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Condominium Corporations and Privacy

Condominium Corporations and Privacy Obligations

All condominium corporations are subject to the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA"). PIPA may also apply to board members when they act on behalf of the condominium corporation. The legal obligations under PIPA also extend to any management company retained to fulfill any functions on behalf of the condominium corporation.

In order to meet their obligations under PIPA, condominium corporations are required to establish a privacy policy, and appoint a Privacy Officer.

A privacy policy is intended to provide the organization with guidance on how to meet their obligations under PIPA. A privacy policy does not need to ensure perfect compliance in all scenarios. Instead, the privacy policy, like many other privacy-related concepts, need only be reasonable.

A Privacy Officer is a designated individual who is in charge of ensuring the corporation is in compliance with PIPA. The Privacy Officer is entrusted with personal information collected by the corporation.

Collection, Use, Disclosure and Retention of Personal Information

A condominium corporation is in a position to collect vast amounts of information not only from residents, but from anyone who steps foot on the premises. From a rental application to a video capturing an individual entering the building, to details about all the owners - all the information gathered and obtained by the corporation must be dealt with in accordance with PIPA and other governing legislation as applicable.

One important criteria in collection of personal information is that it can only be collected for a reasonable purpose. Further, the collection of information can only be to an extent reasonably necessary to accomplish that purpose (Section 11 PIPA).

In addition to the reasonable purpose, personal information can only be collected from the individual with their consent (barring certain limited exceptions).

Consent can be given in writing or orally, and may be implied where information is voluntarily provided and it is reasonable that a person would voluntarily provide that information.

Individuals whose information is being collected must be notified either in writing or verbally before or at the time of collection. There are specific notice requirements which must be adhered to. This can include requiring signs for cameras on common property. There may be multiple uses for the information collected, but these uses must be disclosed in advance as information cannot be collected without consent, save for certain limited exceptions.

A condominium corporation may collect personal information for the purpose of enforcing bylaws as this would be considered an investigation under PIPA. However, there should be clear notice if this will be the case.

A condominium corporation which has collected personal information within the PIPA framework may disclose that information only for a reasonable purpose and only to the extent that is reasonable for meeting that purpose. Generally, consent is required.

Personal information collected can only be retained for so long as the organization reasonably requires the personal information to fulfill a legal or business purpose. At the close of this period, the organization must destroy the records containing personal information or render them non-identifying (Section 35(2) PIPA).

Access to Personal Information

Individuals have a right to request access to personal information collected by the condominium corporation. Other entities may also be able to access records in certain cases.

It is advisable that a corporation include the disclosure policies in their privacy policy, which should be voted on at the AGM.

Who can put up a camera, and where?

It has become very easy and affordable to purchase cameras. Outdoor wireless Blink cameras, Ring doorbell Cameras, Ecobee integrated cameras...the list continues to grow. However, not every owner has an unfettered right to place cameras wherever they choose. Each project is different, so a policy needs to be tailored to the project. Boards almost certainly have a duty to order or effect the removal of cameras which owners put up but which are not in compliance with the Condominium Property Act and / or privacy legislation.

Given the complexity of these matters, we encourage Boards to retain counsel to advise on a Privacy Policy and a Video Surveillance / Camera Policy. Additionally, the corporation's bylaws should be reviewed to assess what if anything is said with respect to the installation of cameras, so the Board can be properly apprised as to any risks or issues within the bylaws.

We would be happy to further discuss this.

David van Leenen
Barrister & Solicitor, Managing Partner
Direct: 780 917 6933
Email: dvanleenen@sharekco.com
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