Criminal Record Checks
Unlike the human rights legislation in other provinces, the Alberta Human Rights Act does not protect against discrimination on the basis of criminal record. You cannot file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission if a prospective employer requests information about previous criminal convictions or terminates your employment based on your criminal record. However, you may be entitled to file a complaint with the Alberta Privacy Commissioner if your current or prospective employer requests a criminal record search. Under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), employers are only permitted to collect and use information about an individual’s criminal record if it is reasonably necessary to establish your qualification for the position. For example, previous convictions relating to fraud or theft may be relevant if the position involves handling significant amounts of money.
Under the Protection for Persons In Care Act, a criminal record check is required before you can work or volunteer in a position providing health care or services relating to children or physical and psychological well being. Examples include seniors’ homes, women’s shelters, hospitals, supported living facilities, day cares, and addictions counselling centres.
Access and Protection of Personal Information
In Alberta, there are three statutes that protect your personal information and permit you to access personal information held by an organization. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) applies to information held by Government agencies. The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) applies to information held by private companies and non-profit organizations. The Health Information Act (HIA) applies to personal health information.
This legislation controls the manner in which personal information is collected, used, and disclosed. In most cases, organizations must have your consent to use, collect, or disclose personal information about you. An important exception in PIPA is that your employer may use, collect, and disclose personal information without your consent for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, or ending your employment relationship. However, your employer must demonstrate why it is reasonably necessary to use, collect or disclose the information.
You have the right to access to your personal information and request corrections if any of the information is inaccurate. If you suspect that your privacy rights have been violated, you are encouraged to first file a complaint with the institution or organization that your information was handled inappropriately. If you are not successful, you may contact the Office for the Information and Privacy Commissioner, which is the regulatory body for FOIPPA, HIA, and PIPA.