Foreign nationals outside Canada now have the same access rights as Canadian citizens and permanent residents, as well as federal inmates and anyone else physically located in Canada.
Now that the Privacy Act Extension Order No. 3, SOR/2021-174, has come into effect, non-Canadians outside the country are now able to gain access to their information, as well as request corrections where it is believed there is an error or omission. They will also have the right to engage the Privacy Commissioner of Canada if they have a complaint with respect to the exercise of these rights.
The change, effective July 13, 2022, means that foreign nationals outside Canada no longer have to employ a third-party, often for a fee, to make a request under federal access legislation for the personal information being held in their file by a federal institution.
Being able to make an access request on their own behalf should give foreign nationals more timely (and affordable) access to their own information.
Extension Order No. 3 also means foreign nationals abroad will now have the right to submit complaints to the federal Privacy Commissioner if they experience delays, feel they are being denied access, or if their information is inaccurate and their request for correction is denied.
Extending universal access to personal information holdings brings Canada’s federal public sector privacy regime closer in line with major global counterparts, such as the European Union and the United Kingdom.