Privacy Impact Assessment Summary - Investigations Directorate (ID)

1. About Investigations

The mandate of the Public Service Commission (PSC) is to oversee the integrity of Canada’s federal staffing system and to help preserve the political impartiality of the federal public service. As part of this mandate, and pursuant to the federal Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), the PSC investigates concerns relating to select internal and external appointment processes. The PSC may investigate external appointment processes when an appointment or proposed appointment may not have been based on merit or there may have been an error, omission or improper conduct that affected the selection of the person appointed or proposed for appointment. The PSC may investigate external and internal appointment processes when it has reason to believe that fraud may have occurred or when an appointment or proposed appointment may not have been free from political influence. The PSC also investigates allegations of improper political activities, that is, where a federal employee engages in political activities that could impair (or are perceived to impair) his or her official work duties, or when an employee fails to request the Commission’s permission before engaging in candidacy-related political activities.

Investigations under the PSEA are led by the PSC’s Investigations Directorate. It operates under the management of the PSC’s Oversight and Investigations Sector. While the PSC holds the legal authority to appoint public servants, the PSC has delegated this authority to institutional deputy heads. As such, it relies on individual departments and agencies to carry out staffing in a manner that is merit-based, fair, accessible, transparent, non-partisan, and thus help to promote merit and accountability in public service staffing.

2. Purpose of the PIA

The PSC is named in the Schedule to the Privacy Act and is subject to the privacy policies and directives of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). Under the TBS Policy on Privacy Protection, all federal institutions subject to the Privacy Act are required to undertake an assessment of the privacy impacts associated with the development or design of new programs or services involving personal information (or when making significant changes to an existing program or service).

Investigations under the PSEA involve the collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information and the PSC has conducted a privacy impact assessment (PIA) in relation to the Investigations Directorate’s core administrative activities. Overall, the objective of the PIA was to ensure that the PSC continues to meet its legal and regulatory requirements under the Privacy Act, and that privacy risks associated with the collection of personal information are appropriately managed. The PIA was completed under the direction of the Investigation Directorate’s Director General.

3. Privacy Analysis

Inherent privacy risks arising from the PSC investigations under the PSEA were considered to be moderate. Recommendations from the present PIA however, as implemented by the Investigations Directorate, reduced these risks to an acceptable (or low) level.

4. Risk Area Identification and Categorization

Risk Area Level of Risk to Privacy
A: Type of Program or Activity 3
B: Type of Personal Information Involved and Context 3
C: Program or Activity Partners and Private Sector Involvement 2
D: Duration of the Program or Activity 3
E: Program Population 3
F: Technology and Privacy 1
G: Personal Information Transmission 3
I: Risk Impact to the Individual or Employee 3
H: Risk Impact to the Department 4
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