PIPEDA Compliance – What You Need to Know

5 min read
James Mignacca
April 19, 2023
James Mignacca
April 19, 2023
Related Resource
Take Cavelo for a Spin
Screenshot of the Cavelo dashboard
See how our platform can manage your company's digital assets and sensitive data, all through a single pane of glass.
Canadian Data Privacy Laws Roundup
Data privacy laws are continually changing. Read this blog for a round-up covering Canada’s federal, provincial and industry-related laws.

What is PIPEDA compliance?

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is a Canadian data privacy law that sets out the rules for how businesses must collect, use, store, and disclose personal information. It applies to any Canadian-based or foreign organization that handles the personal information of Canadian citizens for commercial activities.

Since its introduction in 2000, PIPEDA has been amended several times to keep up with changes in technology and data protection practices. The most recent amendment was made in 2018 when new provisions were added to strengthen consent requirements for collecting, using or disclosing personally identifiable information.

Organizations must comply with PIPEDA’s ten principles which require businesses to obtain meaningful consent from individuals before collecting their personal information; limit collection to only what is necessary; ensure accuracy of collected data; protect data against unauthorized access or disclosure; provide individuals with access to their own records upon request; and allow individuals to challenge their data’s accuracy if needed.

Non-compliance with PIPEDA can result in serious consequences for organizations including fines up to $100,000 per violation as well as reputational damage due to negative publicity associated with violations.

Organizations may also be subject to investigations by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC), which has the power to order corrective measures if it finds an organization has violated PIPEDA’s principles. Class action lawsuits are becoming increasingly common when companies fail to protect customer data adequately and result in financial losses for those affected by a breach or misuse of their data.

It is important for all organizations operating within Canada – regardless of size – to understand their obligations under PIPEDA and take steps towards compliance so they can avoid costly penalties and maintain trust among customers whose privacy they are responsible for protecting. This includes having policies and procedures related to privacy management as well as training staff on proper handling of sensitive customer information at all levels within an organization.

If your business is subject to PIPEDA compliance requirements, it’s important to understand what these regulations mean for your operations.

Here are five tips to ensure your business maintains PIPEDA Compliance:

01. Develop an effective privacy policy:

A comprehensive privacy policy should be developed to outline how your company collects, uses, stores, and discloses personal information. This document should also include details on each individual’s rights with respect to their own data as well as contact information for questions or complaints about the policy itself.  

02. Train staff on PIPEDA compliance:

All employees who handle customer data need to be trained on proper procedures for collecting, using and storing this type of sensitive information in accordance with PIPEDA guidelines. Regular refresher courses can help keep everyone up-to-date on changes in legislation or best practices related to data protection measures within the organization.  

03. Implement appropriate security measures:

Organizations must take reasonable steps to protect all collected personal information from unauthorized access or disclosure by implementing physical safeguards such as locked filing cabinets, technical safeguards like encryption software, and organizational controls like employee background checks before granting access privileges to customer records systems.  

04. Monitor third-party vendors:

If you work with third parties who have access to your customers' private data - such as cloud storage providers - make sure they adhere strictly to all applicable laws regarding collection and use of this type of sensitive material. Ensure contracts clearly outline expectations around protecting customer data so there's no confusion about responsibilities when it comes time for audits or investigations into potential breaches.  

05. Stay informed about updates:

The landscape surrounding digital privacy is constantly changing and keeping up with new developments is essential if you want your business remain compliant with current regulations. Make sure someone within the organization is responsible for monitoring legal news related specifically to PIPEDA compliance so necessary adjustments can be made quickly.  

Following these five tips will go a long way towards helping organizations meet their obligations under PIPEDA while ensuring customers' private data remains secure at all times. With careful planning, training, implementation, monitoring, and vigilance – businesses can stay ahead of ever-evolving digital threats while protecting customers from security risks.

Nowadays data privacy and data protection are mutually exclusive. Data privacy and security frameworks, regulations, and acts support the processes needed to achieve and sustain robust data management at scale. Having the ability to understand what data you have across the business (data discovery) and the types of data you’re accumulating across the business’s digital assets (data classification) underpins every data privacy and security regulation.

In order to achieve compliance, you must be able to demonstrate the processes, tools and controls you have in place to align to data privacy and security requirements.

Non-compliance with industry regulations and laws, including PIPEDA, carry significant risks both financially and reputationally. Data governance and regular internal audits go a long way to supporting compliance efforts.

PIPEDA compliance - Next steps

Determine which regulations apply to your business - download the Guide to Data Discovery for Regulatory Compliance for a summary of the more universal and wide-reaching data privacy and security regulations and compliance requirements.

Share this post
Our blog. Your inbox.

Receive thought leadership content, advice from industry experts, and news about events with your peers. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Want to schedule a demo?

We’re confident you’ll love Cavelo. But if we’re not a good fit for your unique business security needs, no hard feelings.