Two decades ago, most people were not that concerned about their personal privacy because they felt they could manage it – they could control how much others knew about their affairs. Then department stores and credit card companies began selling their mailing lists for profit and people began to receive unwanted junk mail. More recently people are learning about the “spy” capability of the internet – how companies construct programs which monitor how you use the internet and build a profile of your interests. These profiles are then used by marketing people to try to sell you the kinds of things they believe you would be interested in.
People have also become concerned about the possible proliferation of highly personal data such as their financial and medical information. Major debates are in progress. For example, everyone would seem to agree that one’s personal medical information should be maintained on a highly confidential basis. On the other hand, let’s assume a person was in a serious car accident and arrived at a hospital alone and unconscious. Wouldn’t it be helpful if the hospital could access a central computer and find out if this person was allergic to certain drugs or had an underlying medical condition which could dictate the kinds of treatment which were, or were not permissible? This debate will not be resolved in the near future.
But something we can resolve is the matter of what we, the Pensioners Association, do with the little information we have on each of you.
First of all, as we have said many times for different reasons, we receive very little information about our members from the CBC. Basically they are governed by PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection & Electronic Documents Act) and therefore provide only the minimum information necessary to meet their commitments to us. For example, they send us the monthly dues in a lump sum by Province with only the total number of members and the total dollar amount. There is no way to know what any particular individual is paying. [The CBC does prepare a list of dues deducted for us so we can send you a year-end dues receipt; however, by the time that run is prepared, the pensions have changed and your deduction will already be different.] All the personal information we have on each of you is provided by each of you when you complete your membership application. If you subsequently change your address, phone number or e-mail address, we will not know that unless you tell us.
Even though we have only the most basic information about each of you, we protect that information carefully. Sometimes we need to share general information about our members as a group in order to put in place some of our affinity programs. But our agreements with those companies ensure that they can only use that information for the purposes of the contract – not, for example, to market other products or sell the information to third parties.
We will never sell or give individual information about our members to anyone or any organization without their permission.