Privacy complaints

When an individual feels that their personal information has been collected, used or disclosed by a government institution in contravention of privacy and access laws, they should call, write or visit the government office that has possession of the information to try to resolve the matter. If they can’t resolve it directly, they may file a privacy complaint directly with our office.

IPC jurisdiction

The IPC has jurisdiction over access to information and privacy concerns related to:

  • all provincial ministries
  • most provincial agencies, boards and commissions
  • universities and colleges of applied arts and technology
  • local government institutions, such as municipalities, police, library, health, and school boards, and transit commissions

The IPC has jurisdiction concerning the collection, use, and disclosure of personal health information by hospitals and other health care providers.


Privacy complaint files are reviewed by the IPC Registrar and a team of analysts, who will ensure that the complaint falls within IPC’s jurisdiction. If it doesn’t, the complaint may be screened-out at the intake and early resolution stage. A complaint may be screened out for other reasons.

Before deciding if a file should be screened out, the analyst will:

  • contact the complainant to clarify the details of the privacy complaint
  • explain the IPC procedures
  • contact the institution to discuss the complaint and gather additional information
Early resolution

Some privacy complaints can be resolved quickly without having to go through a formal investigation. In these cases, the Registrar will refer the case to an analyst who will work on an informal settlement with the parties involved


If the privacy complaint is not dismissed or settled through Early Resolution, it will be assigned to an investigator. The investigator will clarify the complaint, contact the parties, gather information, and attempt a settlement. If a settlement is not possible, the investigator may issue a Draft Privacy Complaint Report to the parties.

Draft privacy complaint report

After reviewing the facts, an investigator may send a Draft Privacy Complaint Report to the parties, which includes:

  • a summary of the complaint
  • a discussion of the information collected as part of the investigation
  • the investigator’s conclusions and recommendations (if any) to the parties

The parties can comment on any factual errors and/or omissions in the Draft Privacy Complaint Report.

Final privacy complaint report

Final privacy complaint report

At the end of the investigation, the investigator will send the finalized Privacy Complaint Report to the parties under his/her signature, with the endorsement of the Assistant Commissioner or Commissioner.

The investigator will also follow-up with the institution to ensure that any recommendations have been implemented.



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