The information will be collected by a fair and lawful means.

5. Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention

Personal information will 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 fulfillment of those purposes.

6. Accuracy

Personal information will be as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purpose for which it is to be used.

7. Safeguards

Personal information will be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.

8. Openness

APEGGA will make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.

9. Individual Access

Upon request, an individual will be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall be given access to that information. An individual will be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

10. Challenging Compliance

An individual is able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the Deputy Registrar.


 
 
 
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    Copyright 2004 The Association of Professional
    Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta.
    All rights reserved

    APEGGA HEAD Office
    1500 Scotia One
    10060 Jasper Ave. NW
    Edmonton AB T5J 4A2
    Tel: 780.426.3990    1.800.661.7020 (within North America)
    Fax: 780.426.1877
    E-mail: email@apegga.org

    Calgary Office
    2200 Scotia Centre
    700 2nd Street SW
    Calgary, AB T2P 2W1
    Tel: 403.262.7714
    Fax: 403.269.2787