If you have a concern about the information handling practices of an organization, your first step is to contact the organization’s privacy officer and discuss your concern, or put your concern in writing as a complaint, and send the complaint to the organization’s privacy officer. The organization should have a process in place to receive and respond to complaints.

If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada or the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC to make a complaint directly to that office. Remember that those Offices have authority over different types of organizations; if you are not sure which Office has authority in your circumstances, simply ask them and they will be able to tell you.

Your rights are discussed in greater detail in other linked web pages on this site:

  1. Individual Rights Under Privacy Law
  2. Consumer Privacy
  3. Privacy in Employment
  4. Privacy and Law Enforcement
  5. Privacy and Health Care

Making a Complaint to a Commissioner’s Office

The following links will take you to sites with information about the complaints process:

Suing in Court under the Common Law or the Privacy Act (BC)

It can be challenging to use the common law or the Privacy Act (BC) to protect individual privacy rights. First, these are tools that are generally used after the fact – after the privacy breach has occurred.

Secondly, our courts are open to the public, so suing someone can result in the broader publication of the very invasion of privacy that you’d prefer to keep private.

Finally, there can be a great deal of cost and time involved in bringing a lawsuit. The courts have detailed Rules of Court which all litigants are required to follow. Even if you win, you may not recover enough in damages to make the effort worth your while.

If you are considering bringing a civil suit against a person or organization, it is strongly recommended that you consult a lawyer.

Other Resources