In general, Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) applies to every organization that collects, uses or discloses personal information in the course of its commercial activities. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) recently released an interpretation document on the meaning of “commercial activity”, which is available here.

The interpretation document provides some marketing-specific examples. For example, the OPC considers the collection and online posting of individuals’ personal information to serve as advertisements for a person’s business to be performed in the course of a commercial activity and thus subject to PIPEDA. Another example is a social networking site collecting, using and disclosing personal information for the purpose of enhancing the users’ experience, thus indirectly contributing to the success of the site as a commercial enterprise.