Privacy & Accessing Information

PIPA and Condominium Corporations

Condominium Corporations are subject to PIPA

Condominium Corporations in Alberta are subject to the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) which is consent based legislation; in most cases Condominium Corporations must obtain consent for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. In addition, PIPA also provides individuals with the right to access their own personal information. Copies of the legislation and regulations can be found here.

Condominium Corporations are established under the Condominium Property Act (CPA). They are considered organizations that donot meet the definition of a non-profit organization under PIPA.   

Condominium Corporations must develop and follow policies and practices to meet their obligations under PIPA. They must also designate an individual who is responsible for ensuring the Condominium Corporation complies with PIPA. This person is often referred to as a Privacy Officer.

The powers and duties of a Condominium Corporation are exercised and performed by the Board of Directors. PIPA does not apply to private individuals in their personal life but it does apply to individuals acting in their capacity as a Member of the Board of Directors.

Collecting, using, and disclosing personal information in order to manage a Condominium Corporation

PIPA permits an organization to collect, use, and disclose personal information for purposes that are reasonable and only to the extent that is reasonable for that purpose. What is reasonable depends on what is appropriate in the circumstances.

The Condominium Corporation will normally need an individual’s consent to collect, use, and disclose their personal information. There are limited and specific situations when consent is not required and these are set out in PIPA; this includes when there is authorization under the CPA.

 For example: Consent is not required for the collection and use of personal information if the CPA or another enactment authorizes it or if it is required for an investigation or a legal proceeding.

A  Condominium Corporation may hire a management company to carry out some of its functions. In this case, the property management company acts as an agent of the Condominium Corporation to manage the condominium and is subject to PIPA for the responsibilities it undertakes on behalf of the Corporation.

Notifying owners and residents about the collection of their personal information

Notification is required any time personal information is collected directly from an individual and it can be written or oral. The Condominium Corporation must notify individuals at the time of collection:

  • The purpose of the collection; and
  • The name or position name/title of a person who can answer questions about the collection on behalf of the Condominium Corporation.

The Privacy Officer of the Condominium Corporation may have this responsibility.

 For example: A Pet Approval Application Form would have a written notification while an opinion telephone survey can verbally notify participants when input is collected.

Condominium Corporations can collect, use, and disclose participants’ personal information in a record of a meeting of the Board of Directors or the Owners at an Annual General Meeting (AGM)

The Condominium Corporation can collect, use, and disclose personal information of participants in a record of the meeting minutes. Generally, individuals who participate in AGM discussions are considered to have consented to the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information in relation to their participation in the meeting.

For a meeting of the Board of Directors, attendees who provide their names and other personal information as part of a recorded meeting should be provided with notification. Any notes or electronic recordings taken at a meeting should only be kept until the minutes are approved, then destroyed.

Collection, use, and disclosure of personal information of participants in attendance at a meeting of the Board of Directors or Annual General Meeting

Purpose

Personal Information

Quorum

It would be reasonable to collect personal information to show, for example, that there was a quorum for a meeting, who moved and seconded a motion, and that a vote was properly conducted.

If the roll is called or proxies are certified, an individual who volunteers his or her personal information is considered to have consented to the collection, use, and disclosure of that information. This is also the case if an individual makes a motion or participates in a vote.

Motion

An individual making or seconding a motion consents to the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information being recorded in the minutes.

An Individual Leaving a Meeting

It would be reasonable to record the name of the individual and the unit number because the information is needed for procedural reasons, such as documenting that there was a quorum when a vote was conducted. If the roll is called to establish that a meeting was properly convened, an individual who volunteers his or her personal information is considered to have consented to the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information for that purpose.

Proxy Vote

PIPA does not affect the Condominium Corporations’ use of proxy votes at meetings. An owner or mortgagee may exercise theright to vote by proxy according to the CPA. PIPA does not affect this process.

It is a good idea to keep a note of what information was used to authenticate theproxy and verify the identity of the proxy holder.

Collection, use, and disclosure of an individual’s personal information in a recorded meeting of the Board of Directors

The CPA establishes what information the Condominium Corporation can collect, use, and disclose to owners. Personal information, such as name and unit number, required to be recorded in minutes for undertaking the repair and maintenance requirements of the Condominium Corporation is included in what the CPA authorizes. Where the CPA provides this authorization PIPA supports the collection, use, and disclosure. This is not considered a breach of privacy.

If personal information related to bylaw enforcement or other matters unrelated to the business of the Condominium Corporation is collected and/or used by the Board of Directors, it is not necessarily reasonable to disclose this information beyond that use. When personal information related to these matters is recorded in meeting minutes, further disclosure is not authorized.

PIPA also allows an individual to make a written request for their own personal information held by a Condominium Corporation. A response would not include the personal information of others.

Each Condominium Corporation should include how the disclosure of information is managed in its policies and practices. The Privacy Officer of the Condominium Corporation may have this responsibility.

 For example:  A Condominium Corporation may disclose personal information related to authorized repairs for flood damage to a specific unit when an owner or mortgagee asks for copies of minutes.

 However, it would not be reasonable to release the recorded personal information about dog barking bylaw enforcement discussions. Therefore, the personal information of all parties involved should not be disclosed, unless the disclosure is to someone asking for their own personal information.

