Privacy Notice

This privacy notice supports the Casualty Identification Program’s obligations under the Privacy Act to notify individuals of the purposes behind the collection of personal information.

Collection of Personal Information

DND/CAF may collect, use, share, and retain personal information about the relatives of Canadian service members. This is necessary to identify the remains of deceased Canadian service members from the First World War, the Second World War, and the United Nations Operations in Korea (Korean Conflict). Individuals with missing relatives from designated wars may register with the Casualty Identification Program and provide their contact information. The Program may also solicit information about the service member from family contacts. Family members of a deceased may be contacted with a request for additional information, including a biological sample (buccal swab) for DNA testing.

Personal information collected in relation to the Program is collected by DND under the authority of the National Defence Act and King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Armed Forces, which provide for the creation of Canada’s Grave Registration Units and the identification and interment of Canadian war dead abroad. Personal information to be collected varies from case to case. It is generally limited to name, contact information, and information about the war dead to whom the individual is believed to be related. Additional information may be collected from individuals deemed to be viable donors, including their consent to provide DNA, a biological sample, and any related DNA profile (if requested).

Participation in the Program, including the provision of a DNA sample is completely voluntary. Donors can change their mind in relation to a DNA donation at any point in the casualty identification process. Failure to provide a DNA sample or other personal information may prevent the identification of a war dead but will not affect you as a Program participant.

Uses and Disclosures of Personal Information

Personal information collected from Program participants is used to determine the identity of newly found skeletal remains and pre-existing unknown graves of Canadian service members from the First World War, the Second World War, and the United Nations Operations in Korea (Korean Conflict). Personal information is also used to fulfill Canada’s commitments under national and international laws, agreements, and protocols, in particular those of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Personal information may also be used more generally to support Program research, administration, evaluation, and management.

Information about an unaccounted-for Canadian military fatality or war dead may be used or disclosed for ceremonial purposes, including to provide them with a proper military burial. When historical research suggests a Canadian occupant of an unidentified war grave, the Program attempts to confirm the identification and, if successful, requests a new headstone with the service member’s name.

Personal information may be used in aggregate or once de-identified for program management purposes, and for purposes of program planning, evaluation, research, and statistics. The information may also be used for policy purposes and internal audits. Anonymous or aggregate information may be disclosed in keeping with the Government of Canada’s Directive on Open Government or pursuant to the Access to Information Act.

Retention of Personal Information

Personal information collected will be retained for a minimum of two years and for up to 25 years, in accordance with the Privacy Act. For information about the length of time that specific types of personal information are maintained by DND pursuant to the Program, including the final disposition of Program records, please contact DND’s Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator.

Privacy Rights

Under the Privacy Act, you have the right to access and correct your personal information. To submit a request for access to your personal information, submit a Personal Information Request Form, or send a written request to:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3

You also have the right to complain about the manner in which your personal information is handled by DND. If you are not satisfied with the way DND handles your personal information, you can file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner online send a written complaint to:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3

For more information about DND’s privacy practices for the Program, please review DND’s personal information bank for the Casualty Identification Program in Info Source.

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