EQUIFAX CANADA: COMMITTED TO PERSONAL PRIVACY
Privacy Practices - Overview
Personal information we collect
We collect credit information from various sources, including organizations that have granted you credit, collection agencies and public records. We also collect some credit information from consumers who contact us to request changes or updates to information about them in our credit files.
Credit information, which may be defined by applicable provincial laws, includes: your name, date of birth, marital status, social insurance number, current and previous places of employment, estimated income, paying habits, outstanding debt obligations and cost of living obligations.
Credit information does NOT include information about: medical history, the name of a spouse, partner or dependent, race, colour, creed or religion, or commercial enterprises. Consumer credit information is collected from credit grantors, public records, collection agencies and the consumer.
We also collect personal information from individuals who request services and products from us for their personal use. This includes: identifying information, address, telephone and email contact information, and payment details.
We may also collect personal information provided to us on applications for employment, in correspondence and other communications sent to us with questions or concerns about our products or services, to defend litigation proceedings, and to audit or investigate the use of our products and services.
Purposes for which we use personal information
We use credit information to prepare and disclose consumer credit reports, credit scores and related services to Equifax customers. An Equifax customer must only use a credit report for purposes permitted by applicable laws. In most cases, our customers are also required to have the individual's consent to receive a credit report. However, in some circumstances - for example to collect a debt or to comply with a court order - the individual's consent may not be required under applicable laws.
We use personal information collected from an individual who requests services and products from us to: process payments; deliver the services and products; monitor, review and improve customer service and internal business processes; communicate with the individual about our services and products; communicate information and extend offers to the individual about other services and products, unless the individual informs us that they do not wish to receive these types of communications.
We use personal information only for the purpose for which it was collected. For example, we will only use personal information included on a job application for the purpose of evaluating the applicant as a candidate for employment.
Access to personal information
An individual may request a free copy of their credit report for free by mail, fax or toll-free phone number, or online for a fee. If you believe any information in your credit file is inaccurate or incomplete, we will contact the source of information to verify it, and will make any necessary corrections. You may include a brief written statement in your credit file to be included on any future credit report.
An individual may request access to other personal information (e.g., non-credit information) by sending us a written request that meets any requirements specified by the applicable law.
How to Contact Us
Questions and concerns about information in an individual's credit file should be addressed to:
Equifax Canada Co.
Box 190 Jean Talon Station
Montreal, QC H1S 2Z2
Tel: 514 493 2314 or 1 800 465 7166.
Please note that an individual must request and review a copy of their credit report before our consumer relations agents can discuss information about it.
General questions about Equifax's commitment to personal privacy and data protection practices should be addressed to:
Chief Privacy Officer
Equifax Canada Co.
5700 Yonge St., 17th Floor
Toronto, ON M2M 4K2
Individual Personal Information Rights
Equifax believes that Canadians have the following fundamental rights:
- The right to know what personal information about them has been collected, stored and disclosed.
- The right to review personal information Equifax stores, in a reasonable time, in a format that is understandable.
- The right to challenge inaccurate information and have it corrected.
- The right to expect that personal information is only used for purposes permitted by law.
- The right to have personal information safeguarded using secure storage, confidential handling within the organization, and secure transmittal to authorized and legitimate users.
- The right to be treated fairly and respectfully when personal information is used.
- The right to privacy, consistent with the requests and demands they make of organizations who collect, use and disclose personal information.
- The right to have personal information maintained to a level of accuracy that is consistent with or better than the industry's best practices of record keeping and information systems management.
- The right to have their applications for benefits and opportunities evaluated on the basis of relevant and accurate personal information.
Equifax helps consumers and businesses complete financial transactions such as credit card applications, car loans, installment purchases and home purchases by providing credit grantors with access to accurate information about a consumers' credit history. Equifax also provides products and services directly to consumers to help them monitor and protect their personal information. Although our ability to provide services to both our customers and to consumers requires that we collect personal information about individual consumers, we take measures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of that information.
In the course of its business operations, Equifax collects, uses and discloses personal information, as defined by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and other applicable laws, about individual consumers.
This Policy outlines our commitments to you regarding personal information collected, used and disclosed in Equifax's consumer credit reporting operations. It also addresses how Equifax collects, uses and discloses personal information that you provide to us as a consumer when accessing our services and products directly. Equifax takes your right to privacy and the protection of your personal information very seriously, and this Policy incorporates PIPEDA's ten core principles.
