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Credit Rights in Canada Part 2

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Credit Rights protected by federal statutes for Canadian consumers

Your rights as a consumer are protected in Canada by federal privacy legislation. 

In Part 2 of this series, (see Part 1), we discuss the national Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) which outlines requirements of organizations which can maintain personal information in the course of their business activities.

Federal Legislation governs the conduct of all Canadian credit reporting agencies

PIPEDA was implemented by Ottawa on January 1, 2001 to establish requirements for businesses that manage personal information. This statute was established to create a balance between consumers' right to protect their personal information and business' legitimate need for information. The 1996 Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information provides the backbone of the requirements of this act. 

Who ensures compliance with PIPEDA?

Credit reporting agencies designate individuals who are responsible for maintaining an awareness of their company’s practices to ensure ongoing compliance with the requirements of PIPEDA. Each individual within the organization also shares the responsibility of compliance. Regular sessions are held for associates to ensure that they understand the requirements of PIPEDA and how their responsibilities impact compliance.

What information do Canadian credit reporting agencies keep?

Canadian CRAs keep information relevant to organizations to make a decision about your application for credit, employment, tenancy, insurance, and/or other activities where your credit history would be a relevant factor in the decision. This information would include employment history, the history of your credit card and/or loan payments, and if you have ever filed for bankruptcy or had a judgement placed against you. 

How do CRAs receive information?

CRAs collect and maintain factual information about the credit and financial history of consumers. These credit reporting agencies obtain this information from numerous credit grantors, financial institutions, finance companies, federal and provincial government offices, and public registries where permitted to do so by law. Such information is assembled into credit files and provided to appropriate customers upon a specific request being made, typically by a credit grantor. 

How long will my information be kept?

For as long as your information is relevant to an organization making a decision about an application you have supplied, CRAs will keep it. However, provincial credit reporting legislation outlines maximum reporting lengths for information that is negative. Therefore, CRAs will not maintain negative information on your credit file longer than what is permitted by provincial credit reporting legislation. For these maximums please refer to Part 1 of this article. 

How do CRAs ensure its information is accurate?

CRAs work closely with its customers to ensure that the information provided is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. If you question the accuracy of your information maintained by a credit reporting agency they will verify the information at your request.

How do CRAs protect the personal information it maintains?

Security is an integral part of their business. CRAs employ various levels of security checks to prevent unlawful intrusions to databases. Some examples of the most basic protection methods used include: multi-level password systems; private, dedicated phone lines for communications; robust firewalls and encryption protocols. 

If you would like to learn more about the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, The Privacy Commissioner of Canada's website (www.privcom.gc.ca) provides a great deal of valuable information. 

Provincial legislation also protects the credit rights of Canadians. 

See Part 1 of this article.

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CRAs work closely with its customers to ensure that the information provided is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. If you question the accuracy of your information maintained by a credit reporting agency they will verify the information at your request.

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