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Standard Personal Information Bank

What Is a Standard Personal Information Bank?

A standard personal information bank (PIB) is a collection of personal information about members of the public and current and former employees at the federal level. For example, “Relocation Personal Information Bank” or “Library Services Personal Information Bank.” 

PIBs are controlled and used by government institutions. 

In Canada, government institutions must publish a directory listing the institution’s personal information banks. 

This includes the title and location of the PIB, categories of individuals whose personal information is included, the kind of personal information contained, the authority that collects the personal information, why the personal information was collected/compiled, and how the information is being used/disclosed. 

These PIB directories exist to let the public know what kind of personal information a government body might have about them. Individuals can request to see their personal information and, if it’s misleading/inaccurate, ask to correct it. 

Individuals can also make general information requests, i.e., records that don’t contain personal information. 

Third-party definition 

A personal information bank that is used by a federal institution for a program or activity that exists within most federal institutions. – Government of Canada 

Accessing Your Personal Information In a Personal Information Bank 

Identify the personal information bank likely to contain the information you want to access and find the name, address, and phone number of that PIB’s Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator. 

Next, you can call the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator to see if you can access the information without filing a formal request. 

If you can’t get the information you need through a phone call, you can either fill out the Access to Information Form/Personal Information Request Form detailing which records you want to access or write a letter to the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator. 

You’ll need to include a $5 fee for accessing general information. There’s no fee for accessing your personal information. 

The government institution has to respond to your request in 30 days or ask for an extension (30 days or a “reasonable period”). 

If your request is successful, you will need to verify that you are the person in the records you seek to access. 

Conversely, if you receive a refusal of access, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner. However, note that there are some exemptions to your right to access

Correcting Your Personal Information In a Personal Information Bank 

If you believe the personal information a government institution has about you is incorrect or misleading, you can ask it to correct it under the Privacy Act.

To do so, you can write a letter to the government institution or fill out the Record Correction Request Form, indicating that you’re making your request under the Privacy Act. 

The government institution will either correct the information or include a notation saying you sought a correction. If you’re unsatisfied with the institution’s response, you can complain to the Privacy Commissioner.