Keeping records of concerns or activities and providing access to letters of complaints about a unit

Records containing personal information pertaining to a particular unit should only be kept for long as they are reasonably needed for business or legal purposes and securely disposed of when no longer required.

 For example: Records containing personal information of a previous owner or renter should be destroyed when no longer needed.

PIPA allows an individual to make a written request for access to his or her own personal information. When requesting information about complaints however, he or she may not be entitled to all the information held by a Condominium Corporation. An individual is not entitled to any information about another individual unless that individual consents to the disclosure of the information.

There may be other information that the Condominium Corporation is allowed or required to withhold as set out in PIPA, such as a legal opinion. The Condominium Corporation should remove any information it is not disclosing before giving the remainder of the information to the requester.

 For example: A letter of complaint that contains information that may directly or indirectly identify the complainant should not be shared with the owner who is the subject of the complaint, regardless of whether a formal request for access to the information is made.

It is a best practice to keep records of personal information found in complaints and bylaw enforcement relating to a particular unit separate from other records related to the management of the Condominium Corporation to ensure each is appropriately managed.

A Condominium Corporation may establish informal processes for access to an individual’s own information in addition to the formal request process under PIPA.

Condominium Corporations can allow a mortgagee to inspect the records of the Corporation

The CPA allows a mortgagee to request and/or inspect the records, account statements, and meeting minutes relating to the management of the Condominium Corporation. PIPA does not affect this and supports the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information where authorized by the CPA.

The Condominium Corporation should require evidence that the person making the request for this information is in fact a mortgagee of that unit before the information is disclosed. The Condominium Corporation should document that the information was verified and keep a note of the information that was disclosed.

 For example: Providing a mortgagee with an Estoppel certificate pertaining to the unit.

 

The use of personal information by owners to convene a meeting of the Condominium Corporation in order to initially elect a Board of Directors

The CPA requires a Condominium Corporation to have a Board of Directors. An owner may convene a meeting of the Condominium Corporation to elect a Board if the developer has not done so.

PIPA does not apply to an individual owner acting in his or her personal capacity.

Collection and disclosure of personal information by a Condominium Corporation when conducting a signed special resolution

The collection of the voter’s signature is considered a collection of personal information with their consent deemed to be received under PIPA, since the voter has volunteered to provide his or her signature for the resulting use and disclosure that would be considered reasonable for that purpose.

In order to show that a special resolution was passed by the required number of eligible voters, the Condominium Corporation should retain the signed resolutions to show that the special resolution was “properly passed.” The vote results and voter names recorded in the minutes may be disclosed under PIPA.

Collection, use, and disclosure of personal information to verify eligibility of potential Board Members

In order to comply with the CPA, it is reasonable that the Condominium Corporation verifies the eligibility of individuals who volunteer to stand for election to the Board, as set out in the bylaws. As such, Condominium Corporations can collect the required personal information to determine eligibility.

The Board can consider individuals who provide their name and personal information for purposes of standing for election to have implied their consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of their information for this purpose.

Disclosure of Board of Directors’ contact information upon request, in newsletters, or on a web site

The names and contact information of the members of the Board of Directors can be disclosed as business contact information under PIPA. A Board member can decide what contact information to provide for these purposes such as which telephone number he or she wishes to use for Condominium Corporation business. The collection, use or disclosure must be limited to only those purposes of enabling the individual to be contacted in relation to his or her business responsibilities.

Board members’ names and addresses are also filed with Land Titles and members of the public may obtain a copy of the filed “Notice of Change of Directors” form.

 For example: It is reasonable that owners need contact information to conduct business with Board members. It is an option that contact with the Board may be through a management company.

 

Collection of outstanding debts, investigations, legal proceedings, and arbitrations by the Condominium Corporation

A Board of Directors or management company, as an agent of the Board, may collect, use, and disclose personal information to:

  • Collect fees levied or recover costs from current or former owners or the mortgagee or redirect payment of rent to the Condominium Corporation.
  • Comply with a court order or for the purposes of an investigation or civil, criminal, administrative proceeding or investigating bylaw enforcement.
  • Resolve a dispute through an arbitrator or mediator.

PIPA permits the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information without consent for these purposes.

 For example: Disclosing personal information to an investigator reviewing improper conduct by the Condominium Corporation.

 

Collection, use, and disclosure of personal information of tenants renting units in a Condominium

The Condominium Corporation is permitted by the CPA to collect, use, and disclose the personal information of tenants and owners where an owner rents out his or her unit. PIPA permits the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in accordance with another Act.

 For example: Using name and address of the owner to servedocuments or notify them of any action relating to eviction of their tenant would be authorized under PIPA.

 

Use of a video surveillance system by the Condominium Corporation

Condominium Corporations can use video surveillance systems only in common areas. Residents and guests must be notified that the area is under video surveillance, and the reasons for the use and possible disclosure of the video surveillance may also be provided.

Information Access and Protection, Service Alberta

Website: http://pipa.alberta.ca

Phone: 780-644-PIPA (7472)
Toll free in Alberta dial first:310-0000

E-mail: pspinfo@gov.ab.ca