Alberta Privacy Policy: What You Need To Know

April 21, 2021
5 min read

Privacy is an important issue in 2021, and one every business should take very seriously. There are millions of new businesses and websites starting up every day and governments have created privacy laws to protect consumers visiting these websites.

The thing is…

Different countries have different privacy laws. So, how does a business with customers from all over the world navigate the issue of online privacy and respect these global differences?

person in yellow sweater typing into laptop

The answer?

A privacy policy!

Privacy policies were created as a way to navigate different regulations while protecting businesses and their customers.

Because businesses collect the personal information of their customers through their website, it is their responsibility to have a detailed privacy policy. This post will answer 5 important questions about privacy policies:

  • What is a privacy policy?
  • Why do you need a privacy policy?
  • What should your privacy policy include?
  • What happens if you don’t have a privacy policy?
  • Where should your privacy policy be displayed?

Need a privacy policy for your new Alberta business website? Then, you’ve come to the right place. If you have a question about privacy policies we didn’t answer here, feel free to send us an email at info@sparkandpony.com or hit us up on Instagram.

What is a Privacy Policy?

a wall full of security cameras pointed down at two women

A privacy policy is a document on your website that explains to your visitors how your business will collect, store, protect and use their personal information. While what qualifies as personal information varies depending on the regulations outlined by differing countries, typically it includes:

  • Names
  • Dates of birth
  • Addresses (postal and email)
  • Payment details (credit card numbers)
  • Location (IP address, geolocalization)
  • Social Insurance Numbers

In Canada, a privacy policy also includes:

  • Race, national or ethnic origin,
  • Religion,
  • Age, marital status,
  • Medical, education, or employment history
  • Views or opinions about you as an employee

Why Do You Need a Privacy Policy?

Privacy policies are required by law in most countries where you collect personal information on your website. For a summary of the privacy laws outlined by the Canadian government, click here.

Remember, these laws vary depending on the country. If you have customers or visitors from other countries, your privacy policy needs to encompass their specific regulations as well.

There are other reasons to include a privacy policy on your website, though. Most third-party services require websites to have a valid privacy policy in place before you use them.

girl sitting in chair on apple lap top

For example, if you plan on running advertising via Google Adsense and tracking your analytics, you need a privacy policy that complies with Google standards, as well as outlines your use of cookies.

Privacy policies also allow you to be fully transparent with your website visitors. It helps you establish trust and many will feel more comfortable navigating your website because of it.

What Should Your Privacy Policy Include?

What to include in your privacy policy depends on the type of business you own, where you are located, and where your customers are from.

Crafting the right privacy policy with all the necessary elements can get quite in-depth. So for our purposes here today, we will break it down as simply as possible.

lap top open to photo editing software

Your business privacy policy should include an explanation of:

  • What type of personal information you will be collecting
  • How you intend to collect that personal data
  • What you will be doing with this personal information
  • How you expect to protect their personal information from unauthorized use
  • Where you will be storing personal information and for how long

Visitors to your site should also understand that sharing their personal information is not mandatory and they can opt-out at any time. Finally, include your contact details so if someone has a question or concern regarding your privacy policy, they can easily get a hold of you.

What Happens If You Don't Have a Privacy Policy?

Like we said earlier, as a business you are required by law to have a privacy policy on your website. If you fail to have one, there are certain penalties you could be faced with as a result. These penalties are dependent on where you live.

For example, here in Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is the rule book for how businesses can collect, use, and share personal information. Companies who knowingly break PIPIDA regulations can be fined up to $100,000.

Ouch.

pretty girl sitting at laptop on patio working

Remember, if your business is in Canada but you have customers on your website from another place, like, say California, your policy should adhere to their regulations as well.

Today, more than 80 countries around the world have compiled specific privacy legislation. While most privacy policies are similar, there are differences. It is important that you understand where your website traffic is coming from and create a privacy policy that is all-encompassing.

Where Should Your Privacy Policy Be Displayed?

You spent all this work creating a privacy policy - why hide it? Use it as a tool to build trust with your site visitors and establish complete transparency.  

Including a link to your privacy policy in the footer is standard practice for most small businesses. However, if your site includes the ability for online transactions or account creation, we recommend reminding them of your policy throughout the sign-up and check-out process.

Walt Disney Privacy Policy

Even better?

Create a checkbox that customers need to click to confirm they have read and understood your privacy policy. This ensures consent and can be useful for evidence of compliance in the unfortunate case you need to prove that later.

To Recap...

While putting together a privacy policy might seem like a big deal, it has come to be a  standard practice among reputable businesses. Yes, even your favourite Edmonton restaurant or book store has a privacy policy on their website.

Unsure where to start? Your lawyer is usually able to supply you with the right privacy policy based on the information you provide him. If you feel like going it on your own, there are online resources to help you craft something strong.

Young man sitting at desk with laptop open working

For example, websitepolicies.com is a great resource. They can help you generate a generic privacy policy that adheres to most third-party app guidelines and country regulations. Try it here!

(We recommend having a lawyer look it over after, just to be safe).

If you decide to try and create a policy on your own, just be careful not to steal or copy a competitor's. This can lead to copyright violations and that is a whole different ball game.

Have a question about your privacy policies or need help with your new website?
Hit us up!

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