Glossary of terms on access to information and privacy

The following ATIP Glossary, in alphabetical order, was created to help you understand terms related to access to information and privacy:

Access request (demande d'accès)
A request for access to a record made under the Access to Information Act.
Access to Information Act (Loi sur l'accès à l'information)
Provides a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific, and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.
Administrative purpose (fins administratives)
The use of an individual's personal information in a decision-making process that directly affects that individual. This includes all uses of personal information for confirming identity (i.e. authentication and verification purposes) and for determining eligibility of individuals for government programs.
Annual report (rapport annuel)
A report on a government institution's administration of the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act during the fiscal year, which is prepared by the head of a government institution for submission to Parliament.
Applicant or Requester (auteur d'une demande / demandeur)
A Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or any individual or corporation present in Canada that requests access to a record under the Access to Information Act; a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or any individual present in Canada who requests access to a record under the Privacy Act.
Central Bank (fichier central)
A type of personal information bank (PIB) maintained by central agencies such as the Public Service Commission, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat that describes information about current and former federal employees. This type of PIB is recognized by the unique identifier PCE or PCU.
Classes of personal information (catégories de renseignements personnels)
Personal information not used administratively or not retrievable by a personal identifier. This category was created to ensure that government institutions account for all personal information they hold.
Classes of records (catégories de documents)
Descriptions of the records created, collected and maintained by a federal institution as evidence of and information about a particular institutional program or activity.
Community meeting (réunion de la collectivité)
Quarterly meeting to provide the ATIP Community with guidance, to communicate updates on current events, and to receive feedback.
Complainant (plaignant(e))
A person who makes a complaint to the Information Commissioner on any of the grounds outlined in subsection 30(1) of the Access to Information Act or to the Privacy Commissioner on any of the grounds outlined in subsection 29(1) of the Privacy Act.
Consistent use (usage compatible)
A use that has a reasonable and direct connection to the original purpose(s) for which the information was obtained or compiled. This means that the original purpose and the proposed purpose are so closely related that the individual would expect the information to be used for a consistent purpose, even if the use is not spelled out.
Coordinator (Access to Information or Privacy) (Coordonnateur (de l'accès à l'information ou de la protection des renseignements personnels))
Officer designated in each government institution to coordinate all activities within the institution relating to the application of the Access to Information Act, Access to Information Regulations, and related policy, directives, and guidelines.
Court (Cour)
Means the Federal Court of Canada.
Data matching (couplage des données)
An activity involving the comparison of personal information from different sources, including sources within the same government institution, for administrative or non-administrative purposes. The data-matching activity that is established can be systematic or recurring. The data-matching activity can also be conducted on a periodic basis when deemed necessary. Data matching also includes the disclosure or sharing of personal information with another organization for data-matching purposes.
Delegate (délégué)
Is an officer or employee of a government institution who has been delegated to exercise or perform the powers, duties, and functions of the head of the institution under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act.
Designated Minister (ministre désigné)
Is the President of the Treasury Board for the purposes of the Policy on Access to Information and the Policy on Privacy Protection.
Directive (directive)
A formal instruction requiring government institutions to take (or avoid) specific actions. Directives explain how deputy heads and their officials must meet the policy objective.
Excluded information (renseignements exclus)
Information to which the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act does not apply.
Exclusion (exclusion)
A provision of the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act that removes certain records from the application of the legislation.
Exempt Bank (fichier inconsultable)
A personal information bank (PIB) that describes files consisting primarily of personal information related to international affairs, defence, law enforcement, and investigation. The head of a government institution can refuse to disclose any personal information requested that is contained in an Exempt Bank.
Exemption (exception)
A mandatory or discretionary provision under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act that authorizes the head of a government institution to refuse the disclosure of records in response to an access or privacy request.
Federal Accountability Act (Loi fédérale sur la responsabilité)
Provides for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing, and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight, and accountability.
Framework (cadre)
A formal statement that provides context and broad guidance with respect to policy themes or clusters. It also provides the supporting structure within which specific Treasury Board policies and other instruments can be understood in strategic terms and explains why Treasury Board sets policy in a particular area.
Government institution (institution fédérale)
Any department, ministry of state, body, or office listed in Schedule I of the Access to Information Act or in the Schedule of the Privacy Act and any parent Crown corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of a Crown corporation within the meaning of section 83 of the Financial Administration Act. The term "government institution" does not include Ministers' Offices.
Guideline (lignes directrices)
A document providing guidance, advice, or explanation to managers or functional area specialists.
Head (responsable d'institution fédérale)
Is the minister, in the case of a department or ministry of state. In any other case, it is the person designated by Order in Council and, if no such person is designated, it is the chief executive officer of the institution, whatever their title.
Information Commissioner (Commissaire à l'information)
An Officer of Parliament appointed by the Governor in Council to investigate complaints related to any matter involving the request or acquisition of records under the Access to Information Act.
Information Notice (avis d'information)
A notice issued by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to inform the ATIP Community of current events.
Implementation Report (rapport de mise en oeuvre)
A notice issued by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to provide guidance on the interpretation and application of the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act, and their related policies, directives, and guidelines.
Info Source (Info Source)
A series of annual Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat publications in which government institutions describe their functions, programs, activities, and information holdings, including collections of personal information. The Info Source publications also provide summaries of court cases and statistics on access to information and privacy requests.
Institution-Specific Bank (Fichier de renseignements personnels)
A type of personal information bank (PIB) that describes personal information about members of the general public and federal  employees (current and former) that is contained in the records of a specific federal government institution. This type of PIB is recognized by the unique identifier PPU or PPE.
