Code of confidentiality

Code of confidentiality for the collection of self-identification data in the Public Service of Canada

The confidentiality of self-identification information collected by departments and agencies of the Public Service of Canada will be maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act and the Employment Equity Act and its Regulations. The following Code of Confidentiality outlines how the provisions of these statutes will be applied.

  1. All persons who at any time have access to self-identification information pertaining to a specific individual must abide by this Code of Confidentiality. This includes individuals who are responsible for (a) the collection and maintenance of self-identification information in departments and agencies, (b) the establishment, management and maintenance of departmental self-identification inventories, (c) the management and maintenance of the Employment Equity Data Bank (EEDB) at the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) and (d) self-identification data used to address the mandate of the Public Service Commission as prescribed under the Employment Equity Act.
  2. “Self-identification information/data” is defined as information provided by an individual to identify him or herself as an Aboriginal person, a person with a disability or a person in a visible minority group. This information is normally provided on employee self-identification forms.
  3. Self-identification information, including Aboriginal background, visible minority group or the nature of any disability, is retained in the Employment Equity Data Bank of the TBS (TBS/P-CE-706). Information may also be retained in standard departmental EE data banks.
  4. The information maintained in the EEDB is accessed by only a small number of persons in the Treasury Board Secretariat and is treated with the highest degree of confidentiality. It is used only to generate statistics for analyzing and monitoring the employment situation and progress of designated groups in terms of regional and occupational distribution and mobility and for preparing reports on the situation with respect to employment equity in the Public Service, departments and agencies.
  5. Each year, self-identification information is the focus for a reconciliation exercise between the Treasury Board Secretariat and departments to ensure that data from the EEDB accurately reflect information that may exist in departmental inventories.
  6. Provided that consent has been given by the individual to whom it applies, self-identification information may be used by employment equity co-ordinators in departments for human resource management purposes in support of employment equity. This includes referral for specialised training, for specific temporary assignments, for participation in selection boards, for employment counselling, as well as inclusion in specific programs aimed at persons in the designated groups.
  7. Self-identification information to be used for human resource management purposes will be maintained in a departmental inventory and be treated in the strictest of confidence.
  8. EEDB information on any specific individual will not be used for purposes other than those identified in this Code, nor made available to any other body except in response to a lawful subpoena, a warrant, a requirement of an Act of Parliament or any other compelling purpose as described in the Privacy Act. Such disclosure must be approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer, Human Resources Branch, Treasury Board Secretariat.
  9. As used in this Code, confidentiality protection applies to all media through which self-identification data may be stored (e.g., photocopy of the employee self-identification form, magnetic tape or diskette, etc.).
  10. Confidentiality protection starts when a completed self-identification form or answer cassette has been sealed in a return envelope, mailed or otherwise provided to an individual responsible for collecting self-identification information.
  11. Individuals can apply for written confirmation of self-identification information held on them by writing to:
    1. their departmental Employment Equity or Access to Information and Privacy Co-ordinator, with respect to a departmental inventory;
    2. the Employment Equity Data Bank, Human Resources Branch, Treasury Board Secretariat, 7th floor, L'Esplanade Laurier, West Tower, Ottawa, Ontario, KlA OR5, for information held in the EEDB.
  12. Individuals described in (1) above must be apprised of this Code of Confidentiality before they are given access to self-identification information.
  13. This Code of Confidentiality may be distributed to any interested individual(s).
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