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Protection of privacy

Protection of personal privacy

The protection of personal privacy in the day-to-day operations of an institution is one of the key principles of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

The privacy principles outlined in Part II of MFIPPA reflect internationally accepted fair information practices, and are based on two beliefs:

  • That an individual has the right to control his or her own personal information
  • That the privacy rules governing the collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal of personal information are necessary.

These privacy rules apply to all personal information in the custody or control of institutions regardless of whether an access request has been made, with the exception of public records and certain labour relations records.

The City of Ottawa is committed to upholding the standards of privacy established within the Act. City Staff are provided with the necessary training and the Access to Information and Privacy Office is consulted on a regular basis to provide advice to staff with respect to the collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal of personal information.

If an individual feels that the City or other institution has improperly collected, used, disclosed, retained or disposed of their personal information, they have the right to make a privacy complaint.

As part of the City's ongoing effort to demonstrate accountability and transparency, the City of Ottawa makes available the personal data accessible by City staff through personal information banks.

Personal information

What is "personal information"?

Personal information is defined as recorded information about an identifiable individual, including:

  • Information relating to race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status
  • Information relating to the education or the medical , psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of an individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved
  • Any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual
  • The address, telephone number, fingerprints, or blood type of the individual
  • The personal opinions or views of the individual except if they relate to another individual
  • Correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence
  • The views or opinions of another individual about the individual
  • The individual's name if it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual.

Do I have to give the City my personal information?

To obtain services from the City of Ottawa, you may have to provide your personal information to the City. However, the City can only collect the personal information that is needed to provide the service

Does the City have to tell me for what purpose they will use my personal information?

Yes. When personal information is collected from an individual, notice should be given about the principle purpose for which personal information is collected, the authority for collecting this information and the name and contact information of the employee who can answer additional questions a person may have on this collection. Personal information is to be collected directly from an individual in most circumstances, subject to a few exceptions in the Act.

Types of personal information held at the City of Ottawa

Each institution is required to make available a listing of the personal information banks in its custody and control to assist members of the public in exercising their privacy rights. A personal information bank is defined in the Act as "a listing of personal information that is organized and capable of being retrieved using an individual's name or an identifying number or particular assigned to an individual". Each personal information bank lists:

  • The title of the personal information
  • Its location
  • The legal authority for its establishment
  • The types of personal information maintained in it
  • How the personal information is used
  • To whom the personal information is disclosed to regularly
  • The categories of individuals about whom the personal information is maintained
  • The retention and disposal period of the personal information.

For more information about the City's personal information banks, please contact the Access to Information and Privacy Office by email at privacy-vieprivee@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424 ext. 21898.

How to make a privacy complaint

If you feel your personal information under the custody and control of the City of Ottawa has been improperly collected, used, disclosed, secured or disposed of, we encourage you to contact our Access to Information and Privacy Office by email at privacy-vieprivee@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424 ext. 21898. At the City of Ottawa, every attempt is made to resolve a privacy complaint informally through a resolution that is mutually satisfactory to both the complainant and to the City. Sometimes a simple explanation may help to alleviate the concerns that an individual may have. However, the individual still holds the right to contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if they choose to submit a formal complaint.

How and where to request a correction of personal information

In some instances, a requester may feel that there was an error or omission concerning personal information on file about themselves. To request a correction or omission to the personal information, you must contact the Access to Information and Privacy Office by email at mfippa@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424 ext. 21898.

You can also forward a letter stipulating clearly the information, which you believe to be inexact, incomplete or ambiguous, along with the correction or amendment that you wish to make under the Act.

After receiving the request for correction of personal information, the City of Ottawa will correct or amend the information or advise you of the reason why the information cannot be corrected or amended. If the correction sought is merely a substitution of opinion, then it will not qualify as a correction of personal information. In some instances, documentary proof will be required.

In the event that the correction or amendment was not made, you have a right to:

  • Require that a statement of disagreement be attached to the information (a copy of the request for correction may be sufficient)
  • Have any person or body to whom the personal information was disclosed within the last twelve (12) months notified of the correction or statement of disagreement
  • Appeal the decision to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

Notification – City of Ottawa Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

The use of a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system is undertaken in accordance with the City of Ottawa’s CCTV Policy.  Personal information is collected for security purposes in and around facilities that are operated by the City of Ottawa to ensure the safety and security of users and visitors.  CCTV cameras are continuously recording but only periodically monitored by Authorized Personnel.

Further information concerning the use of CCTV is available in the City of Ottawa Closed Circuit Television Policy and by contacting the Program Manager, Corporate Security at 613-580-2580, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1.