A Canadian federal employee’s guide to PIPEDA

A Canadian federal employee’s guide to PIPEDA

First, let’s quickly overview PIPEA: What is it?

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, also known as PIPEDA, is a law passed by the Parliament of Canada respecting privacy for the private sector and applies to personal information collected during the course of commercial activities. (Wikipedia contributors, 2018)

What employers have to work within PIPEDA??

Any employer who falls under federal jurisdiction in the Constitution of Canada.

Those areas being:

  • banks (but not provincial credit unions).
  • marine shipping, ferry and port services.
  • air transportation, including airports, aerodromes and airlines.
  • railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders.
  • canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders).
  • telephone, telegraph, and cable systems.
  • radio and television broadcasting.
  • grain elevators, feed and seed mills.
  • uranium mining and processing.
  • businesses dealing with the protection of fisheries as a natural resource.
  • many First Nation activities.
  • most federal Crown corporations.
  • private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act. (Government of Canada, 2018)

Specific employers include but are not limited to:

Government of Canada and most federal Crown corporations such as Canada Post, Banks (Bank of Montreal, RBC, Scotiabank, Tangerine), Airlines (Air Canada, Porter, Westjet), and Phone and cable companies (Bell Canada, Rogers, Telus), for examples.

What are federal employers’ obligations under PIPEDA?

  • obtain consent when they collect, use, or disclose their personal information;
  • supply an individual with a product or a service even if they refuse consent for the collection, use or disclosure of your personal information unless that information is essential to the transaction;
  • collect information by fair and lawful means; and
  • have personal information policies that are clear, understandable and readily available. (Wikipedia contributors, 2018)

What are federal employees’ rights under PIPEDA?

PIPEDA gives employees the right to:

  • know why an organization collects, uses or discloses their personal information;
  • expect an organization to collect, use or disclose their personal information reasonably and appropriately, and not use the information for any purpose other than that to which they have consented;
  • know who in the organization is responsible for protecting their personal information;
  • expect an organization to protect their personal information by taking appropriate security measures;
  • expect the personal information an organization holds about them to be accurate, complete and up-to-date;
  • obtain access to their personal information and ask for corrections if necessary; and
  • complain about how an organization handles their personal information if they feel their privacy rights have not been respected. (Wikipedia contributors, 2018)

As a federal employee, how can I access my private human resources file?

Ask! Or send a written letter to your organization’s Chief Privacy Officer or whichever officer is in charge of the company’s privacy policy. Details on who that person is will be available from your employer.

“Ordinarily, it should cost you little or nothing to gain access to your personal information. The law requires an organization to respond to your request at minimal or no cost to you.” (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2016)


Government of Canada. (2018, November 9). Federally Regulated Businesses and Industries. Retrieved 29 March 2019, from

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. (2016, September 12). Accessing your personal information. Retrieved 29 March 2019, from

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, November 13). Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 29 March 2019, from

This article was written by J2DW CEO Peter V. Tretter

Voices of our Nation

Causes and Solutions to Workplace Stress

“You are allowed to be human”

According to a number of surveys, a common type of stress that we see in everyday society is workplace stress. The files piling up on your desk, the phantom phone rings and the constant humming of the computers is a few of many parts and parcels of the workplace. These coupled with nepotism, ready to climb up the corporate ladder but being held back because of competition, lack of incentive and longer work hours all seem to be common causes of workplace stress.

We all have been at that job where we had a boss we were terrified of making a mistake in front of or wanted 25 hours of work in a 24-hour day (sleep was for the weak). The one who wanted you to put in all your waking hours on the job and still withheld that promotion because they “did not feel you were up to the task.” Those bosses are now responsible for half of the psychologists’ clients all around the globe.

Some of the common workplace stressors are increased responsibility, higher production demands, fewer benefits, pay cuts, layoffs, etc. Even bosses and senior management face workplace stress because they need to keep productivity levels high in order to keep the company running successfully and meet certain demands. They face hard tasks such as laying off employees that may have been with the organization for years, making cuts (budget and salary) and doing what is best for the company even at the cost of being called a tyrant. Some common workplace causes are:

• Overload of tasks – Heavy workload, infrequent breaks, long work hours and shift work. Hectic and routine tasks with little inherent meaning, lack of skills required, and little sense of control

• Management style – Lack of participation by workers in decision-making, poor communication within the organization and lack of family-friendly policies.

• Interpersonal relationships – Poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors

• Work roles – Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility and too many “hats to wear”

• Career concerns – Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion and rapid changes for which workers are unprepared

• Environmental concerns – Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic conditions*

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the causes of stress mentioned above, don’t worry there are solutions to these causes. Below are some of the solutions we think could help you adapt and get a better outlook. Something for supervisors and company management to keep in mind to help reduce workplace stress are:

• Recognition of employees for good work performance

• Opportunities for career development

• An organizational culture that values the individual worker

• Learning to give them free time for personal life, as they might have families that require them too.

