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Privacy law takes effect in phases


Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act sets standards for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities. It aims to balance an individual's right to privacy with an organization's need for personal information for legitimate business purposes.

PIPEDA has been coming into effect in stages. Since Jan. 1, 2001, the act has applied to personal information collected about customers and employees in federally regulated industries such as banking, telecommunication and transportation. It has also applied to information transported across provincial and territorial boundaries.

Since Jan. 1, 2004, PIPEDA applied to all personal information collected, used or disclosed in the course of commercial activities by all private sector organizations except in provinces that have enacted legislation deemed to be substantially similar to the federal law. Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec all have legislation deemed similar to PIPEDA.