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What is Personal Information?

Campus at Night

Protection of privacy legislation protects "personal information."

Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. It includes, among other things, a person’s name, address, telephone number, age, health, financial and educational information, and identifying numbers and symbols like a student number and employee number. This is not an exhaustive list. Any information about an identifiable individual is that person’s personal information, subject to limitations as set out in the ATIPPA, 2015 (Section 2) .

The University holds personal information belonging to students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and others. Sometimes personal information may be categorized as sensitive personal information. Most often, people consider their health information to be sensitive personal information; others may feel that their personal financial information is particularly sensitive. In terms of privacy risks like unauthorized access, credit card numbers and social insurance numbers are considered to be sensitive personal information.

Personal information is defined in Section 2 of ATIPPA, 2015. It reads:

"personal information" means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including

  • the individual's name, address or telephone number
  • the individual's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, or religious or political beliefs or associations
  • the individual's age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or family status
  • an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual
  • the individual's fingerprints, blood type or inheritable characteristics
  • information about the individual's health care status or history, including a physical or mental disability
  • information about the individual's educational, financial, criminal or employment status or history
  • the opinions of a person about the individual, and
  • the individual's personal views or opinions, except where they are about someone else.