Commissioner Releases Investigation Report Regarding Privacy Complaint Against City of Calgary’s Fire Department

June 18, 2003

Frank Work, Information and Privacy Commissioner, received a privacy complaint regarding the amount of personal information collected by the City of Calgary’s Fire Department during its recruitment of firefighters.

The Fire Department requires that all candidates complete a Personal History Statement (previously referred to as the Personal Disclosure Form). The Complainant said the amount of personal information required by the Fire Department is “invasive” and questioned its authority to collect such information. The Complainant also questioned whether the information would be used and protected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“the FOIP Act”).

The investigation determined that section 33(c) of the FOIP Act authorizes the Fire Department to collect personal information that is relevant and necessary to its recruitment process. The collection of personal information from the Personal History Statement is part of the recruitment process for the Fire Department and is collected in accordance with the Fire Department’s authority under this section of the Act.

The investigation also determined that the information collected from the Personal History Statement is used for the purpose for which the information was collected, namely to screen and assess candidates’ suitability and eligibility for employment as firefighters. This is in accordance with section 39(1)(a) of the FOIP Act.

Lastly, the investigation found that the Fire Department has implemented reasonable security arrangements to protect personal information from unauthorized collection, use, disclosure or destruction as required under the FOIP Act.