The “Investigative Body Status” Myth

Private investigators in Alberta will sometimes advertise that they have “Investigative Body Status under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)”. PIPEDA is a federal privacy law which formerly defined an “Investigative Body” in part as:

(w) a corporation or other body

(i) that is licensed by a province to engage in the business of providing private investigators or detectives and that has a privacy code that is compliant with the Canadian Standards Association Standard CAN/CSA-Q830-96, Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information, as amended from time to time, and

(ii) that is a member in good standing of a professional association that represents the interests of private investigators or detectives and that has such a privacy code;

Regulations Specifying Investigative Bodies (SOR/2001-6)

This regulation has been repealed and “Investigative Body Status” no longer exists under PIPEDA. While Gilliam Burke Investigations is a member of the Alberta Associations of Private Investigators, and we have a privacy code, we don’t claim a title that doesn’t exist.

Furthermore, organizations in Alberta, under most circumstances, are specifically exempt from PIPEDA. Instead, the provincial Personal Information Protection Act applies to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information that occurs within the Province of Alberta.

Compliance with relevant legislation is a critical part of a successful investigation. Before you hire an investigation firm, make certain they are up-to-date on legislative changes, and which laws apply to the investigation they are about to conduct.