Under what authority is the OPA permitted to collect information and what privacy rules does it comply with?
The OPA is a not-for-profit corporation established under the Ontario Electricity Act, 1998. This Act gives the OPA the authority to collect personal information about you and your electricity-related activities. The OPA complies with the privacy protection rules contained in Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Information Act (“FIPPA”) and is guided by the principles set out in the Canadian Standards Association’s Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information.
What types of information does the OPA collect and use about me and how does the OPA use the information?
We collect, use and may disclose information about you to assist in our goals of encouraging electricity conservation and planning electricity needs in Ontario. We may also use information about you to communicate with you about our programs and services.
The following are the main types of information we collect and our main uses of that information. We may from time to time collect other personal information or use the information that we hold for other purposes. If we do so, we will notify you and, as appropriate, obtain your consent.
Conservation Programs. When you participate in an OPA conservation program, you may be required to give us certain information such as contact information, your local electricity distributor and account information, product information and historical energy usage so we may process your application or rebate and administer the program.
Contests. When you enter an OPA contest, you provide us with contact information, such as your name, address, phone number, email address and electricity service account number. We also may ask you to provide us with information such as the name of your local electricity distributor, your historical energy usage and other information required to administer the contest. We will use such information to learn about your energy-using activities and needs and, if you choose to receive further communications from the OPA, to provide you with information about our programs.
Customer Service. If you contact one of our customer service representatives or call centres, we will ask you for information such as your name, address and electricity distributor account number so that we can respond to your questions. We will retain this information in order to better assist you the next time you contact us.
Local Electricity Distributors. Your local electricity distributor also collects and maintains certain of your personal information, including contact information, electricity consumption and historical usage. The OPA may request your distributor to provide this information to us for the purposes of administering our programs and for furthering our goals of electricity conservation and planning.
Website. We collect information on our website using transient cookies, sometimes called session cookies. A transient cookie is a small file that contains information about a user, and disappears when the user's browser is closed. Unlike a persistent cookie, a transient cookie is not stored on the user’s hard drive; it is stored only in temporary memory that is erased when the web browser is closed. We use transient cookies to determine, for example, how you use our website so we can improve the design of our site. Transient cookies are not linked to any personally identifiable information about you. Cookies can be disabled in your web browser.
Communicating with you. We may use your personal information to contact you about our current and future programs, including evaluation, measurement, notification and market research. We may also use your information to assess your future needs and to contact you respecting services, programs and products that may be of interest to you.
Other uses of information. In addition, we may use your information for audit and archival purposes, for security purposes, and otherwise as may be permitted or required by law.
How does the OPA tell me why it needs my information?
When we collect your personal information from you, we will tell you why we are asking for it. If we intend to use or disclose any of your personal information for a purpose other than the purpose for which it was originally obtained, we will notify you and obtain your consent to this new use. Sometimes you will be asked to give your consent expressly (such as by checking a box or clicking on a web page). Other times we may obtain your consent implicitly by asking you to provide information with stated purposes but without any express statement of consent, such as when you apply for a rebate, enter a contest or respond to a survey. In those cases your consent will be understood if you provide us with the requested information.
How long does the OPA retain my information?
We retain your information as long as it is required for the purposes identified when you provided the information or for any new purposes identified by us and consented to by you, and for any appropriate time thereafter including a sufficient time following to permit you to ask any questions regarding its use. Certain information is retained for longer periods for our internal audit and quality control purposes.
Does the OPA share the information it obtains about me with third parties?
In order to administer our rebates, contests and other electricity conservation programs, the OPA may authorize the OPA’s service providers to collect your information on our behalf and may provide other personal information about you to such organizations. The OPA also may share certain of your personal information with third parties, such as your local electricity distribution company or a local technician or contractor in order to administer a program. These service providers and third parties are not authorized by us to use or disclose your information except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or to comply with legal requirements. We also may disclose information about you as required by law, including if required by the Ontario Energy Board or the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.
How does the OPA protect personal information?
We maintain administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect against unauthorized disclosure, use, alteration and destruction of the personal information in our possession. These safeguards vary depending on the sensitivity and nature of the information and involve physical, organizational and technological security measures as are appropriate. We require all of our service providers who collect or process personal information on our behalf to provide security safeguards equivalent to those maintained by OPA.
Does the OPA website contain links to other websites?
The OPA website may contain links to other websites that operate independently of the OPA and are not under our control. We provide links to other websites solely for your convenience and information. Other websites may have their own privacy policies, which we suggest you review if you visit any linked websites. The OPA is not responsible for information that is provided by, or collected through, those websites or for any other use of those websites.
How can I review and update or correct my personal information?
You may review and revise, correct or update any of the information that we have on file about you at any time and you may also learn how we have used it and to whom we have disclosed it. This right is subject to certain limitations under FIPPA such as when disclosure would reveal someone else’s personal information or when the information is subject to legal privilege. If you wish to review or update your information, you may do so by contacting us using one of the options provided below.
How can I contact the OPA?
If you wish us to update or correct your information, or if you have any questions or concerns about the OPA’s privacy practices or about your personal information, please contact our Privacy Office at:
Attention: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Officer
120 Adelaide Street West, Ste. 1600
Toronto, ON M5H 1T1
Fax: 416- 969-6383
E-mail: [email protected]
We will respond to your inquiry or investigate your concern as quickly as possible.
If you have any concerns about the OPA’s privacy practices or your personal information that are not resolved by contacting our privacy office, you may contact Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
2 Bloor Street East
E-mail: [email protected]
Toll-free: 1-800-387-0073 (within Ontario)
DATED: November 12, 2008