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It should be noted that most of CPA Ontario’s activities are not subject to privacy law. The federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”), being the privacy law applicable to the private sector in Ontario, applies to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities. Since the core activities of CPA Ontario are not commercial in nature, PIPEDA does not apply to most of our activities. PIPEDA only applies to the limited forms of commercial activity that CPA Ontario engages in outside of our core activities.
Types of information we collect
We gather personal information from individuals in person, over the phone, by correspondence via mail or email, or through our website (e.g. profile updates, downloadable and fillable forms or applications). The types of information we collect depends on whether or not an individual is a member or a student of CPA Ontario. The personal information we may collect includes name and contact information (where not business information), and financial information required to purchase our goods and services, including credit card information.
The public areas of CPA Ontario's website can be visited without providing any personal information. Personal Information is only collected if visitors voluntarily choose to provide personal information. We need to validate the identities of visitors to the non-public areas of our website, where access is restricted to members or students.
We may collect personal information such as date of birth, gender, languages spoken, language preference, place of residence, course enrolment information, status or progression in the CPA professional education program including fulfilment of program requirements and results of examinations, record of academic results reported by CPA Canada, record of academic and professional accomplishments outside the CPA professional education program, and particulars of current and previous employment, education, professional development, and volunteer activities.
For members engaged in public practice or public accounting as a sole proprietor, partner or shareholder of a firm or professional corporation, we may collect further information such as business name, names of partners, shareholder information, preferred areas of practice, position codes, practice review results, and professional liability insurance information.
How we use personal information
CPA Ontario uses the personal information (and/or professional information) we collect to confirm an individual’s identity, to respond to inquiries or comments, to send important notices about the profession, to fulfil legal and regulatory requirements, to protect the public from unauthorized use of the Chartered Professional Accountant designation or a legacy designation, to carry out our business activities and generally to provide individuals with the products and services they request.
CPA Ontario uses the personal information you provide to process financial transactions (including student fees, membership fees, and purchases of products or services), to process program transactions (including applications, event registrations, continuing professional development reporting, practice registration, practice inspection, course enrolment, seminar enrolment, academic results processing, advanced standing requests, transcript distribution, and the employment referral service), to communicate information or materials we are required to communicate by law or regulation (including notice of annual general meetings), and to maintain the register of members and the roll of licensed public accountants.
Subject to obtaining consent, we may use personal information (and/or professional information) to provide you with tailored communications (including information about products or services available for purchase, notices of professional development, career and volunteer opportunities, speaking engagements or participation in special interest groups) that we believe will be of interest.
We may conduct surveys. If you choose to participate in such surveys, we will use the information you provide to better understand your professional profile, your needs, and the needs of users of accounting services.
If you do not wish to receive promotional communications from CPA Ontario, you may withdraw your consent to receive these communications at any time by contacting CPA Ontario at [email protected]
Sharing personal information
CPA Ontario may disclose the personal information of members and students to its regulators and affiliated organizations, including, CPA Canada, provincial, territorial and international CPA bodies, and CPA Ontario regional associations. Such disclosure is made: to permit these bodies to certify members and conduct regulatory audits; to facilitate inter-regional mobility of members and students; for the operation of academic programs, the provision of products or services and the maintenance of membership; to manage the use of the Chartered Professional Accountant and legacy designations; and to communicate information or materials required by law or regulation. These bodies may also use your personal information to contact you with other materials such as information about professional development programs, surveys, marketing, and public relations.
CPA Ontario may provide your personal information to our third-party service providers responsible for administering our marketing and promotional activities or providing the products and services you have requested. CPA Ontario may also provide your personal information to our affinity program partners so that you are eligible to receive their products and services at favorable rates. We require these organizations to have privacy policies or to abide by our policies in relation to the personal information we share with them, including a requirement to use the information only for the purposes for which it was provided.
For members, CPA Ontario may also disclose your personal information (and/or professional information) to government entities to advocate on your behalf or as otherwise may be required or requested by them. CPA Ontario is required by its governing documents to maintain a register of members which is open to examination by the public at CPA Ontario’s head office during normal office hours free of charge, and to maintain a roll of licensed public accountants on its website in a publicly accessible and freely available manner that is open for public inspection. CPA Ontario also maintains a member directory which may contain each member’s name, designations and initials, employer information, discipline information and other information described in the By-law, which is available to the public. CPA Ontario may exempt a member or licensee from having their contact information made available to the public in the member directory or roll of licensed public accountants, respectively, where CPA Ontario is of the opinion that there are legitimate concerns surrounding the individual’s personal security. If you wish to request an exemption from disclosing your contact information in the member directory or the roll of licensed public accountants, you may contact our Customer Service Centre by email at [email protected]
From time to time, CPA Ontario or our third-party service providers or affinity partners may store or process your personal information outside of Canada. While outside of Canada your personal information may be subject to disclosure in accordance with the laws of the foreign jurisdiction.
There are circumstances established at law under which CPA Ontario may collect, use or disclose your personal information without obtaining your consent, for example: (i) to collect a debt owed to us, (ii) to establish and maintain the member register and the roll of licensed public accountants, (iii) to meet government tax reporting requirements, (iv) to carry out and satisfy our regulatory responsibilities and obligations (including those relating to member and student discipline), and (v) to comply with an order made by a court.
Refusal and withdrawal of consent
Where your consent is required, you may refuse or withdraw your consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information. You should be aware that your choice to refuse or withdraw consent may negatively affect your ability to meet CPA Ontario’s requirements, or CPA Ontario’s ability to provide you with certain products or services. If you would like information about the effect, if any, of refusing or withdrawing your consent, you may contact our Privacy Officer at the address indicated below.
Retention and disposal of personal information
CPA Ontario keeps personal information for as long as it is necessary for the purposes for which it was collected. Accordingly, we may retain personal information for different lengths of time, depending on the nature of the personal information and the purposes for which it was provided to us. We dispose of personal information in a manner that ensures the continued security of the information.
CPA Ontario takes steps to protect your personal information against unauthorized access, disclosure, inappropriate alteration and misuse. CPA Ontario uses technological safeguards such as encrypted passwords, cryptographic protocols designed to provide communications security and at least 128-bit encryption technologies. Given that electronically transmitted data is not 100% secure, we make no warranties as to the security of any information you submit electronically, which you do at your own risk.
Access and correction of personal information
If you wish to access, correct or update your personal information in CPA Ontario's records, you may contact our Privacy Officer at the address indicated below. Some information may not be accessed, such as information that contains personal information of others, or is otherwise protected under the law. You may also access, correct or update some of your personal information online by following the links on our website.
Members and students have a responsibility to maintain current contact information with CPA Ontario.
Cookies, IP addresses, and links to other websites
CPA Ontario's website logs IP addresses, but not the email addresses, of visitors. This real time information is aggregated, logged, and used to measure statistical information about usage of the site, including the total number of visits, page errors, average time spent on the site, and pages viewed, both in real-time, and within a certain historical time frame. CPA Ontario uses this aggregated information to measure the use of our website and to improve its content and usage.
CPA Ontario’s website may contain links to other internet sites owned and operated by third parties. While we try to provide a link only to sites that share our high standards and respect for privacy, we are not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of those sites. Since you are solely responsible for deciding whether to visit any particular site, we strongly recommend that you review the privacy policies applicable to those other websites before you proceed to visit the site or provide any personal information there.