Section 28 - Accuracy of personal information

Overview

Section 28 requires that public bodies ensure that the personal information within their custody or control that they use, or that is used on their behalf to make a decision about an individual is correct and comprehensive.

Section Reference

Section 28 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

If

(a) an individual's personal information is in the custody or under the control of a public body, and

(b) the personal information will be used by or on behalf of the public body to make a decision that directly affects the individual,

the public body must make every reasonable effort to ensure that the personal information is accurate and complete.

Summary

This section places the onus upon the public body to ensure that the information it relies on, or that is relied upon on the behalf of the public body, to make a decision about an individual, is accurate and complete.

Policy

  1. A public body must make every reasonable effort to ensure that the personal information it collects or causes to be collected is accurate and complete.

  2. A public body must fully document and keep current the processes it uses, or that are used on behalf of a public body, to make a decision affecting an individual.

Procedure

All avenues should be explored in verifying the accuracy and completeness of the personal information held by the public body on or behalf of the public body, including:

  • periodic checks, directly with the individual the information is about or using other authorized avenues, to ensure the information is still current and valid;

  • thorough reviews of applications to ensure all questions are answered completely (e.g., applications for employment or social assistance);

  • documenting when personal information is collected or received; and,

  • processes for correcting personal information (see section 29).

Interpretation

Interpretation Note 1:

To ensure compliance with section 28, a public body's efforts or those of a person acting on behalf of a public body must be thorough and comprehensive.  The public body must explore all reasonable avenues in verifying the accuracy and completeness of the personal information.

"Decision that directly affects the individual"

"Every reasonable effort"

Examples

  • If an individual’s date of birth is an important criterion in determining eligibility for a benefit, any appropriate supporting documents such as birth or baptismal certificates should be reviewed.

  • If an individual’s assets, training, job experience or other attributes play a part in a decision, the public body should verify the date on which the form was completed or the date on which an interview took place to ensure that the information is as recent as possible and that the individual’s circumstances have not changed.  This may mean calling or interviewing the person again to find out if the information is still valid or asking the person to fill in another form.

Sectional Index of Commissioner's Orders

For orders organized by the Act's section numbers, Click here.

For a summary of Commissioner's orders and policy interpretation of key points, Click here.

Last updated: July 19, 2007