Public's privacy key in War Amps' agreement with N.B.
Posted: Jul 16, 2012 5:54 PM AT
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2012 8:54 PM AT
New Brunswick and The War Amps of Canada officials are working on an agreement to make sure people's private information is protected.
The Department of Public Safety provides the names and addresses of 550,000 N.B. drivers to the War Amps for use in its annual key tag program, and in the past, hasn't had to get permission from individuals to do so.
It's a long-standing relationship that dates back to the mid-1970s.
But things changed in September 2010 when a new privacy law took effect, according to the province's privacy commissioner Anne Bertrand.
"The province had not realized that there was not a similar exemption under the act allowing this disclosure of personal information to War Amps of Canada."
Bertrand investigated after CBC News reported on the matter earlier this year.
The collection, use and disclosure of personal information must always relate directly to the purpose for which the information was first collected, according to the act.
There are only limited instances where it can be disclosed without the individual’s consent, Bertrand said.
When people are asked to give their personal information, they must be informed as to why it is being collected and how the information will be used.
Bertrand's investigation led the province to pass a new law in April — allowing it to share the information with the War Amps only — without having to comply with the legislated rules regarding disclosure of information.
"The department was confident that we continue to have legal authority, although it was less clear,” said Mike Comeau, assistant deputy minister of Public Safety.
“But, very respectful of the commissioner's advice that she didn't agree, and so very quick to recommend to government earlier this year that they should clarify the legislation."
The next step will be an agreement with the War Amps to ensure the information stays secure.
Bertrand would also like individuals to have the option to opt out of the program.
Until that's in place, no information is to be released, Bertrand said.
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