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BCFSA is committed to protecting your privacy. This page summarizes BCFSA’s privacy policies and practices, including our website.
BC Financial Services Authority
600-750 West Pender Street
The designated Privacy Officer has overall authority for monitoring privacy management and compliance.
What is “personal information”?
“Personal information” is recorded information about an identifiable individual, such as an individual’s name, age, home address, or financial information. Business contact information, such as a position title, business address, or business phone number, is not considered “personal” information.
BCFSA collects, uses, and discloses personal information in accordance with the following statutes:
- Credit Union Incorporation Act (“CUIA”)
- Financial Institutions Act (“FIA”)
- Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FOIPPA”)
- Information Management Act (“IMA”)
- Insurance Act (“IA”)
- Insurance (Captive Company) Act (“ICCA”)
- Mortgage Brokers Act (“MBA”)
- Pension Benefits Standards Act (“PBSA”)
- Real Estate Development Marketing Act (“REDMA”)
- Real Estate Services Act (“RESA”)
- Strata Property Act (“SPA”)
Collecting personal information
BCFSA only collects information for the purposes permitted under FOIPPA or other applicable law and strives to limit any collection to what is relevant and necessary for BCFSA’s functions. When collecting personal information, BCFSA will explain why we need it and, whenever possible, collect it directly from you.
BCFSA may collect your personal information to:
- Process your licensing or registration application;
- Handle a complaint or investigate a regulatory matter;
- Administer your account in IRIS;
- Confirm your identity; or
- Contact and correspond with you, including sending you notifications and information you have requested.
BCFSA may sometimes indirectly collect personal information, including when:
- Assessing the suitability of a real estate licensee applicant or mortgage broker registrant;
- Investigating a concern or complaint; or
- As otherwise authorized by law.
Accessing or using personal information
BCFSA will only access or use personal information for the purpose it was collected, for a consistent purpose, as authorized by law, or with your consent for another purpose.
Wherever practicable, only those with a “need to know” will have access to your personal information and only to the minimum amount of personal information they require to perform their duties. All employees receive privacy training as part of the new employee orientation package and during periodic training updates.
Disclosing personal information
BCFSA does not sell personal information it collects and will only disclose your personal information for the purpose it was collected, for a consistent purpose, with your consent, or as otherwise authorized by law.
Storing, retaining, and safeguarding personal information
BCFSA makes reasonable security arrangements to protect your personal information against risks such as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, or disposal of personal information.
BCFSA will keep your personal information as long as we need it to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected. If BCFSA uses personal information to make a decision that directly affects you, BCFSA will keep that information for at least one year.
Service providers contracted by BCFSA are required to comply with FOIPPA and BCFSA’s privacy and security policies. All contracts entered into by BCFSA with service providers who may have access to personal or confidential information contain specific provisions requiring compliance with FOIPPA.
BCFSA considers privacy risks and conducts a privacy impact assessment when a new initiative that collects, uses, or discloses personal information is being planned.
BCFSA manages records, including records containing personal information, using administrative and operational records classification systems (ARCS/ORCS) in accordance with the IMA. ARCS and ORCS classify records by common subjects, define how long records of different classifications must be kept (retention schedules), and describe what must be done with records at the end of the retention period. We send records with enduring value to the BC Archives for permanent retention.
When destroying documents, we follow government standards designed to safeguard the confidentiality of personal information and to ensure obliteration.
Seeking correction of personal information
BCFSA makes reasonable efforts to ensure that the personal information it collects, uses, or discloses is accurate and complete. If you think there is a mistake or omission in the personal information BCFSA has about you, you may write to BCFSA asking us to correct any errors or omissions in your personal information. Specify the information you believe is missing or incorrect and include what you believe to be the correct information; BCFSA will then correct the personal information as soon as reasonably possible or annotate the reasons why the corrections cannot be made.
Managing privacy breaches
A privacy breach is any collection, use, disclosure, disposal, storage of, or access to personal information not authorized by FOIPPA. In the event of a privacy breach, we follow our response procedure:
- Contain & Report: the breach is immediately reported and all efforts are made to recover the information or remove unauthorized access to information.
- Evaluate Risks: the Privacy Officer reviews to determine what happened, the cause and extent of the breach, how many individuals have been affected, and what are the consequences to BCFSA and affected individuals.