In this policy, the following words and phrases have particular definitions:
"Chief Privacy Officer" means the person designated by Equifax and assigned responsibility for ensuring Equifax's compliance with PIPEDA requirements;
"consent" means consent by a consumer for Equifax to disclose information contained in a credit file relating to the consumer, and includes consent given indirectly to Equifax by giving consent to an Equifax customer;
"consumer" means an individual, natural person;
"consumer statement" means a written notation provided by a consumer and included in his or her credit file to explain or dispute information relating to an item in the credit file;
"credit database" means the Equifax computer and physical systems within which information about consumers is stored;
"credit file" means all of the information, including personal information, about a consumer that is recorded and retained in the credit database;
"credit information" means information about an identifiable consumer and may include name, date of birth, social insurance number, marital status, current and previous places of residence, occupation, places of current and previous employment, estimated income, paying habits, outstanding debt obligations, and cost of living obligations;
"credit inquiry" means a request by a customer for credit information contained in a consumer's credit file;
"credit report" means a communication made to any person disclosing personal information contained in a credit file;
"customer" means a person or company who receives credit reports and related services from Equifax or who provides information to Equifax;
"disclosure" means the release or provision of information contained in a credit file to any person, including the consumer to whom it relates;
"permissible purpose" means any purpose permitted by a federal or applicable provincial law;
"personal information" means any information about an identifiable individual, including credit information, but does not include the name, title or business address or business telephone number of an employee of an organization; and
"third party" means any person other than Equifax and a consumer.
Principle No. 1: Accountability
Equifax has designated a senior employee as Chief Privacy Officer. The Chief Privacy Officer is responsible and accountable for Equifax's compliance with PIPEDA and provincial privacy laws.
The Chief Privacy Officer is unable to answer specific questions about individual consumer credit file concerns. Consumer requests and concerns are handled through our national Consumer Relations Department.
In addition to the Chief Privacy Officer, Equifax may assign responsibility to other Equifax employees to review and address consumer privacy concerns on a day-to-day basis.
Principle No. 2: Identifying the purpose for collection of personal information
Personal information collected by Equifax and maintained in our consumer credit database is provided to our customers in accordance with applicable credit reporting laws and privacy legislation. Identifying information is used to correctly match a consumer with his or her credit file.
Equifax customers update consumer credit files regularly by providing information to Equifax about their own customers' credit and payment activities. Equifax uses the information to ensure that consumer credit reports remain as up-to-date, accurate and complete as possible. Other sources of the information contained in your consumer credit file may include collection agencies' information and public record information.
Other personal information:
Personal information may be collected from you when you request Equifax products, contact us or visit our website. Information collected from you by different business units of Equifax may be combined to help us manage your information. The information collected as a result of these activities does not become part of your credit file, and is not disclosed to Equifax customers.
Principle No. 3 : Consent
Equifax may obtain your consent to disclose your personal information directly from you, or indirectly from you through one of our customers. Depending on the circumstances, you may give your consent verbally, in writing or electronically. Our customers are contractually and legally obliged to obtain your consent in order to access your consumer credit file. This is clearly set out in the contractual agreement between Equifax and a customer.
When Equifax customers provide us with information about a consumer to include in a consumer's credit file, or request a consumer credit report, they must have the consumer's consent to do so. This consent allows our customer to disclose information to Equifax, and allows Equifax to collect, use and disclose it in a future credit report in accordance with applicable credit reporting and privacy laws.
When you request a product or service from Equifax, or when you contact us directly, you also consent to the collection of your personal information. The consent you give in these situations is limited to the particular purpose for which the information is collected. Your consent may be express or, in some circumstances, implied or deemed under applicable law.
Principle No. 4 : Limiting collection of personal information
The information contained within your Equifax consumer credit file is collected from three sources:
information provided by Equifax customers;
public records; and
information provided directly by you.
Information in your credit file collected, used and disclosed by Equifax is limited to the information that which is necessary to fulfill the purposes identified by Equifax and that Equifax is permitted to collect under applicable credit reporting laws. Where it is available, Equifax collects and maintains the following personal information in consumer credit files:
Identifying information - key identification information that allows Equifax to match a person with his or her credit file, including information such as name, address, date of birth and, if the person voluntarily provided it to a credit grantor, his or her Social Insurance Number.
