Commissioner Releases Report into Complaint Regarding the Use of Personal Information

August 9, 2005

Commissioner Frank Work received a complaint against the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (“SAIT”). The Complainant questioned the documentation required by SAIT to support a name change and its use of a student’s social insurance number (SIN) to identify existing student records.

SAIT resolved the Complainant’s issue regarding documentation required for a name change on its own initiative. Therefore, no further action was required by the Commissioner’s Office on this matter.

The investigation found that SAIT is authorized to collect a student’s SIN for income tax purposes. The investigation also found that SAIT is authorized to collect personal information for identification purposes.  It is optional for a student to provide their SIN to SAIT as an identifier. The SIN is retained in the student records for SAIT’s use for income tax reporting and for identification. Therefore, SAIT’s use of the Complainant’s SIN to identify an existing student record is not a contravention of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.