Everybody has a right to privacy and there are laws to protect you.

Privacy begins at home. People should not touch or take your things, they should knock before coming into your home or your room, and have to wait for your permission to do so. No one is allowed to come into your room when you are getting dressed and you have the right to privacy of your body. People need to ask permission before they touch you. You have the right not to answer questions or give information about yourself. You have a right to decide who knows information about you.

These rules apply in the workplace, hospital, school, care facility, bank, social services agency, church and lawyer’s office.

The law that protects you from invasion of privacy comes in two parts.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) applies to more than 2900 public bodies such as ministries, local governments, schools, hospitals, local police forces.

The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) applies to more than 300,000 private organizations like corporations, non profit societies, registered charities, and professional associations.

You have the right to request access to your records in both the public and private sector, like at the hospital, your school, your care facility, or the social services office.

Under the law your doctor cannot give anyone your health care information without your knowledge and permission. This includes your parents. You have to give the doctor written permission to share it with anyone.

Hospitals and Health Authorities Hospital and health authorities can sometimes put “flags” on your health record in the hospital to prevent a specific person from seeing it. If you want to do that, you must contact the privacy officer of the health authority that runs the hospital.

Sometimes you just don’t want your doctor including certain information in a file about you that is shared with another health care provider. If you do not want someone to see your personal health information that is in your doctor’s file, you should tell the doctor. They may want you to give them the instructions in writing

If you tell your doctor that you are planning to hurt yourself, or planning to hurt someone else, the doctor is required by law to tell someone and to get you some help.

When the government asks for your personal information, there are rules about how they can collect it. You have the right to know how and why your personal information is being used. This information must be secured against unauthorized access. If you think the information they have is not correct, you have the right to request a correction.

If someone takes a picture or video of you, when you are in a private home, your back yard, or attending a private meeting, you have the right to say if they can use this in public, like on a website, poster, or video. If they want to use your name or tell your story you have to give them permission, on a consent form, in writing.

If you are in a public place, you have no right to privacy and people can take your picture without your permission. If you are at a public meeting and speak up about something, people can tell others what you said. The law says it must be truthful about what you said or did.

Identity theft is the unauthorized collection and use of your personal information, usually by criminals for illegal purposes. They commit crimes such as fraud and theft in your name. the identity thief may take over your bank account, transfer bank balances, apply for loans or credit cards, buy cars, houses or go on vacation in your name. They can even commit crimes in your name. If this happens you can be left with all their bills they incurred in your name, even though you did not know about it.

To stop this from happening, be careful about sharing information. Do not provide personal information on line. Do not let anyone know your social insurance number as it is one of the most important keys to your identity and do not give your credit card number out over the phone, by email, or online unless you know the person or know the communication is secure.

Pay attention to your bills. If they don’t arrive when they should, contact the companies to make sure they have not been sent to a different address. If your credit cards or identification is lost or stolen, immediately notify the police and the credit card companies.

Ask to see your credit report once a year to make sure it does not have debts or activities on it that you did not know about.

Choose difficult passwords and don’t write them down and leave them in your purse or wallet.

Be careful what you throw out because criminals will go through your garbage to find identifying information like credit card bills or offers, bank statements and insurance forms.

If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, contact the local police and make a report. Contact your bank and credit card company. Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit report.

Equifax Toll Free  1-800-465-7166

TransUnion Canada Toll Free 1-877-525-3823

Email the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at info@antifraudcentre.ca