Credit Reporting Legislation and Privacy Legislation
In Canada, most provinces have credit reporting legislation to outline practices that must be adopted by credit reporting agencies and the users of consumer credit information to protect the rights of consumers. However, some provinces and territories do not have credit reporting legislation; in those provinces and territories, TransUnion voluntarily applies the requirements specified by other neighbouring provinces, in order to provide consistency in our service levels to consumers across Canada.
At the federal level, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) outlines the requirements of organizations which maintain personal information during the course of their business activities. Some provinces have also adopted privacy legislation to outline these requirements.
Credit reporting legislation
Although credit reporting legislation is regulated at the provincial level, there are core requirements that are consistent with each province. These basic requirements are summarized below. Please refer to the appropriate provincial consumer reporting legislation for further details on the requirements of each province.
Access to your information is limited to those with a permissible purpose
Provincial credit reporting legislation outlines purposes for which it is permissible for organizations to request information from a credit reporting agency. These purposes must relate to activities such as credit decisions, collection of a debt, employment decisions, tenancy decisions, underwriting of insurance, determining a consumer's eligibility under a statute or regulation, or any decision where there is a direct business need for the information in connection with a credit or business transaction involving the consumer. Note that it is an offence for anyone to obtain credit information from a credit reporting agency except for the stated purposes.
Users of credit information must comply with the "adverse action" Users of credit information must comply with the "adverse action" provisions contained in credit reporting legislation. Generally, those provisions establish an obligation for users of credit information, such as financial institutions, to advise consumers if the information obtained from a credit reporting agency is used to decline a benefit, such as denying an application for credit or employment, or if a charge to a consumer is increased. Users of credit information must also disclose to the consumer the coordinates of the credit reporting agency where that information has been obtained.
At your request, a credit reporting agency will provide you with a copy of your Consumer Disclosure.
If your credit report contains inaccurate information, credit reporting agencies must investigate the disputed item(s).
Previous inquirers must be notified of a change made to your report
Where a change is made to your file as a result of an investigation, credit reporting agencies are required to notify anyone who received your credit file within a specified timeframe. This timeframe varies in accordance with provincial credit reporting legislation.
Retention of information by TransUnion
TransUnion will maintain a record of positive credit information (i.e., accounts that were paid and have no negative history) for a period of twenty (20) years. This retention period benefits most consumers by recognizing their previous involvement with the credit granting industry, even when the consumer has limited or no current credit history as a result of a bankruptcy, for example.
Provincial credit reporting legislation outlines the maximum period for reporting negative information. Therefore, TransUnion will not maintain negative credit information on your file longer than permitted by provincial credit reporting legislation. For specific details on the reporting of negative credit information, please refer to our Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act which outlines the requirements of organizations, that maintain personal information during the course of their business activities. Some provinces have also adopted privacy legislation to outline these requirements.
More information is available
For more details on your province's legislation on credit reporting agencies, you can access the statute through each province's electronic library.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) outlines the requirements for organizations that use, collect or disclose personal information during the course of their business activities.
It is important to note that in almost all cases, consumers will not provide consent directly to TransUnion, but to one of our customers. We therefore work with our clients to make them aware of the importance of obtaining the appropriate consumer consent prior to providing TransUnion with personal consumer information, and prior to accessing personal information contained in our products and services. Because TransUnion products and services generally require the disclosure of personal information, we are limited in our disclosure of personal information to those purposes which have been disclosed to consumers by our customers or for purposes which are otherwise permitted by law.
If you would like to learn more about the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's website (https://www.priv.gc.ca/) provides a great deal of valuable information.