Principle 2: Identifying purposes

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The purposes for which personal information is collected shall be identified by the organization at or before the time the information is collected.

Population Data BC is a custodian of Personal Information previously collected by provincial ministries and other public bodies (the “Data Stewards”). Population Data BC is permitted to link those Data for research purposes and to provide linked Data for approved research projects. Population Data BC does not engage in any primary collection of Data.

The following policies therefore relate to the identification of purposes for the use, disclosure and retention of secondary Data. 



Related Procedures

Policy 2.1

Data Stewards are responsible for ensuring that the legal authority exists for the collection of Personal Information. Under section 33 of FIPPA, designated public bodies are permitted to disclose Personal Information to another public body (e.g., Population Data BC) where the information is necessary for the operations or functions of the receiving public body and for research or statistical purposes.

Procedure 2.1

  1. Data sharing agreements (such as Information Sharing Agreements, data directives and other data sharing agreements) are signed with the Data Steward(s) outlining the terms and conditions binding upon Population Data BC in the holding, using, disclosing or retaining of Data received from the Data Steward(s) for authorized and legitimate research or statistical purposes, or for the provision of services as per a signed Service Agreement.

  2. Population Data BC encourages Data Stewards to inform individuals that their Personal Information will be used for research and statistical purposes, under controlled conditions, as authorised by law.

Policy 2.2

Population Data BC houses and protects Data to support research in human health, well-being, and development that is in the public interest.

Procedure 2.2

  1. Population Data BC has the authority pursuant to FIPPA and related data sharing greements to engage in Data linkage for research and statistical purposes, and to disclose Data in the form of Research Extracts to Researchers in accordance with signed Research Agreements between Researchers and Data Steward(s).

Policy 2.3

Population Data BC only discloses Data in the form of Research Extracts to Researchers where the Data has been approved for disclosure by the appropriate Data Steward(s) and in accordance with a Research Agreement between the Researcher and Data Steward. Population Data BC, in effect, serves as an intermediary, facilitating the Data access process between Researchers and Data Stewards.


Procedure 2.3

  1. Population Data BC’s Data Access Unit staff assists Researchers with preparation of the Data Access Request (DAR) and to define their cohort, if requested. The DAR requires the Researchers to specify exactly which Data files, years of Data, and Data fields in each Data file they require, and therefore discourages the inclusion of unnecessary information in Research Extracts prepared for research.

  2. A DAR must be approved by the appropriate Data Steward(s), and a Research Agreement based on that DAR must be signed between the Researcher and Data Steward before Population Data BC will begin preparation of a Research Extract.  Disclosure of the Research Extract to the Researcher will only occur in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Research Agreement signed between the Researcher and Data Steward(s).

Policy 2.4

Population Data BC acts as a Service Provider to Public Bodies under signed Research Agreements and in accordance with the law.

Procedure 2.4

Population Data BC only discloses data in other forms pursuant to signed service agreements and in accordance with relevant controls and legislation.

Policy 2.5

Population Data BC retains the minimal amount of Personal Information in all Data files for its defined purpose. 


Procedure 2.5

  1. Identifiers are used only for linkage. After linkage is complete, the Identifiers are archived in a physically secure location.

  2. Identifiers such as names or Personal Health Numbers (PHNs) are replaced with study-specific ID numbers for all research Data extracted for purposes of an approved research project. Only the study-specific ID numbers are disclosed to Researchers along with the approved Content Data.


Page last revised: July 6, 2015