Across Canada, most provinces have consumer reporting legislation to outline practices that must be adopted by consumer reporting agencies and the users of consumer credit information to protect the rights of consumers. Users of credit information must, for example, comply with the "adverse action" provisions contained in consumer reporting legislation. Generally, those provisions establish an obligation for customers of TransUnion to advise consumers if the information obtained from a consumer 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 as a result thereof. Please refer to the appropriate provincial consumer reporting legislation for notice requirements and further details.
At the federal level, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act outlines the requirements for organizations that use, collect or disclose personal information during the course of their business activities. Some provinces have also adopted privacy legislation to outline these requirements, as well.
Permissible purposes are outlined in applicable provincial consumer reporting legislation, and while there are variations from province to province, there are core requirements that are consistent. The basic principles of acceptable purposes for customers to access consumer reports are as follows:
Note that it is an offence for anyone to obtain credit information from a consumer reporting agency except for the stated purposes.
Many TransUnion products and services require the disclosure of personal information. As such, 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.
Accordingly, we are working with our credit-granting and other clients to make them aware of the importance of informing consumers of the purpose(s) for which they are providing personal information to TransUnion, or access personal information from TransUnion, at the time the information is collected from the consumer and/or prior to its use by TransUnion. Also, we require our clients to limit the use of personal information obtained from TransUnion to those purposes that have been disclosed to the consumer, and for which appropriate consents have been obtained, or which are otherwise permitted by law.
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.