On May 29, 2023, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (the OPC) published new guidance on workplace privacy for employers that are subject to federal privacy legislation.

The OPC stated that employers should be aware of how the Privacy Act (for federal government institutions) and the Personal Information and Protection of Electronic Documents Act (for private-sector organizations across Canada that collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of a commercial activity) may be applicable and should ensure that employees know their rights under such laws.

The OPC’s guidance, titled “Privacy in the Workplace”, discusses: (i) the topic of respecting employees’ privacy and outlines key privacy considerations for the management of employee personal information in the workplace; (ii) whether employees’ privacy rights conflict with an employer’s right to manage; (iii) whether employees can waive their privacy rights; and (iv) employee monitoring.

In addition, the OPC’s guidance provides the following eight practical tips for employers to consider building into their policies and procedures:

  1. Examine all relevant legal obligations and authorities.
  2. Map out what employee information is being collected, used, and disclosed.
  3. Conduct “Privacy Impact Assessments”.
  4. Test your proposed employee management information practices.
  5. Limit collection.
  6. Be transparent and open.
  7. Respect key privacy principles.
  8. Be aware of inappropriate practices/no-go zones.

For additional information, the full text of the OPC’s guidance on workplace privacy can be found here.

Summary By: Steffi Tran


23 06 14

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