Instant Messaging and Personal Email Accounts: Meeting Your Access and Privacy Obligations

This document was developed to help Ontario’s public institutions manage the use of instant messaging and personal email accounts when doing business. All public servants should be aware records relating to an institution’s business that are created, sent or received through instant messaging or personal email accounts are subject to Ontario’s access and privacy laws. The IPC recommends that all institutional leaders strictly control the use of these tools when doing business. If it is necessary to use these tools, institutions should implement appropriate policy and technical measures to ensure that records are saved.

All institutions subject to Ontario’s access and privacy laws need to ensure that they are in compliance with those laws. Access to information requests cannot be evaded by using instant messaging or personal email accounts.

Help us improve our website. Was this page helpful?
When information is not found


  • You will not receive a direct reply. For further enquiries, please contact us at @email
  • Do not include any personal information, such as your name, social insurance number (SIN), home or business address, any case or files numbers or any personal health information.
  • For more information about this tool, please see our Privacy Policy.