Privacy impacts all of Health Canada's programs and operations. The Department's privacy responsibilities are governed by the Privacy Act and the Treasury Board Privacy Protection Policy. They govern the way the Department collects, uses, discloses and retains personal information.
As directed by the Treasury Board Secretariat, Health Canada strengthens privacy protection through the development of Privacy Impact Assessments.
A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) refers to a comprehensive process for determining the effects of program and service delivery initiatives on individual privacy. The PIA process is a useful methodology to ensure that privacy is built in at the outset of any new program or service and to assure the public that their privacy is safeguarded.
Institutions must develop and maintain PIAs to evaluate whether program and service delivery initiatives involving personal information comply with privacy requirements and to resolve privacy issues that may be of potential concern.
Under Treasury Board Secretariat policy, all departments and agencies must conduct PIAs for proposals of all new programs and services that raise privacy issues. The PIA goes through an internal approval process before being signed-off on by the Deputy Minister and sent to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for review.