Offences and immunity

In this section, you’ll find information about how the rules for privacy and access to personal information are enforced. This includes an overview of offences under Part X, protections against liability and the role of the IPC.

 

Offences

Under Part X of the CYFSA, it is an offence to:121

  • wilfully collect, use or disclose personal information in contravention of Part X or the regulations
  • wilfully dispose of a record in a manner that is not secure or with the intent to evade an access request
  • wilfully fail to notify an individual, at the first reasonable opportunity, of the theft, loss or unauthorized use or disclosure of their personal information
  • wilfully obstruct the IPC or make a false statement to the IPC
  • wilfully fail to comply with an order of the IPC
  • retaliate against a whistleblower, such as by demoting or firing an employee because they reported a privacy breach to the IPC
  • request access or correction of a record under false pretenses
  • knowingly make certain false statements about the authority to access a record or to consent on behalf of someone for a collection, use or disclosure of personal information

A prosecution for offences under Part X of the CYFSA cannot be initiated without the consent of the Attorney General of Ontario. There is no time limit for commencing these prosecutions. If a person is found guilty, they may be fined up to $5000. If a corporation commits one of these offences, every officer, member, employee or agent found to have authorized the offence, or who knowingly refrained from using their authority to prevent it, can be found guilty and held personally liable for the fine.

However, service providers are not subject to actions or proceedings for damages resulting from an act or omission related to the execution of their duties under Part X that is made reasonably and in good faith.122

No person can be fired, suspended, demoted, disciplined or otherwise disadvantaged for:

  • refusing to contravene Part X
  • preventing any person from contravening Part X
  • reporting a contravention or future contravention to the IPC123

 

121. CYFSA, s. 332
122. CYFSA, s. 331
123. CYFSA, s. 330