Privacy Impact Assessment Summaries

What is a PIA?

A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is a report that assess the various potential privacy concerns in the initial framing and subsequent administration of programs and activities involving personal information. The completion of a PIA ensures that government institutions fulfill policy and legal requirements, and determine the subsequent level of risk analysis and mitigation required to ensure due diligence in the management of personal information.


2017 Data – Transfer Survey from VoxPop to PCO was an innovative online engagement and educational tool meant to engage Canadians in the national conversation of electoral reform. was available from December 5, 2016 to January 2017. During this period, the application attracted over 360,000 responses in Canada, over 240,000 with sufficient demographic information for weighting purposes. The data gathered through application provides valuable insights with respect to values and priorities of Canadians regarding their democracy. To that end, there have been requests from Members of Parliament and academics that the anonymized, screened data be made available for research proposes. Releasing the data set would make the data available for this purpose.

Consultation on the Leaders’ Debates Commissioner

The Minister of Democratic Institutions was mandated by the Prime Minister to bring forward options to create an independent commissioner to organize political party leaders’ debates. PCO is supporting the Minister to engage with Canadians and stakeholders on this mandate commitment before options are proposed to Cabinet.

A description of the activities include: 1) Creating an online webpage where Canadians can submit their input on the Minister of Democratic institutions’ mandate commitment to “bring forward options to create an independent commissioner to organize political party leasers’ debates”; 2) Holding five stakeholder roundtables/events, in partnership with universities and the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), to inform policy development on the Ministers’ mandate commitment. IRPP will be contracted to facilitate and moderate the roundtables. These roundtables will be held under the Chatham House Rules and IRPP will produce a public summary report from the roundtables that includes a list of participants form the roundtables (names and professional affiliations).

Youth Online Consultations

PCO has undertaken consultations with youth to collect the views of young Canadians about the priorities and themes they would like to see reflected in government policy. The consultation took place between February 13 and April 13, 2018, and comprised the following components:

  • Online consultation available through a website created and maintained by the third party service provider Hill & Knowlton (H&K), which incorporated the GoodTalk platform for video submissions;
  • Five in-person roundtable consultation, facilitated by H&K; and
  • Ten roundtables with members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and other youth ambassadors, arranged by the charitable organization Students Commission of Canada.

Individuals and organizations across the country were also invited to host their own youth policy dialogues, and to submit consultation reports through a portal developed by third-party service provider, Hosted in Canada Surveys. Individuals were able to visit the website and make comments anonymously, using free text boxes in an online “issue book”. General demographic information such as uploading video content or joining in discussion forums required individuals to register with first and last names and an email address, or by using their Facebook or Google Plus accounts. Individuals submitting reported of their own consultation activities through the Hosted in Canada Survey site were also required to register with names and an email address.

The PIA indicates that the views and comments collected through the online and in-person engagements will be aggregated in a “What We Heard” report and subsequently, incorporated into a final report. Both reports are to be made publicly available. The PIA notes that no personal or identifiable information will be included in the reports without the prior consent of individuals involved.

Innovative Staffing and Resource Management Strategy

The Innovative Staffing and Resource Management Strategy (Strategy) is being implemented to assist PCO and other departments/agencies meet the Government’s commitment to innovation, measurable outcomes, experimentation and evidence-based decision-making by building capacity in four specific areas: Behavioural Insights, Innovative Finance, Impact Measurement and Data Science. PCO’s Impact and Innovation Unit (IIU) is experiencing increased demand for advice and practical project support, exceeding current supply in the four aforementioned areas. With the addition of the Centre of Expertise for the Impact Canada Initiative, additional demand is being experienced. The Strategy will enable to IIU to meet the current needs and respond to future demand. The Strategy supports departments and agencies to build capacity within their organizations for the practical application of innovative approaches to achieving greater impact. Departments/agencies opting to leverage this Strategy will gain access to pre-qualified expert practitioners, in a timely manner, without increasing their full-time equivalents. The Strategy also supports the Deputy Minister Task Force on Public Sector Innovation’s commitment to pilot specific mobility improvements with a view to scale across the Government of Canada, and is meant to complement other new staffing models in government. Onboarding individuals from outside government and other departments/agencies will foster cross-sectoral and interdepartmental partnerships building and encourage the sharing of leading edge practices.


Youth Advisory Council

As per the commitment made in Budget 2016, the Government will establish a Prime Minister’s (PM's) Youth Council consisting of young Canadians aged 16-24 from diverse communities and from all regions of Canada. The project is being led out of PCO’s Youth Secretariat.

Applying to the PM's Youth Council will only be possible online, through the page for the PM's Youth Council, which will lead to the actual application on the FluidSurveys site. On the page, visitors will be asked to provide an email address to sign up for engagement opportunities, and will be asked to read the privacy notice statement beforehand. When they click to continue, they are brought to a CAPTCHA page, and then to the FluidSurveys site, where the first page of the application asks them to click up to three ways in which they would like to be engaged:

  1. Receive email updates about youth issues;
  2. Be invited by Government of Canada institutions to participate in engagement opportunities in areas of interest to them;
  3. Be considered for the Prime Minister's Youth Council.

Before any other personal information is collected, visitors are directed to the privacy notice statement (hyperlinked) for questions related to privacy. Selection for the PM's Youth Council will be based on the candidate’s engagement and capacity to provide advice, and will be reflective of diversity.

GIC Appointments 

The scope of this Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is limited to an analysis of the collection, use, disclosure, and retention of personal information contained in applications submitted to the Privy Council Office (PCO) from the ‘Governor in Council Appointments’ website. Currently, PCO collects, uses, shares and retains personal information related to applications for Governor in Council (GIC) appointments. How this information is used and managed is already explained in the TBS Standard Personal Information Bank entitled, “Governor in Council Personnel Records”, thus only incremental change to how information is used, collected, retained or disclosed in relation to the new online application option for the website are dealt with in this PIA. In addition, the data elements collected in an application are not within scope of this PIA as there is no change to this aspect of the process.

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