The Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada has recently released a finding that addresses the question of whether PIPEDA applies to "not for profit" organizations. In this case, an individual was seeking access to personal information in the custody of a daycare. The Assistant Commissioner concluded that PIPEDA does apply to this daycare as it was not municipally run:
Commissioner's Findings - PIPEDA Case Summary #309: Daycare denied parent access to his personal information - April 18, 2005:
"...The first matter that needed to be determined in this case was the issue of jurisdiction. Daycare officials said that the centre was a non-profit organization subsidized by city funding. They also claimed that the centre was subject to provincial and municipal legislation. This Office confirmed that the centre is not a municipal-run day care. We also found that there was a commercial activity involved, namely, payment for child care services. As such, this Office determined that the daycare was subject to the Act...."
This finding is interesting and could be instructive but ... the dearth of details about this particular daycare leaves little assistance in trying to surmise whether a particular organization is in or out of PIPEDA. My local YMCA runs a daycare that charges for its services. Commercial activity? The university up the street has a daycare. Commercial activity? Sadly, this summary of the Assitant Commissioner's decision provides almost no help for answering those questions, which pop up with surprising regularity.