Some things you could try to alleviate your own stresses are:

• Prioritize – you are allowed to step back and evaluate your life, to say no to additional work, to say no if you will be missing your anniversary dinner (but you need to understand when to exercise this option)

• Talk to someone – Talk to a friend, family member or a counselor/ psychologist when you need some guidance or just want someone to vent to when you see yourself burning out (common signs include being irritated, frustrated, feeling depressed, withdrawn from friends and family)

• Exercise – this helps clear the mind and gives you the necessary focus to get through your day (healthy body = healthy mind)

• Get a regular sleep schedule – Whether you work the night shift or regular day hours it is crucial to allocate time for your body to rest (as difficult as this sounds, less sleep causes more health problems in the long run)

These are just some of many solutions to help reduce workplace stress. Find what works best for you and apply it. You are only human after all.

* Helpful list by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

This article was written by volunteer blogger Riya Prem Raaj and edited by volunteer editor Erin Murphy.

Voices of our Nation

This what happens when Ontario is more accessible

Disabilities are a significant concern in Canada due to an aging Canadian population. Approximately 3.8

Internal development of Canada's internal bord...
Internal development of Canada’s internal borders, from the formation of the dominion to the present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

million Canadians have a disability. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, or AODA, was designed to improve the accessibility standards for Ontarians with disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act became law in 2005. The AODA was a statute enacted in 2005 for the purpose of improving accessibility standards for Ontarians with physical and mental disabilities by 2025. The AODA requires public and private sector organizations to comply with mandatory standards that remove and prevent barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. From the AODA came the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service in 2007 and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation in 2012.

The AODA is made up of five standards with a standard covering an aspect of daily living. These standards are the customer service, employment, design of public spaces, transportation, information and communication standards. The deadlines for compliance range from 2010 to 2021. The customer service standard was the first standard to come into effect and all of Ontario’s businesses should be compliant to this standard. Businesses are required to let the Canadian government know of their compliance by 2017.

The customer service standard is intended to make an organization’s customer service operations accessible to disabled people. Accessibility is not just about complying with a law, but also about giving consumers with disabilities the opportunity to use or buy services. The customer service standard establishes requirements for the provision of accessible customer service. This standard applies to all organizations that provide goods or services either directly to the public or to other organizations and that have one or more employees in Ontario. The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation requires that private and not-for-profit businesses with fifty or more employees, who operate in Ontario, must provide accessible formats and appropriate communication for goods and services to people with disabilities. If services are unable businesses should let disabled people know how long disruption of these services are going to last. Customers should be asked about feedback regarding eliminating any barriers that may have been overlooked and it is important to respond to any feedback that is received. A business plan or policy should be posted publicly when a strategy is developed to eliminate barriers for the customers.

The employment standard is intended to help organizations support and keep more skilled employees. The AODA defines an employee as someone who works seasonal, full-time, part-time, is contracted, or a non-volunteer. The purpose of the employment standard is to integrate accessibility into regular workplace process and to ensure that employers provide for accessibility across all stages of the employment cycle. This standard makes accessibility a normal part of finding, hiring and communicating with employees who have disabilities.

The design of public spaces standard is an accessibility standard that is part of the AODA’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. This standard regulates the design of newly constructed or redeveloped spaces used by the public. The elements covered bythe design of public spaces standard include exterior spaces such as sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways, parking lots, outdoor public use eating areas, beach access routes, recreational trails and playgrounds. The requirements of this standard are also included for some design elements associated with providing public access to services.

The transportation standard requires transportation services to prevent and remove barriers so that people with disabilities can more easily access transportation services across Ontario. Requirements for accessible transportation apply to organizations that offer transportation services to the public or to employees. Organizations providing transportation services are required to establish, implement, maintain, and document accessibility training policies or procedures that are specific to transportation-related duties concerning disabled people.

The information and communication standard helps people with disabilities access sources of information that many of us rely on every day. The main goal of this standard is to promote an inclusive design of information and communication platforms. The information and communication standard specifies requirements to prevent and remove barriers to persons with disabilities when creating, conveying, distributing, obtaining and receiving various information or communication by organizations. Accessibility is not just about complying with the law.

