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Privacy Information Basics

Understand the importance of privacy and your legal obligations concerning the use of personal information in research.

Defining Personal Information

Definition of “personal information” in the B.C.  Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which applies to Royal Roads University and other provincial public bodies:

“personal information” means recorded information about an identifiable individual other than contact information.

“contact information” means information to enable an individual at a place of business to be contacted and includes the name, position name or title, business telephone number, business address, business email or business fax number of the individual.

Definition of “personal health information” in the B.C. E-Health (Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy) Act which applies to health care bodies:

“personal health information” means recorded information about an identifiable individual that is related to the individual’s health or the provision of health services to the individual.

Definition of “personal information” in the B. C. Personal Information Protection Act, which applies to private businesses and non-profit organizations in the province (e.g. RRUFA):

“personal information” means information about an identifiable individual and includes employee personal information but does not include contact information (as above) or work product information (i.e. information an employee prepares or collects as required for the job).

“employee personal information” means personal information about an individual that is collected, used or disclosed solely for the purposes reasonably required to establish, manage or terminate an employment relationship between the organization and that individual …

Examples of personal information often found in records or documents:

  1. the individual’s name, address or telephone number,
  2. the individual’s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, or religious or political beliefs or associations,
  3. the individual’s age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or family status,
  4. an identifying number, symbol, or other particular assigned to the individual,
  5. the individual’s image, fingerprints, blood type or inheritable characteristics,
  6. information about the individual’s health care history, including a physical or mental disability,
  7. information about the individual’s educational, financial, criminal or employment history,
  8. anyone else’s opinions about the individual, and
  9. the individual’s personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else.