Privacy Impact Assessment Summary – Personnel Psychology Centre

About the Personnel Psychology Centre

The Personnel Psychology Centre (the Centre) is a service line under the Public Service Commission (PSC)’s Recruitment and Assessment Services program. It operates under the management of the PSC’s Services and Business Development Sector. In keeping with the mandate of the PSC, the Centre offers professional assessment services to help promote and safeguard merit-based appointments, and to contribute to a qualified, competent public service that is representative of the population it serves.  The Centre supports the development and delivery of assessment products and services through 3 primary operating divisions: Consultation and Test Services, Assessment and Counselling Services and Research & Development. 

The Consultation and Test Services division serves, in part, as a service window to the Centre’s assessment tools and offerings. Its staff:

  • respond to client requests for information
  • provide general advice and direction on how best to use Centre services in support of organizational human resource objectives
  • approve the use of PSC assessment tools

This division also provides specialized test services, including e-testing, test administration and language evaluation services (that is, administration and quality control of the Test of Oral Proficiency).

The Assessment and Counselling Services division specializes in delivering specialized assessment services for public servants. This includes providing executive counselling services (executive support and development), and competency assessments (for example, simulations and online 360° feedback instruments). It also delivers services for applicants to public service jobs when they are assessed in the context of a staffing process, including assessment accommodation services. Although services are rendered directly to individuals, service requests are made via the department or agency acting as the client.  

Whereas the Consultation and Test Services and Assessment and Counselling Services divisions provide testing and assessment services directly to client departments, the Research & Development division works primarily in support of the Centre in developing, evaluating and defending testing instruments. To achieve this, this division requires limited access to test results.  

Purpose of this privacy impact assessment

The purpose of this privacy impact assessment is to identify and analyze the potential privacy impacts associated with the collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information by the PSC in operating and administrating the Centre and its 3 core operating divisions. It also serves to re-assess the privacy risks identified in earlier assessments conducted by the PSC in relation to select Centre activities.

Centre activities involve the collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information by the PSC in the administration of the Centre and its operating divisions. The privacy impact assessment on the Centre:

The privacy impact assessment was completed under the direction of the Centre’s Director General. It includes an update of program authorities, as contained in the PSC’s enabling statutes and regulations, and a detailed evaluation of the Centre’s activities involving the collection, use or disclosure of personal information.

Privacy analysis

The activities of the Centre’s 3 primary divisions may present a moderate risk to the privacy of individuals. Although the inherent privacy impacts associated with operations are generally moderate to low, the collection and use of health and cognitive data (and in some cases clinical personality test results for executive counselling services) increase the Centre’s overall risk rating. In recognition of the inherent privacy risks associated with the administration of its key operating divisions, the Centre has implemented important controls to manage and mitigate potential privacy issues.

Risk area identification and categorization

Risk area

Level of risk to privacy

A: Activity type

TBS* Level 3

B: Data type

TBS Level 3

C: Program partners

TBS Level 2

D: Program duration

TBS Level 3

E: Program population

TBS Level 3

F: Technology

TBS Level 2

G: Data transmission

TBS Level 3

H: Impact on individuals in the event of a breach

TBS Level 3

I: Institutional impact in the event of a breach

TBS Level 3

*TBS: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

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