Inquiries - a list of persons and companies that have requested a copy of the consumer's credit report.
Public record information - details on any publicly available information such as secured loans, bankruptcies, court orders and judgments.
Third-party collection agency - information about any involvement by a collection agency trying to settle a debt owed by the consumer to a creditor.
Trade information - details of a consumer's credit transactions and the manner in which payments are being and have previously been made.
Consumer statement - a brief written statement that may be provided by the consumer to clarify information in his or her credit file.
Equifax does not collect or maintain any information in a consumer's credit file related to:
Name of a spouse or same-sex partner or information on the consumer's dependents;
Race, colour, creed, religion or other similar personal information.
Other personal information:
In addition to your credit information, Equifax may also collect personal information when you have direct contact with us for other reasons. Information collected by Equifax in these circumstances does not become part of your credit file. If it is maintained, this type of information is stored completely separately from your credit information and is not accessible by Equifax customers.
Some examples of situations when personal information may be collected that are not included in your credit information include:
When you request a service or product form Equifax, we will collect personal information from you during the order process.
When you apply for employment with Equifax, we may collect personal information from your application or resume.
When you call Equifax by telephone, the call may be recorded or monitored to help us train employees and to ensure we are maintaining a high standard of consumer care. You will be notified by an automated message if your call may be monitored or recorded.
Principle No. 5 : Limiting use, disclosure and retention
Equifax limits the use, disclosure and retention of your credit information in accordance with applicable credit reporting and privacy laws. An Equifax customer must have your consent and a purpose permitted by law to access Equifax consumer credit reports. All Equifax customers are required to go through the Equifax application screening process and access is not granted to all applicants. The customers that are accepted by Equifax are carefully screened and contractually obliged to respect and abide by all applicable credit reporting and privacy laws. Equifax conducts periodic audits to ensure that Equifax customers are acting in compliance with their contractual and legal obligations.
As a Canadian consumer, you have the right to know the full and complete content of your Equifax consumer credit file. Equifax will disclose your credit information to you free of charge by mail or telephone. Equifax will respond to any questions or concerns that you may have regarding your Equifax consumer credit file. For information about how to obtain a copy of your personal information, please refer to the FAQ section on our website.
Credit information in your consumer credit file is maintained in accordance with legislated data retention guidelines.
Other personal information
Equifax uses information collected directly from you when you request a service or product to:
Bill you, and process payments for services you have requested, and send you receipts;
Manage your customer account;
Deliver the service or product;
Monitor, review and improve customer service and internal business processes;
Support the development of improved and new services and products;
Send you information about the services and products you requested;
Send you information (including special offers) about other services and products you may be interested in; and
Meet our obligations under all applicable laws.
You may notify Equifax at any time that you do not wish to receive information about services and products other than those you have requested. We will add you to our opt-out list, and will no longer send you that information.
Personal information is only used for the specific purpose for which it was collected. For example, when you submit a resume or job application, we will only use it to evaluate your potential as a candidate for employment. Personal information collected for purposes other than credit reporting does not become part of your consumer credit file, and we will only disclose it with your consent or as otherwise permitted under applicable law.
In some circumstances, Equifax may be required to disclose personal information to a third party to comply with an applicable law – for example, a court order. If Equifax is required to disclose your personal information as a result of a legal inquiry or order, we will take steps to verify that the order is enforceable and will then disclose only the information that is required to comply with the order. Generally, when your personal information is disclosed as a result of a legal inquiry or order, you will be entitled to know of the disclosure.
Principle No. 6: Accuracy
Equifax is committed to collecting, using and disclosing the most accurate information reasonably available to it. If you have reviewed your credit file and believe that an item is not accurately reported, please complete the Consumer Credit Update Form which accompanies the consumer credit file you receive from Equifax and mail it to: Equifax Canada Co., Consumer Relations Department, Box 190 Jean Talon Station, Montreal, Quebec, H1S 2Z2. You may also call Equifax Consumer Relations at 1-800-465-7166.
From time to time, Equifax customers may cease reporting information to Equifax. In order to maintain the accuracy of your information, when this occurs, Equifax will remove all information previously provided by that customer from your credit file within 60 days of the cessation of reporting.
