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Privacy Policy

Who We Are

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) is a feminist organization and registered charity incorporated under the BC Societies Act. We are committed to addressing sexualized violence through:

  • prevention programs
  • direct client services programs

Our direct client services include:

  • access line
  • sexual assault response team
  • clinic and counselling services
  • victim services with the justice system.

Our privacy policy

VSAC is committed to respecting the privacy of our donors, program participants, clients, employees and volunteers by following the BC Personal Information Protection Act and other laws that apply to our handling of personal information. This privacy policy explains how we do that in our operations.

The rules for how organizations collect, use and disclose personal information are set out in the Personal Information Protection Act.

Personal information is information that is about an identifiable individual. This means information that:

  • identifies an individual directly, such as their name
  • identifies an individual indirectly, such as their personal health number
  • is about an identifiable individual, such as their gender, health or employment history.

Personal information does not include an individual’s contact information at their place of business or information that they produce for their work activities.

The Personal Information Protection Act permits VSAC to collect, use and disclose personal information only for purposes that are reasonably appropriate for our operations, and only when we have the consent of that individual or the law authorizes us to act without their consent.

Our privacy officer

Our privacy officer is responsible for VSAC’s compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act. You may bring any questions or complaints about our handling of your personal information in writing to our privacy officer, who may be contacted at:

Privacy Officer
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre
201-3060 Cedar Hill Road
Victoria, BC V8T 3J5

Tel: 250-383-5545
Fax: 250-383-6112
Email:

You may be required to prove your identity before discussion of an inquiry involving your personal information.

You may also make a complaint about VSAC’s handling of your personal information under the Personal Information Protection Act to the:

BC Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
PO Box 9038 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9A4 

Tel (Victoria): 250-387-5629
Tel (Vancouver): 250-660-2421
Tel (Elsewhere in BC): 800-663-7867
Fax: 250-387-1696
Email:

Collecting personal information

Unless the purposes for collecting personal information are obvious and the individual voluntarily provides their personal information for those purposes, VSAC will communicate the purposes for which we collect personal information, either orally or in writing, before or at the time the information is collected.

VSAC only collects personal information that is reasonably appropriate to fulfill the purposes of our operations. The personal information that is collected will depend on the nature of the program, service or function involved.

Consent

VSAC obtains individual consent to collect, use or disclose personal information, unless the law authorizes us to do so without consent.

An individual can give their consent expressly, or their consent can be implied when the purpose involved would be considered obvious and the individual has voluntarily provided the personal information for that purpose.

An individual can withhold or withdraw their consent for VSAC to use their personal information. However, this may limit our ability to provide a program, service or function. Withdrawal of consent may also be subject to necessary record retention and reporting that the law authorizes VSAC to do.

Using and disclosing personal information

VSAC only uses or discloses personal information when that is reasonably appropriate to fulfill the purposes of our operations identified at the time the information is collected.

VSAC does not use or disclose personal information for additional purposes, unless we obtain consent or are authorized by law.

VSAC does not sell donor lists or other personal information.

Retaining personal information

If VSAC uses an individual’s personal information to make a decision that directly affects them, we retain that personal information for at least one year so the individual has a reasonable opportunity to request access to it.

Otherwise, we only retain personal information as long as it is needed to fulfill the identified purposes, or other authorized legal or business purposes, for its retention.

Ensuring accuracy of personal information

VSAC makes reasonable efforts to ensure that the personal information we handle is accurate and complete where it may be used to make a decision directly affecting that individual or disclosed to another organization.

The Personal Information Protection Act gives individuals the right to request correction of their personal information in order to ensure its accuracy and completeness. The individual must make their request in writing and provide sufficient detail to identify the personal information and the correction being sought. The request may be made to VSAC’s privacy officer.

If the personal information is factually inaccurate or incomplete, VSAC will correct the personal information and send the corrected information to any organization to which we disclosed the personal information in the previous year. If a correction is not made, we will note the correction request in our file.

Securing personal information

VSAC is committed to protecting personal information under our control from unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification, disposal or similar risks.

We use the following security measures to ensure that personal information is appropriately protected:

  • limiting the amount of personal information collected
  • limiting access to personal information on a need-to-know basis
  • physical measures, including:
    • alarm systems 
    • storing printed materials containing personal information behind locked doors
  • technological measures, including:
    • using password protection on secure computers and mobile devices
    • storing electronic personal information in password-protected databases on VSAC’s secure server with firewall and antivirus protection
    • storing research data from our prevention program on a secure web-based software platform
    • using a secure, cloud-based software platform for our videotelephony and online chat services
  • only transmitting personal information of our clients, program participants, or donors by email or text with their consent
  • administrative security, including:
    • confidentiality agreements
    • terms of use for information technology.

We also use appropriate security measures when destroying personal information, such as shredding documents and deleting electronically stored information.

