The City of Victoria website is an important communication and interaction point with residents. Among other things, the site describes each department’s functions and services, provides information about new initiatives, events and future plans, offers opportunities for residents to provide feedback on issues or to do business with the City.
As a visitor to our site, we respect your right to privacy and the protection of your personal information in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act’s privacy provisions (FIPPA). Described below is our privacy commitment to those who visit our website.
IP Addresses and Cookies
The IP address of every visitor is collected, but you remain anonymous because we cannot use IP addresses to identify individuals.
Some Internet Service Providers provide email addresses with IP addresses. When this occurs, the City does not retain the email addresses in a database.
The City uses IP addresses to:
- analyze trends (i.e. what information is being accessed, what information is being accessed the most)
- administer its site (what does this mean?),
- track visitors' movements (i.e. where they go on the site and how they get there)
- gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.
All of these uses are for web service and web site management improvement purposes only.
Some of the services available from the City's website may require the use of "per-session" cookies. Per-session cookies are small files that are temporarily stored in your computer's memory and are deleted when you leave our site.
Collection, Use and Disclosure
The personal information collected via our website is the same personal information we collect from you over the counter, by mail or by any other method. The manner of collection is all that is different. Moreover, personal information collected online is collected, used, disclosed, protected, retained and disposed of, by the same staff that collects your personal information by any other method.
If you are just browsing our website, you are an anonymous visitor. However, if you use the site to apply online for a licence, submit a bylaw complaint, apply for a city job, report a sewer problem or pay a bill etc., we will need to collect personal information from you. For example, enquiries require the collection of contact information that is used too: confirm your residence in Victoria, contact you for additional information if necessary (to provide a complete response) and send you a response. Only staff who respond to enquiries have access to the contact information they need.
The above example illustrates two requirements of FIPPA that the City applies to all instances in which it collects personal information via are website. First, only personal information that is required to fulfill a request (i.e. respond to an enquiry, process a bill payment) is collected. Secondly, the personal information is only used and/or disclosed to staff on a “need to know” basis. That is, only staff tasked with processing bill payments etc. have access to your personal information.
Prior to providing your personal information via our website, you have the right to know how your personal information will be used or disclosed. This is called informed consent and is a right under FIPPA subject to specific exceptions (i.e. collecting personal information for a law enforcement purpose). An example of informed consent is, knowing whether or not your personal information will be used for purposes other than your expectation that it only be used to pay a parking ticket. If you have questions about the use and/or disclosure of your personal information, you have the right to ask staff collecting it or using the contact information below.
Consent to collect your personal information is presumed to be given if you provide it via our website. Your personal information is not collected until you have pushed the “send button”. We have collected once we have received it. You are not required to provide your personal information online. It is a service provided as a convenience, but you always have the right to provide your personal information by any other available method.
Storage of Personal Information
The personal information collected via the website is stored on City servers that are part of the City’s secure network. No personal information is stored outside of Canada.
Protection of Personal Information
The City protects your personal information by “...making reasonable security measures against such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or disposal [section 30 of FIPPA]”. These security measures are integrated into the design, implementation and day-to-day operations regarding the management of personal information held electronically or paper format. Security measures include: using secure online transaction software that complies with industry standards and/or requirements, passwords to prevent access to computers and policies and procedures to maintain compliance with FIPPA’s privacy provisions.
The protection of your personal information does not apply to external websites you access via links on the City website. This includes the Victoria Police Department website.
Access, Correction and Complaints regarding your Personal Information
FIPPA provides the right of access to your personal information subject to “…limited exceptions to the rights of access… [Section 2 of FIPPA]”. You also have the right to request correction of your personal information. Corrections normally pertain to factual information (i.e. your gender, date of birth etc.). Personal opinions are typically not correctable, but can be annotated to express, as an example, disagreement.
If you believe your personal information is being managed in a manner that FIPPA hasn’t authorized, you have the right to complain to the City. If you are not satisfied with the City’s response, you can complain to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Here is the Privacy Commissioner’s website: http://www.oipc.bc.ca/
Changes to this Privacy Statement
- Revisions to this Privacy Statement will occur to incorporate changes to our online services or the way in which we do business online. Therefore, please review our statement periodically.
- Our Privacy Statement does not apply to any other website.
- It is current to May 15, 2014
For more information about this privacy statement, you can contact us by email or by phone at 250.361.0347.
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