Common Questions

How can I get access to my personal information from public or private bodies?

What is personal information?

Although the definitions vary slightly in each law, we can say that generally, personal information is information that allows a person to be identified. It does not have to be the kind of information that you might expect would be sensitive. Information can be personal even if your name is not included, so long as the information would allow you to be identified, either by itself, or if it was matched with some other information about you. For examples and more, see definitions of key terms here.
 

Step 1

The first step in the process of requesting personal information is to determine who holds the records – is it a private or public body, and do they fall under BC jurisdiction or federal?

For more information regarding public and private bodies, you can read more here.

Step 2

If the body falls under BC's jurisdiction, you can request your information under one of these laws:

  • Public body: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
  • Private body: Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA)

If the body falls under federal (Canada's) jurisdiction, you can request your information under these laws:

  • Public body: Privacy Act
  • Private body: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

To request personal information from the BC government and public bodies, click here.
To request personal information from the Federal government, click here.
To request personal information from private organizations, click here.
To request personal health information, click here.
 

Need more help?

The FIPA HelpLine helps the public with their questions, problems and concerns regarding access to information and privacy protection by providing information and non-legal advice. Find them on the HelpMap here.
 

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed May 2017
tags
privacy rights, requesting your personal records, BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA)