The workplace presents particular challenges to individual privacy for a number of reasons, including the power imbalance between employer and employee, the increasing technological capabilities of employers to monitor employee activity, and the strong incentives for employers to collect and use employee personal information for employment-related purposes, enhanced productivity, and reduced liability. Throughout these FAQs, we cite key privacy findings from privacy commissioners, courts and labour arbitrators. Although the findings of privacy commissioners are important in determining legal rights and remedies, they do not always have the same legal consequences as a decision of a court of law. In particular, the federal Privacy Commissioner's findings under PIPEDA and the federal Privacy Act are not legally binding. In contrast, rulings by the Alberta, B.C., and Quebec Privacy Commissioners do have legal force in those jurisdictions. Privacy commissioner rulings in one jurisdiction are not binding on another. However, findings and decisions by privacy commissioners do carry weight and offer considerable guidance across sectors and jurisdictions when workplace privacy cases arise.

The information provided on this webpage is of a general nature and does not constitute legal advice. Moreover, it addresses only some issues in information privacy, labour and employment law. If you have questions about privacy and your workplace, you should consult a lawyer, your union representative, or the human resources department of the organization you work for. For general information on private sector data protection laws, see CIPPIC's webpage on Privacy. CIPPIC welcomes feedback and comments on this webpage at   The information on this webpage is current as of May 2007

This F.A.Q. was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.