Providing access to personal information

The Personal Information Protection Act gives individuals the right to access their personal information under the control of VSAC. This right of access is subject to certain exceptions. VSAC is also required, upon request, to tell individuals how we use their personal information and to whom it has been disclosed, if that applies.

The individual must make their request for access to their personal information in writing and provide sufficient detail to identify the personal information being sought. The request may be sent to our privacy officer. We will respond within 30 business days or notify the requestor that additional time is needed.

If a request is refused in full or in part, we will notify the requestor in writing with reasons and information about recourse to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

To our website users

The VSAC and Project Respect websites do not collect personal information of users except where the user freely provides such information through points of contact such as a sign-up form or when making a donation.

If you contact VSAC through points of contact provided on our websites, your message may be retained and used by us to respond to your inquiry and monitor any further interactions we have with you.

To our donors

VSAC receives donations online through its website, as well as directly by cheque, money order, credit card, or automatic bank deposit instalments.

VSAC is required to keep records of the donations it receives and issues tax receipts for eligible donations. VSAC will use your name and contact information to issue a receipt to you for your gift. We will only use your name and contact information to provide ongoing news about VSAC and invite future donations if you consent to that. You may choose to receive ongoing news about VSAC when you make your donation and may change your choice later by contacting us.

VSAC does not sell donor lists and will not publish your identity unless you consent to disclose that you are making your donation.

VSAC also receives donations through third parties including CanadaHelps, PayPal Giving Fund, Benevity, Donate-a-Car, Charitable Impact, United Way and others. You may choose whether or not to share your name and contact information with VSAC when you make your donation through these third parties.

VSAC employs a telemarketing firm to solicit donations to us. If you donate to VSAC through the telemarketer, we will receive your name and contact information and issue a receipt to you for your gift.

To clients of our direct client services programs

VSAC recognizes the high sensitivity and confidentiality of personal information of clients of our direct client services programs. We only collect and use your personal information with your consent for the purpose of providing our services to you.

Your personal information is only accessible within VSAC on a need-to-know basis. This may include your counsellor/support worker discussing your services with their manager or other counsellors/support workers at VSAC in order to provide better services.

We respect and protect your confidentiality. However, please remember that we cannot guarantee the secure transmission of your personal information if you send it to us by email or text message.

We only disclose your personal information without your consent in the rare circumstances that we are authorized to do so by law. Those circumstances include:

  • if VSAC has reason to believe that a child under the age of 19 is in need of protection from harm, section 14 of the BC Child, Family and Community Service Act requires us to inform the appropriate persons at the Ministry for Children and Family Development
  • if VSAC has compelling reason to believe that you might cause serious physical harm to yourself or someone else, we will intervene by informing the appropriate persons (family doctor, police, etc.) and notify you that we have done so under section 18 of the Personal Information Protection Act
  • if a court orders your file to be produced in a court proceeding or compels a VSAC employee to testify in court about the contents of that file, VSAC must comply with the court’s order.

In addition to our privacy officer, you may ask your VSAC counsellor/support workerfor information about our records of services provided to you. You do not need to make that request in writing.

VSAC does not provide services to clients under age 13. If you are a youth age 14 to 19, you will receive the same respect and protection of your personal information as our adult clients.

VSAC does not control or retain the information that a medical practitioner or law enforcement officer collects from you when they provide medical or law enforcement services through our sexual assault response clinic and interview facilities.

To participants in our prevention programs

VSAC also respects the personal information of our prevention program participants. We only collect and use your personal information with your consent for the purpose of your participation in our programs.

We respect your personal information within our organization. We will only disclose your personal information when we are authorized by law to do so (those circumstances are described in the section above). However, please remember that we cannot guarantee the secure transmission of your personal information if you send it to us by email or text.

In addition to our privacy officer, you may ask your VSAC staff contactfor information about our records of your involvement in our prevention programs. You do not need to make that request in writing.

VSAC does not provide prevention programming to those under age 13. If you are a youth age 14 to 19, you will receive the same respect and protection of your personal information as our adult participants.

To our employees

VSAC respects the confidentiality of employee personal information that we collect, use and disclose to establish, manage and terminate the employment relationship.

We only collect, use and disclose your employee personal information as authorized by the Personal Information Protection Act and collective agreement, if applicable.

In addition to our privacy officer, you may ask your manager about our record of your employee personal information. You do not need to make that request in writing.

To our volunteers

VSAC respects the confidentiality of volunteer personal information that we collect, use and disclose to establish, manage and terminate the volunteer relationship.

We only collect, use and disclose your personal information as authorized by the Personal Information Protection Act.

In addition to our privacy officer, you may ask our volunteer coordinator about our record of your volunteer personal information. You do not need to make that request in writing.

To our members

VSAC does not publish the names or contact information of our members and we will not disclose your name and contact information to other members without your consent.