Workplaces should be compliant to the AODA standards. Ontario should be a place where everyone has a chance to be successful. An improvement in the accessibility of workplaces could create more job opportunities for disabled people which would significantly benefit Canadian workplaces. Training can implemented that will allow workplaces to understand these standards. Canada will benefit if everyone has access to places, people, and experiences. As the Canadian population ages, the number of people with disabilities will rise. It is estimated that seniors and people with disabilities represent twenty to twenty five percent of the Canadian recreation, retail, entertainment, workplace and housing marketplaces in the next ten years and beyond. Ontario benefits daily from the many contributions made by people with disabilities. Consumer spending increases when businesses are accessible which stimulates the Canadian economy. Greater accessibility can help to prepare Canada for a better future and also would provide a better quality of life within Canada.

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson

Voices of our Nation

Workplace safety

There are various safety issues that workplaces must effectively address. Due diligence is the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.  Due diligence means that employers must take all reasonable precautions, under the particular circumstances, to prevent injuries or accidents in the workplace. This duty also applies to situations that are not addressed elsewhere in the occupational health and safety legislation.  Reasonable precautions are also referred to as reasonable care. It refers to the care, caution, or action a reasonable person is expected to take under similar circumstances.  Employers must do what is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their employees.  Reasonably practicable means taking precautions that are not only possible, but that are also suitable or rational, given the particular situation.  Workplaces must implement policies that will create a safe workplace environment for each employee. Employer must implement a plan to identify possible hazards and carry out the appropriate actions to prevent accidents or injuries from occurring in the workplace.  

Harassment is a serious issue that needs to be properly addressed to allow workplaces to function more effectively. Harassment can make an employee feel unsafe in workplaces and can be a form of discrimination. Harassment involves any unwanted physical or verbal behavior that offends or humiliates someone. Harassment is a harmful behavior that usually persists over time.  However, serious one time incidents can also sometimes be considered as harassment.  Physical harassment in the workplace takes many forms. Sexual assault is one form of widely known physical harassment.  Unlike physical harassment, emotional harassment is unnoticeable and also viewed as being more socially acceptable. One common form of emotional abuse in workplace is bullying.  Workplace bullying is a long lasting, escalated conflict with frequent harassing actions aimed at a targeted person.  All employees should be expected to act professionally and respectfully toward each other and to speak out against unacceptable behaviours in the workplace in a skillful and sensitive manner.  

A poisoned work environment refers to a workplace where comments or behaviors create a hostile or offensive environment for individuals or groups and negatively affects communication and the workplace productivity. Policies should be implemented that eliminate harassment and allow every employee to feel safe within their workplace.  28% of Canadians have reported experiencing sexual harassment in their place of work. Women are three times as likely than men to experience a form of harassment. Young men are the least likely to have such experiences  while 47% of middle-aged Canadian women reported being harassed in the workplace. Workplaces should implement a strong anti-harassment policy prohibiting harassment and include a description of disciplinary consequences that will be applied. Training can be provided to educate employees harassment and remind employees  of the importance of maintaining a harassment free workplace.  The benefits of harassment prevention training programs include establishing a more employee-friendly work environment. From a management perspective, this training reduces the chance of legal action against the workplace based upon a harassment complaint. It can be possible to create a safe workplace environment where   harassment decreases while the level of employee productivity is increased when the employees feel comfortable and respected.  

Source: Statistics Canada

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson.

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Voices of our Nation

Age Diversity and the Workplace

Age diversity is the ability to accept all different types of ages within a workplace environment. A workplace composed of different age groups creates an environment where each generation brings different skills and talents to the workplaces.  Each employee brings attributes and attitudes that have value to the workplace and each has a role to play in the success of workplaces.

Workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse in age. This increase in age diversity is creating a workplace environment that is rich with experience and maturity as well as youthful exuberance. Workplaces that employ workers in a broader range of age have the advantage of creating a dynamic workplace with a diverse range of skills.  Employers need to develop strategies that will allow age diversity to be an asset to workplaces as each employees’ potential is maximized.

Age diversity is a reality in today’s workplace, and will only increase in the future. Workplaces will be more successful when employers gain an understanding of how to effectively blend the age diversity together to utilize the full potential of each of their employees. Workplaces that encourage age diversity can inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest level of ability. In contrast,  a workplace that is heavily composed only of people in a particular age demographic runs the risk of becoming obsolete.

Every employee can benefit from being exposed to new ideas and thinking. Younger employees will typically have a better understanding of modern technology while older employees will bring more years of experience. So developing a diversity of both younger and older employees could be very beneficial within the workplace.  Interacting regularly with the different generations in the workforce can add different perspectives and an understanding of the various approaches differing generations take in the workplaces and their daily lives.  Employees of all ages can add value to workplaces, and will be important components in the diverse workplace of the future. The age diversity has improved in the modern day workplace, but employers still need to be more aware of the potential beneficial aspects of promoting age diversity in the workplace.

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson.

Founder's Blog

Founder’s Video Blog #1

Welcome to my first video blog!


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