We do this to ensure that incomplete information does not inaccurately reflect on your credit file. For example, if a customer was reporting payments on a 5-year term loan and ceased reporting, the file would reflect outstanding payments, which may be inaccurate
Upon receipt of your Consumer Credit Update Form regarding the information that you are disputing, Equifax will contact the source of the information reported in your credit file to verify the item. If we are unable to confirm a particular piece of information, we will remove it from your credit file. If we receive updated information from the person or company that provided it, we will adjust the information in your credit file.
If we make any changes to your credit file as a result of request or dispute you submitted, we will send you a revised credit report showing the changes. We will also, upon your request, send your revised credit file to any Equifax customer who may have recently received your credit report.
If the source of disputed information confirms that it is accurate, Equifax will not make any change to the information. We will provide you with the name of the source and a telephone number at which you can contact them. Upon your request, Equifax will also include a statement about the disputed information on your credit file.
If at any time personal information that we have collected about you changes, we encourage you to contact Equifax so that we can update our records. This is important because it will, for example, help potential credit grantors verify your identity and review your credit history when you apply for credit. It will also ensure that we are able to communicate with you about products or services you have requested and inquiries you have submitted.
Principle No. 7 :Safeguards
Equifax takes the protection and security of your personal information very seriously. Our Chief Privacy Officer is responsible for overseeing and ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect your personal information by complying with PIPEDA requirements.
Equifax appreciates the sensitive nature of the information it maintains and has implemented strict safeguards to protect it. This includes ensuring that when Equifax destroys old information and records, it does so in a safe and secure way. These standards are in place for all information, regardless of how it is stored. Equifax regularly reviews, tests and enhances its systems to assure that they meet accepted industry security standards.
In addition to these data protection and security protocols, Equifax also limits the number of employees who may access your personal information. Access to your consumer credit file is restricted to employees who have a specific need to access your information in order to discuss it with you, to generate a consumer credit report, or to conduct investigations to verify and correct information in your file.
Maintaining the confidentiality of information they access during the course of their duties is a key condition of employment with Equifax, and this applies to every employee of our company. To support our commitment to protecting your personal information, Equifax conducts ongoing professional development training to educate its employees about privacy awareness and security issues.
As a consumer, you must also take reasonable steps to safeguard your own information. Some things you can do include:
Protecting your PIN (personal identification number) codes associated with your bank and credit cards;
Storing your SIN (social insurance number) card in a secure place; and,
Advising Equifax if you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft or credit fraud.
Please be aware that Equifax cannot guarantee the security of information you may transmit online. If you are concerned about the security of the information you send to Equifax, you may wish to consider using a secure method of delivery.
Principle No. 8: Openness
This policy is intended to provide information about Equifax's approach to privacy matters and its obligations in handling personal information.
If you have any questions about this policy or Equifax's practices and procedures for managing your personal information, please contact us at:
Chief Privacy Officer
Equifax Canada Co.
5700 Yonge St., 17th floor
Toronto, ON M2M 4K2
We would be pleased to provide you with a printed copy of this policy upon your request.
Principle No. 9 : Individual access
All Canadian consumers are entitled to receive a full and complete copy their Equifax credit file at no charge, upon request. If you have any special needs and require assistance preparing a request to obtain a copy of your credit file, Equifax Consumer Relations can help you.
Requests for access to personal information Equifax may have recorded about you that are not part of your credit file (e.g. information collected when you requested a product from us) are subject to applicable federal or provincial law, and must be made in writing.
Equifax is committed to respond to your requests for access to personal information, including credit information, within the time periods prescribed by applicable laws.
In the unlikely event that we are unable to provide information that you request, we will notify you in writing of the reasons.
Principle No. 10: Ensuring compliance
Chief Privacy Officer
Equifax Canada Co.
5700 Yonge St., 17th floor
Toronto, ON M2M 4K2
We will acknowledge and respond to all inquiries. We will review your inquiry and, if appropriate, will investigate, take corrective action and inform you of our findings.
You make seek advice from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at
Credit Reporting Information FAQs
1. Why does Equifax collect, use and disclose my credit information?
Equifax is a credit reporting agency. We collect information from a variety of sources about your financial and credit transactions and use it to maintain a credit file that records the history of your credit activities. Based on the information in our credit file, we are able to prepare credit reports and provide other related services to our customers.
