Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (British Columbia)

Overview

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Privacy Legislation in British Columbia is comprised of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, RSBC 1996, c 165 (“FOIPPA”) (applicable to public bodies), the Personal Information Protection Act, RSBC 2003, c 63 (“PIPA”) (applicable to organizations as defined under PIPA) and related E-Health (Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy) Act, SBC 2008, c 38 (which only applies to certain Ministry databases or health information banks as designated by the Minister).

FOIPPA applies to the collection, access, use, disclosure and protection of personal information (including health information) and the measures to be taken to safeguard such information.

Customers are always in control of how they manage and access their content stored on AWS. AWS does not have visibility into or knowledge of what customers are uploading onto its network, including whether or not that data is deemed subject to FOIPPA, and customers are responsible for ensuring their own compliance with FOIPPA. AWS customers can design and implement an AWS environment, and use AWS services in a manner that satisfies their obligations under BC Privacy laws.

The AWS Canada (Central) Region is currently available for multiple services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS). For a complete list of AWS Regions and services, visit the Global Infrastructure page. Canada Region pricing is available on the detail page of each service, which can be found through our Products and Services page.

  • What is PIPEDA and what is FOIPPA? What is the relationship between these laws?

    The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) is a Canadian federal law that applies to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities in all Canadian provinces. Certain Canadian provinces have also adopted their own general privacy laws for both the public and private sector, as well as privacy laws specific to personal information (including health information). The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, RSBC 1996, c 165 (“BC FOIPPA”) is privacy law in British Columbia (“BC”), which applies to the collection, access, use, disclosure and protection of personal information (including health information) by public bodies within British Columbia and the measures to be taken to safeguard such information. BC FOIPPA applies to Personal information, which means “recorded information about an identifiable individual other than contact information”. A “public body” means “a ministry of the BC government; an agency, board, commission, corporation, office or other body designated in Schedule 2 of BC FOIPPA or a “local public body”. A “local public body” includes local government, health care, social services and educational bodies.

    Whether, and the extent to which, an AWS customer is subject to PIPEDA, BC FOIPPA or any other Canadian provincial privacy requirements may vary depending on the customer’s business.

    Other organizations may be subject to PIPEDA or provincial privacy laws as well. For more information about PIPEDA, please visit the AWS website here.

    Customers should consult their own legal advisors to understand the privacy laws to which they are subject.

  • How can customers comply with BC FOIPPA on AWS?

    AWS customers can design and implement an AWS environment, and use AWS services in a manner that satisfies their obligations under BC FOIPPA.

    Customers that are subject to BC FOIPPA may have to comply with requirements relating to the collection, access, use, disclosure and protection of personal information (including health information). AWS gives customers control over how their content is stored or processed when using AWS services, including control over how that content is secured and who can access that content. AWS provides services that customers can configure and use to aid in the security of personal information they store on AWS, and it is the responsibility of the customer to architect a solution that meets applicable privacy requirements.

    Note that there is no officially recognized “certification” for BC FOIPPA compliance in the same way that an entity might be SOC, PCI, or FedRAMP certified or authorized. Instead, AWS offers its customers considerable information regarding the policies, processes, and controls established and operated by AWS. AWS provides workbooks, whitepapers, and best practice guides on our AWS Compliance Resources Page and customers have on-demand access to the AWS third-party audit reports in AWS Artifact.

  • Does AWS access personal information that customers put on AWS?

    Customers are always in control of how they manage and access their content stored on AWS. AWS provides an advanced set of access, encryption, and logging features to help customers manage their access and content. AWS does not access or disclose customer content unless at the direction of the customer, or if necessary to comply with the law or a legally valid and binding order of a governmental or regulatory body having jurisdiction. Unless AWS is legally prohibited from doing so or there is a clear indication of illegal conduct in connection with the use of AWS services, AWS notifies customers before disclosing customer content so they can seek protection from disclosure. For more information, visit our Data Privacy FAQ.

  • Does BC FOIPPA prohibit an AWS customer from having data in transit or at rest outside of BC or outside of Canada?

    Customers should consult their own legal advisors when seeking to comply with privacy laws. BC FOIPPA legislation may require custodians to put certain measures in place to protect personal information in their custody or control such as administrative, technical and physical safeguards. Personal information that is to be stored, accessed, used, or disclosed outside of BC or Canada may be subject to certain obligations under BC FOIPPA prior to such storage, use or disclosure outside of BC or Canada. It is the responsibility of each customer to determine whether transferring and storing data outside of BC or outside of Canada satisfies their security and privacy obligations under BC FOIPPA.

    AWS customers should consider whether PIPEDA or the laws of any other Canadian provinces may apply, and review such laws for any data residency limitations. AWS customers choose the region(s) in which their content will be stored. AWS will not move or replicate customer content outside of the customer’s chosen region(s) without the customer’s consent.

  • Does BC FOIPPA require that personal information be encrypted?

    Under BC FOIPPA, there is no specific requirement to encrypt personal information. However, entities subject to BC FOIPPA are required to take steps to safeguard personal information and it is the responsibility of each customer to determine whether encryption is appropriate to satisfy its security obligations. AWS recommends that personal information always be encrypted at rest and in transit as a best practice.

  • How can customers get information to complete a Privacy Impact Assessment in connection with using AWS?

    AWS makes available a wide range of materials to help customers understand the AWS environment and security controls. AWS provides customers with on-demand access to third-party audit reports (such as our SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports) in AWS Artifact. AWS also provides workbooks, whitepapers, and best practices on our AWS Compliance Resources page about how to run workloads on AWS in a secure manner.

  • How do customers implement auditing and logging of their environment on AWS?

    As part of the Shared Responsibility Model, customers should consider implementing auditing and logging across their AWS environment in a manner sufficient to meet their compliance requirements. AWS offers services that make scalable logging and log analytics architectures simpler to implement. AWS also has a variety of partners in the AWS Marketplace that provide security logging solutions. Refer to this AWS Security-Logging Capabilities page for more information on how to implement logging on AWS.

  • Can you provide examples of other public sector organizations in Canada utilizing AWS?

    You can read about AWS in Canada for public sector here. Additional information on healthcare compliance on the AWS Cloud can be found here.

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