The OIPC is the regulator of Alberta's access to information and privacy laws - the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), Health Information Act (HIA) and Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The Commissioner's responsibilities are set out in those laws. Through the Commissioner, the OIPC:
Note: "Organizations" describes public bodies, health custodians and private sector organizations.
- Reviews how organizations respond to access to information (or freedom of information) requests under FOIP, HIA and PIPA. A review occurs if someone is dissatisfied with the organization's response and makes a request for review.
- Reviews privacy complaints submitted by individuals against organizations under FOIP, HIA and PIPA.
- May review any organization's compliance with FOIP, HIA and PIPA, even without a request for review or privacy complaint. These reviews may result in public investigation reports.
- Reviews privacy impact assessments (PIAs) submitted by organizations under FOIP, HIA, and PIPA. There is a requirement under HIA for custodians to submit PIAs.
- Reviews privacy breach reports submitted by organizations under FOIP, HIA and PIPA. There are requirements under HIA and PIPA for custodians and private sector organizations to report breaches to the OIPC.
- Provides comments and recommendations to governments on proposed legislation, policies or programs that may affect access to information and privacy rights.
- Develops education resources and makes presentations to various groups about the laws and the OIPC's work.
This list does not include all of the OIPC's responsibilities. More information is available in annual reports or by reading FOIP, HIA and PIPA.
The Commissioner may also review a decision of the Registrar of Motor Vehicle Services to grant or deny access to personal driving and motor vehicle information under the Access to Motor Vehicle Information Regulation (AMVIR).
What We Do Not or Cannot Do
- The OIPC cannot issue monetary awards and cannot issue fines.
- The OIPC cannot force anyone to be disciplined, suspended or fired from their job. Decisions related to job discipline are made by the employer and the OIPC cannot change those decisions.
- The OIPC cannot change a decision made by another body or administrative tribunal about providing a benefit or issuing a penalty, such as decisions made by the Workers’ Compensation Board, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Maintenance Enforcement, and so on.
- The OIPC cannot represent individuals or organizations. In other words, the OIPC is neutral.
- The OIPC cannot review the actions of individuals as private citizens.
- The OIPC does not release records, breach reports or privacy impact assessments that are submitted by organizations to the OIPC for review.
- The OIPC does not store records on behalf of the Government of Alberta or any other organization.
- The OIPC does not have authority to draft or change laws.