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Quicker resolution process for privacy matters

April 30, 2024
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) of Alberta has moved to a less formal approach to resolving privacy complaints.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) of Alberta has changed its investigation procedures for access request reviews and privacy complaints. The changes were made under Alberta’s access and privacy laws: the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), the Health Information Act (HIA), and the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).

The OIPC found that its former mediation process, which was a largely written process that involved email communications, written submissions, and letters of finding, was taking too much time to resolve matters.

The new process will identify and communicate the issues to the involved parties at the outset. This will provide clarity to the parties about the issues being reviewed or investigated. The new process will also focus on a less formal case resolution approach that will involve direct contact with the parties over the phone wherever possible. 

The changes were implemented to address a significant backlog in privacy complaints and in reviews of access request decisions. With the changes, the OIPC aims to reduce the time it takes to process a file, while still maintaining quality and value.

If your organization is part of an investigation, the OIPC will require direct and timely access to the decision maker within your organization who has the authority to settle the matter with the OIPC investigator.

OIPC is also implementing a refer-back process for privacy complaints and single-issue “adequacy of search” reviews to allow public bodies, organizations, or custodians (e.g., pharmacists and pharmacy technicians) the opportunity to respond before the matter is dealt with by the OIPC. 

For updated information about new OIPC procedures, visit the following pages of the OIPC website:

Regulated members are also encouraged to review ACP’s Helping pharmacists and pharmacy technicians understand the Health Information Act to learn more about how to safeguard health information.