- Notify: if affected individuals are at risk of serious harm, such as physical or financial harm, we are required to notify those individuals and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner under FOIPPA.
- Prevent: if applicable, the Privacy Officer will recommend best practices and provide guidance on how to avoid a repeat incident.
Requesting access to information
Under FOIPPA, individuals have the right to access information in the custody or control of BCFSA. If you would like to access personal information or records in our possession, you must make a written request. You can make a request using the fillable Freedom of Information Request for Access to Records form.
Please be specific in your request. In accordance with FOIPPA, processing fees can be applied if the retrieval and production of records exceeds three hours, so it is important to be as specific as possible in your request.
Make a formal FOI request
In order to request a record, submit a request in writing to BCFSA at [email protected] or by mail or in-person at:
Attn: Privacy Officer
BC Financial Services Authority
600-750 West Pender Street
Review and acknowledgment
Your request will be reviewed to determine whether the information you are seeking is routinely available, or if further searching, compiling, and review is required. We will contact you within one business day to confirm your request, provide you with a file number, and to advise of any delays we expect.
We will also provide details about how you can submit the $10.00 application fee. Payment of an application fee is required for all requests, except for requests for your own personal information, or where the request was transferred from another government body and you have already paid the application fee.
An Indigenous governing entity is not required to pay the application fee. An Indigenous governing entity “means an Indigenous entity that exercises governmental functions, and includes but is not limited to an Indigenous governing body as defined in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.”
BCFSA will respond to you within 30 business days of receiving your request or after receiving your application fee, as applicable. In some cases, we may extend the 30-day time period for responding to a request (for example, if you have not given enough detail to enable BCFSA to identify a requested record, or where a large volume of records has been requested). If this occurs, BCFSA will notify you as soon as possible stating the reason for the extension and when a response can be expected.
Gathering of information
Once your request is received, we will contact the appropriate department(s) to retrieve the records you are seeking. Your identity is kept confidential throughout the process. You will be advised if there is a large quantity of records, and/or if there are additional processing fees associated with your information request.
Review of information
We will review the information for completeness and privacy concerns. If there is information that we cannot provide, we will remove that information from the document and mark it with the relevant section(s) of FOIPPA to explain why it has been withheld. Those sections are called “exceptions to disclosure” and include the following categories of information:
- Policy advice or recommendations;
- Legal advice or information subject to solicitor-client privilege;
- Information harmful to law enforcement, investigations, or the safety or security of a property or system;
- Information harmful to intergovernmental relations or negotiations
- Information harmful to the financial or economic interests of a public body, or the ability of the B.C. government to manage the economy;
- Disclosure harmful to interests of an Indigenous people;
- Information harmful to individual or public safety;
- Information to be published or released within 60 days;
- Information harmful to the business interests of a third party; or
- Information harmful to a third party’s personal privacy.
Your formal request may be subject to additional fees. These fees are listed in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Regulation (gov.bc.ca). We will provide you with an estimate if it appears that your request may result in additional fees. Please note that we are prohibited from charging fees for requests for your own personal information.
Release of information
We prepare your information release and send it to you by email, mail, or secure file transfer, or advise you that it is ready to be picked up.
BCFSA may refuse access to certain records or personal information where authorized or required by law to refuse access. Where access is refused, you will be notified of this decision in writing and provided reasons for the refusal.
If you are dissatisfied with the results of an information request or if you are dissatisfied with the way BCFSA has handled your personal information, you may submit a complaint to BCFSA. BCFSA’s Privacy Officer will review all complaints and make every reasonable effort to resolve complaints.
You may also request a review, seek advice from, or file a written complaint with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (“OIPC”). The OIPC provides independent oversight and enforcement of BC’s access and privacy laws.
The OIPC ensures that your rights under FOIPPA are protected and that disputes are resolved in a fair and unbiased manner.
Complaints and review requests can be sent to:
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
PO Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt
4th Floor, 947 Fort Street
Victoria, BC V8V 3K3
Telephone number: (250) 387-5629
Facsimile number: (250) 387-1696
When you visit BCFSA’s website, the website automatically collects a limited amount of information essential for the operation, security, and reporting analytics of the site. Some of this information (e.g., browser type) does not identify who you are, while other information, such as your IP address, may identify you.