BC Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner

New Guidelines: How to Keep Personal Information Safe Away from the Office and Time Extensions for Public Bodies

Private organizations and public bodies alike may wish to take note of new guidelines published by the BC Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) on keeping personal information secure while away from the office. Protecting Personal Information Away from the Office contains a series of helpful tips to determine what sort of personal information needs to leave the office and, if so, how to secure it.

With the increasing use of smartphones, laptops and mobile offices, the security of personal information on mobile devices while in transit has never been more important. Public bodies and private organizations are responsible for establishing reasonable security arrangements for personal information in their custody or control, including when employees take or use personal information outside the office environment.

Public bodies may also wish to review a new OIPC publication on requests for time extensions to respond to access requests. Public bodies are permitted to extend the response deadline by up to 30 days unilaterally, but must seek the permission of the Commissioner for any further time extensions. Based on its observation that there has been a significant increase in these requests, the OIPC has issued guidance on not only what to include in these requests but also what it considers to be legitimate reasons to seek an extension. These guidelines offer public bodies assistance in framing their extension requests to maximize the opportunity for success.

Guidance documents published by the BC Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) can be found here.

Questions relating to the content of this article may be referred to Frances Doyle.