2. What is included in my credit file?
Equifax only records and retains information that is relevant to your credit history and sufficient to identify you with your credit file. For example, our credit database does not include information about your race, creed, religion, health or lifestyle. The information that we are permitted to retain and disclose in credit reports is governed by credit reporting and privacy legislation.
3. Where does Equifax obtain the information that becomes part of my credit file?
All of the information in our consumer credit database comes from verifiable public records (e.g. court orders and bankruptcy filings), credit grantors, and directly from consumers. This helps us ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information in our database. As our sources report new information, we automatically update your credit file to reflect the most currently available information.
4. May I review my credit file?
Yes. As a Canadian consumer, you have the right to know the contents of your Equifax credit file. You may obtain a copy of your file free of charge by mail or telephone or for a reasonable fee through our website. For more information about how to obtain a copy of your consumer credit report, please see Question 11 below.
5. What if I find something in my credit file that is inaccurate?
If you notice any information in your credit file that you believe is inaccurate or incomplete, please let us know. Equifax will investigate any information contained in your credit file upon your request by contacting the source of the information. If the investigation finds that the information is not accurate or complete, Equifax will make the necessary corrections and send you an updated copy of your credit file.
6. May I add or change information in my credit file?
Equifax strives to maintain the accuracy of the information in our credit files. If you review your credit file and notice any information is inaccurate or incomplete, please use the form provided to notify us of the correct or complete information. Equifax will take steps to verify the information you provide, and once it is confirmed we will include it in your credit file.
7. What if I disagree with the conclusion of your investigation?
If you are not satisfied with the conclusion of our investigation into any information in your credit file, you may provide us with a brief written statement to be included in your credit file. This statement will be included on any future credit report.
If you feel that Equifax has failed to meet its obligations to you, you may make a complaint to the Equifax Chief Privacy Officer, to your provincial Registrar of Credit Reporting Agencies, to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, or to your applicable provincial Information and Privacy Commissioner.
8. How does Equifax obtain my consent to disclose my information?
When required by law, Equifax's customers must obtain your consent before we will disclose your credit report to them. They may obtain your consent in writing, verbally or electronically, depending on the applicable legal requirements in the circumstances. Equifax periodically audits our customers' records to verify that they have obtained the required consent
When you request a copy of your credit file directly from Equifax, we will ask you to verify your identity and to consent to the disclosure to you of an up-to-date copy of the information in your credit file.
9. How does an organization become an Equifax customer?
Equifax screens all new customers before they are allowed to request consumer credit information. Our criteria are very strict, and not all requests for access are granted. The process includes a review of the applicant's business and an on-site visit to verify that the prospective customer has a legitimate reason to request consumer credit reports, and the necessary security systems to protect them. Every Equifax customer is required to respect and adhere to all applicable credit reporting and privacy laws.
10. How does Equifax store my information and how do I know it is secure?
Equifax takes its duty to protect your privacy very seriously, and treats your information with a great deal of care and sensitivity. All information maintained by Equifax is stored using accepted industry security standards and data protection protocols.
11. How do I obtain a free copy of my credit report from Equifax?
Equifax will disclose your credit information to you free of charge by mail or telephone. Equifax will also respond to any questions or concerns that you may have regarding your Equifax consumer credit file.
Equifax has an Interactive Voice Response System for consumer credit file disclosures. You can order a copy of your credit report over the phone by dialing 1-800-465-7166, and then entering certain required information to verify your identity. The report will be delivered by mail directly to your home address.
In addition to the Interactive Voice Response System, you can request a copy of your Equifax credit file by mailing or faxing a photocopy of two pieces of signed valid identification, including at least one with photo identification. Examples of acceptable identification include: a driver's license; birth certificate; social insurance number (optional); and passport. A copy of your credit file is mailed to you once your identity is confirmed. Once the identification you provided has been used to verify your identify, Equifax destroys all copies of it.
Please never send originals of your documents, and make sure that all copies of your identification are legible. Equifax will send you a copy of your credit file by regular mail.
In addition, and for a fee, the Equifax website located at https://www.econsumer.equifax.ca/ca/main?lang=en provides Canadian consumers online, real-time access to their credit files. Consumers provide personal information during the order process for their credit file in order that Equifax can verify their identity and immediately deliver their credit report.