1. Does the Bank of Canada collect personal information about an individual’s active bank account at a financial institution?
The Bank of Canada does not collect any personal information from financial institutions or any information about active bank accounts. As Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada is not a commercial institution and is not involved in the regulation or administration of commercial banks. Day-to-day regulation is the responsibility of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. If you have questions concerning your personal bank account, you may wish to contact your financial institution directly.
2. Does the Bank of Canada collect personal information about unclaimed bank balances?
Information about unclaimed bank balances or their owners is transferred to the Bank of Canada's custody from federally regulated financial institutions and is posted on the Bank’s web site. All balances if inactive for a period of 10 years, are transferred to the custody of the Bank of Canada, which, under the Bank Act, has the responsibility of paying out the unclaimed funds to the person entitled to receive payment of them upon proof of such entitlement. The Bank publishes information about the unclaimed balances including the creditor's name, last known address and balance amount for the purpose of helping individuals locate balances that may be owed them. The Privacy Act permits the disclosure of personal information for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled or for a use consistent with that purpose; where the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasions of privacy that could result from the disclosure, or where disclosure would clearly benefit the individual to whom the information relates.
It is not necessary to make a formal request under the Privacy Act for information relating to an unclaimed bank balance.
For additional information concerning unclaimed bank balances, please refer to the Bank of Canada website.
3. How can I find out about my Canada Savings Bonds?
Individuals who wish to inquire about the status of their Canada Savings Bonds or other Government of Canada securities, may do so informally by writing to or contacting Canada Savings Bonds as noted below. It is normally not necessary to make a formal request under the Privacy Act for this information. The Bank of Canada only collects personal information related to Canadians who hold Canada Savings Bonds.
Please be aware that in order for the Bank of Canada to release personal bondholder information to anyone other than the bondholder, we require the consent of the individual to whom the information relates or proof of the authority of the individual seeking access to the information.
Canada Savings Bonds
P.O. Box 2770, Station D
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J7
*Telecommunication device for the hearing impaired
4. How can I access government information under the Access to Information Act?
There is no central access to information site for government holdings. Each Crown Corporation, department and agency that is subject to the Act is responsible for maintaining its own Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office.
You must first determine if the Bank of Canada holds the documents you are seeking. For reference, you may wish to consult InfoSource, a directory of federal government institutions, their activities and their information holdings. InfoSource is available on the Government of Canada Internet site and may also be found in most libraries, constituency offices of Members of Parliament, all federal government departmental Access to Information and Privacy Offices, as well as at each location of the Bank of Canada.
Once you have determined that the Bank of Canada holds the information you are seeking, prepare a written request referring to the Act or complete the prescribed Access to Information Request Form; be as precise as possible. Also, include the $5 prescribed application fee (cheque or money order payable to the Bank of Canada) and send it to the Bank of Canada's ATIP Coordinator. Note that additional charges may be levied in keeping with the regulations of the Act.
5. Is there a cost to submit a request under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act?
Each request submitted under the Access to Information Act must be accompanied by a $5 application fee (cheque or money order payable to Bank of Canada). This application fee entitles you to 5 hours of search and preparation. However, additional charges may be applied during the course of processing your request. These additional charges may be related to search, preparation, computer processing, photocopying, etc. as identified in the Access to Information Regulations.
There are no fees associated with submitting a request under the Privacy Act.
6. What information is accessible under the Access to Information Act?
Records, regardless of the format, held under the control of a federal government institution (listed in Schedule 1 of the Act) are subject to the Access to Information Act. There are two exceptions: documents that are published or available for purchase and confidences of the Queen's Privy Council. Both are excluded and, therefore, are not subject to the Act. With respect to information contained in all other types of records, it may be subject to specific and limited exempting provisions (e.g. personal information, third-party confidential, solicitor–client privilege, etc.).
7. How can I access my personal information under the Privacy Act?
Each government institution is responsible for managing personal information collected during the course of its mandate. You must first determine if the Bank of Canada has your personal information. For reference, you may wish to consult InfoSource, a directory of federal government institutions, their activities and their information holdings. InfoSource is available on the Government of Canada Internet site and may also be found in most libraries, constituency offices of Members of Parliament, all federal government departmental Access to Information and Privacy Offices as well as at each location of the Bank of Canada.
Once you have determined if the Bank of Canada holds your personal information, prepare a written request or complete the prescribed Personal Information Request Form and clearly identify the information you are seeking. Forward your request to the Bank of Canada ATIP's Coordinator. Ensure that you have provided sufficient details to help the Bank of Canada retrieve all of your personal information. There is no fee associated with submitting a request under the Privacy Act.
8. Any tips before I begin?
- Ask if the information is available informally.
- Check the Bank of Canada website to see if someone has already asked that question. See a list of completed requests.
- Send your $5 application fee payable to Bank of Canada along with your Access to Information Act request. The Bank of Canada is not obliged to respond to your application if you have not paid the fee. There are no application fees for requests made under the Privacy Act.
- Be as precise as possible when identifying the information you request (InfoSource).
- Although no explanation of the reason for the request is required, it may help staff find the material you are seeking.
- Keep a copy of your request and all related correspondence until you have the information you want.
9. When can I expect a response to my request submitted under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act?
Both Acts allow for a legal response time of 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of an official request. The Acts also allow for legal extensions to this first 30 calendar-day response time. You will be notified should an extension of the response time be required under either Act.
10. What is the role of the Information Commissioner?
The Information Commissioner investigates complaints from persons who believe they have been denied rights under the Access to Information Act. The Commissioner is an independent ombudsman with strong investigative powers and mediates between complainants and government institutions. The Commissioner has the authority to make recommendations to government institutions, but cannot issue binding orders.
11. What is the role of the Privacy Commissioner?
The Privacy Commissioner investigates complaints and conducts audits under two federal laws; the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA); publishes information about personal information-handling practices in the public and private sectors; conducts research into privacy issues; and promotes awareness and understanding of privacy issues by the Canadian public.