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Privacy at OPTrust

What is personal information?

Personal information is defined as information in any form or manner about an individual, whether or not recorded, that identifies the individual, can be manipulated to identify the individual, or can be linked to other information that identifies the individual.

How does OPTrust protect my personal information?

OPTrust has in place a privacy policy with stringent privacy principles that sets out specific rights and obligations including, among others:

  • advising individuals of the purposes for which their personal information is being collected and used
  • outlining the circumstances or purposes under which it will be disclosed to third parties
  • obtaining consent of the individual for such collection
  • identifying uses and potential disclosure, and;
  • ensuring that the information is not used or disclosed for other purposes without further consent.
Why does OPTrust collect and use personal information?

OPTrust uses your personal information to determine and calculate your pension benefit. We need this information to make accurate calculations of your pension entitlements. We also need your personal contact information to be as up-to-date as possible so that we can contact you and also ensure that your survivor information is current. OPTrust needs to keep you informed about your pension and any changes that may affect you. For example, each year we send you an Annual Pension Statement and other communications which detail Plan provisions and provide other information that is important to you. We also let you know when there is an amendment to the Plan (such as the extension of an early retirement window or a change in your contribution rate) or about other important pension or tax legislation changes. This is why it is crucial that we maintain up-to-date information on our members and pensioners, including mailing addresses.

Why even have privacy policies?

Privacy is a significant business risk and must be managed like any other business risk. Creating, transmitting and complying with an organization-wide informational privacy policy is essential to ensuring that legislation, regulations and business expectations are met. Rest assured, protecting your privacy and ensuring the security of your personal information has always been a major priority at OPTrust.

What are the organizational risks and exposures in not having an effective privacy program in place?

If an organization does not have a privacy program in place it risks damaging its standing with its clients and its business relationships.

What are the benefits of having a privacy policy and program in place?

An effective privacy program protects OPTrust's public image and name. It also enhances the organization's credibility and promotes continued confidence on the part of members, pensioners, survivors and other business contacts. Having a privacy program in place allows OPTrust to efficiently manage personal information and, thereby, reducing administration costs and any other unnecessary financial costs. Simply put, it is 'good business' to have a privacy program and is the appropriate way of dealing with personal information.

What has OPTrust done to ensure that your personal information is protected?

As part of the ongoing privacy initiative the OPTrust has done the following:

  • designated a Privacy Co-ordinator as the contact person at OPTrust to deal with privacy issues
  • drafted a Privacy Protocol
  • continued to provide comprehensive training to staff about privacy practices at OPTrust
  • provided communications to members, pensioners and employers about OPTrust's privacy policy
  • adopted procedures to respond to complaints or queries about privacy from members and pensioners.
What is the role of the Privacy Co-ordinator at OPTrust?

OPTrust has designated a contact person to facilitate the organization's compliance with privacy principles. It is the Privacy Co-ordinator's responsibility to ensure that appropriate informational privacy policies and practices are implemented and maintained. These include:

  1. developing procedures to protect personal information
  2. establishing procedures to receive and respond to complaints and enquiries
  3. training and communicating to staff the information about the organization's policies and practices
  4. developing information to explain the organization's policies and procedures.

The Privacy Co-ordinator also:

  • monitors and reports on OPTrust's compliance with both the privacy legislation and OPTrust's confidentiality policies
  • deals with public enquiries and/or complaints
  • handles specific privacy queries that originate from regulators or other institutions
  • is the first-line contact with regulators or other institutions for any organizational questions concerning privacy
  • assists in the education of OPTrust employees about their responsibilities with respect to the privacy principles
  • prepares privacy policies, procedures and communicate them to employees
  • trains staff to manage and protect the privacy of personal information
  • develops appropriate documents for disseminating information on privacy policies and prepares forms/correspondence for responding to enquiries and complaints.
Your personal information is protected

OPTrust has conducted a thorough review to determine any steps the organization must take to enhance its privacy policies. In fact, OPTrust along with other public sector pension plans already had strict standards in place about dealing with personal information. We also believe in consistent vigilance on privacy matters. OPTrust staff have always taken great care and sensitivity when dealing with member/pensioner personal information.

We will keep you informed

Please be assured that the use, collection and disclosure of member and pensioner personal information will continue to be very important to OPTrust. We will continue to assess the impact of any business changes and ensure that our business practices meet or exceed the established standards. We will also keep you informed about any steps that we are taking in this regard. If you have any concerns or questions regarding OPTrust's privacy policies and procedures, please contact our Privacy Co-ordinator at (416) 681-6161 or toll-free within Canada 1-800-906-7738 or by e-mail at privacy@optrust.com.

For more information, download our booklet Privacy Matters at OPTrust.