Manuals (manuels)
Manuals used by employees of a government institution to carry out its operations, activities, or programs.
Multi-institutional privacy impact assessments (évaluations des facteurs relatifs à la vie privée multi-institutionnelles)
A privacy impact assessment that involves more than one government institution (see definition of privacy impact assessment).
New consistent use (nouvel usage compatible)
A consistent use that was not originally identified in the appropriate personal information bank (PIB) description.
Non-administrative purpose (fins non-administratives)
The use of personal information for a purpose that is not related to any decision-making process directly affecting the individual. This includes the use of personal information for such purposes as research, statistics, audit, and evaluation.
Personal information (renseignements personnels)
Information that is about an identifiable individual and recorded in any form, as defined in section 3 of the Privacy Act.
Personal information bank (PIB) (fichier de renseignements personnel)
A description of personal information that is organized and retrievable by a person's name or by an identifying number, symbol, or other particular assigned only to that person. The personal information described in the PIB has been used, is being used, or is available for an administrative purpose and is under the control of a government institution.
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels et les documents électroniques)
Supports and promotes electronic commerce by protecting personal information that is collected, used, or disclosed in certain circumstances and by providing for the use of electronic means to communicate or record information or transactions.
Policy (politique)
Formal direction that imposes specific responsibilities on departments and specifies the accountabilities of officials. Policies explain what deputy heads and their officials are expected to achieve.
Policy Suite Renewal Initiative (initiative de renouvellement des politiques)
An initiative launched by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Canada Public Service Agency to review and, where appropriate, reduce the number of Treasury Board management policies.
Privacy Act (Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels)
Protects the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a government institution and provides individuals with a right of access to that information.
Privacy impact assessment (évaluation des facteurs relatifs à la vie privée)
Is a policy process for identifying, assessing, and mitigating privacy risks. Government institutions are required to develop and maintain privacy impact assessments for all new or modified programs and activities that involve the use of personal information for an administrative purpose.
Privacy Commissioner (Commissaire à la protection de la vie privée)
Is an Officer of Parliament appointed by Governor in Council, whose main function is to investigate complaints made by individuals under the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Privacy protocol (protocol relatif à la protection des renseignements personnels)
Is a set of documented procedures to be followed when using personal information for such non-administrative purposes as research, statistics, audit, and evaluation. These procedures ensure that the individual's personal information is handled in a manner that complies with the principles of the Privacy Act.
Privacy request (demande de renseignements personnels)
Is a request made under the Privacy Act by or on behalf of an individual for his or her own personal information.
Program or activity (programme ou activité)
Is, for the purposes of the appropriate collection, use, or disclosure of personal information by government institutions subject to information- and privacy-related policy, a program or activity that is authorized or approved by Parliament. Parliamentary authority is usually contained in an Act of Parliament or subsequent regulations. Parliamentary authority can also be in the form of approval of expenditures proposed in the Estimates and as authorized by an Appropriations Act. Also included in this definition are any activities conducted as part of the administration of the program.
Reading room (salle de lecture)
A facility where a government institution's manuals can be inspected by the public and where requesters may examine records released under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act.
Record (document)
Means any documentary material, regardless of medium or form.
Record number (numéro du document)
A unique identifying number created by each institution for each Class of Record description using the institution's Federal Identity Program acronym (or commonly used acronym) and the institution's reference number.
Records Disposition Authority (RDA) (Autorisation de disposition des documents)
An instrument that Library and Archives Canada uses to enable government institutions to dispose of records that no longer have operational value.
Requester or Applicant (demandeur / auteur d'une demande)
A Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or any individual or corporation present in Canada who requests access to a record under the Access to Information Act; a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or any individual present in Canada who requests access to a record under the Privacy Act.
Retention and disposal standards (normes de conservation et de destruction)
Identifies the length of time records are maintained under the control of an institution and the point at which the final disposition is applied.
Severability (prélèvements)
Refers to the provision found in section 25 of the Access to Information Act whereby an exemption cannot be claimed for an entire record when some of the record's information is not exempt from disclosure, as long as this information "can be reasonable severed" from the record.
Social insurance number (SIN) (numéro d'assurance sociale (NAS))
Is a number suitable for use as a file number or account number or for data-processing purposes, as defined in subsection 138(3) of the Employment Insurance Act. Under paragraph 3(c) of the Privacy Act, the SIN is an identifying number and is therefore considered to be personal information.
Standard (norme)
A set of mandatory operational or technical measures, procedures, or practices for government-wide use. Standards provide more detailed information on how managers and functional specialists are expected to conduct certain aspects of their duties.
Standard Personal Information Bank (fichier de renseignements personnels ordinaire)
A type of personal information bank that describes personal information about members of the general public and federal employees (current and former) that may be found in records created, collected and maintained by most federal government institutions to support common internal functions, programs and activities.
Standard Classes of Records (catégories de documents ordinaires)
Descriptions of records created, collected and maintained by most federal government institutions in support of common internal functions, programs and activities such as Human Resources Management, Materiel Management, and General Administrative Services.
Statistical report (rapport statistique)
Provides yearly statistics on the activities of federal institutions with respect to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The reports also form the statistical portion of the government institutions' annual reports to Parliament.
Third party (tiers)
Means either a government institution or any person, group of persons, or organization other than the person that made the access request.
Tools (instrument)
Resource materials for ATIP practitioners, including guides, recognized best practices, and handbooks, among others.
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