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Request a Review / File a Complaint

Note: We ask you to read the following information before downloading, completing and submitting the Request for Review or Privacy Complaint Form to the OIPC. The form is available at the bottom of this page. We do not accept a request for review or privacy complaint over the phone.

This page outlines what you may ask the OIPC to review or investigate.

If you make an access to information request and you disagree with the response you receive, you may ask the OIPC to review the decision made by a public body, health custodian or private sector organization that relates to your request. This also applies to a request to correct personal or health information in your records. These are referred to as a “request for review”.

You may also submit a complaint to the OIPC if you believe that your personal or health information was collected, used or disclosed improperly. You may consider an improper collection, use or disclosure of your personal or health information to be a privacy breach. This is typically referred to as a “privacy complaint”.

Generally, you must submit a request for review or privacy complaint to the OIPC:

  • Within 60 days of a decision being made by a public body or health custodian.
  • Within 30 days of a request for review decision being made by a private sector organization.
  • Within a reasonable time for a privacy complaint made against a private sector organization.

What We Cannot Do

  • We cannot issue monetary awards and we do not issue fines if we find your request for review or privacy complaint was valid.
  • We cannot force anyone to be disciplined, suspended or fired from their job. Decisions related to job discipline are made by the employer – the public body, health custodian or private sector organization. We cannot change those decisions.
  • We cannot change a decision made by another body or administrative tribunal about providing a benefit or issuing a penalty, such as decisions made by the Workers’ Compensation Board, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Maintenance Enforcement, and so on.
  • We are not an advocate. We cannot represent you in your request for review or privacy complaint. We also do not represent the public body, health custodian or private sector organization.

Important Things to Consider When Submitting a Request for Review or Privacy Complaint to the OIPC

  • Check whether the public body, health custodian or private sector organization is covered by Alberta’s laws.

    We can only look into public bodies, health custodians or private sector organizations that are subject to Alberta’s access to information and privacy laws.

    For more information on “What is a public body?”, visit Service Alberta’s website which also provides a directory of public bodies.

    For more information on health custodians, visit Alberta Health’s website. Generally, examples of custodians include Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, physicians, pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, and so on.

    Private sector organizations are typically any business that collects, uses or discloses personal information in Alberta. However, the federal private sector privacy law applies to banks (but not Alberta credit unions), airlines, telecommunications companies, and other federally-regulated businesses. The federal private sector privacy law is called The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is responsible for reviewing privacy complaints under that law.

    Certain non-profit organizations are subject to Alberta’s private sector privacy law only when the non-profit organization collects, uses or discloses personal information in connection with a commercial activity.
  • Please only provide the information that we initially ask for.

    Do not send a large amount of materials, as this will delay processing and cause uncertainty in understanding your concerns.

    Typically, submissions should not exceed 15 pages including the Request for Review/Complaint Form and attachments. Your comments and attachments must be relevant to your request for review or privacy complaint and to what our office does. If we require more information from you, we will ask for it.

    If you submit an extremely large number of documents or if it is not clear that the information you provided falls within our area to review, your submission may not proceed to a review or investigation and you may be asked to re-submit your request for review or privacy complaint.
  • Talk to the public body, health custodian or private sector organization.

    It may be possible to address and resolve your concern or complaint by calling the public body, health custodian or private sector organization and speaking with someone who can help you with your specific concern.

    This may be the best option before submitting a request for review or privacy complaint to us, since your concern may be resolved more quickly.
    • 6 to 8 weeks to receive confirmation from us about whether we will or will not investigate your request for review or privacy complaint.
    • 9 months to investigate or mediate a request for review or privacy complaint and to make findings or recommendations.
    • 18 months or more to conduct an inquiry (adjudicate) and make a formal decision (order) on a request for review or privacy complaint, if your concern is not resolved through investigation or mediation. Please note the Commissioner may or may not decide to conduct an inquiry.

      Formal decisions are made through the OIPC’s inquiry process. Click here for more information on OIPC Inquiries/Adjudication.
  • Other relevant information before making a request for review or privacy complaint.
    • There is no charge to request a review or file a complaint. You do not need legal counsel, but can choose to use one if you want to.
    • A copy of your completed request for review or privacy complaint form, and attached documents, will be shared with the public body, health custodian or private sector organization that you are contacting the OIPC about. It may not be possible to investigate or mediate without sharing your name and the details of your concerns.

      Anonymous complaints are typically not accepted. Only in special circumstances may this be considered.
    • The OIPC has a Disability Accommodation Policy on the website. Please contact us if you would like more information about using this policy.

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