Since September 22, 2022, all public bodies subject to the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (CQLR c. A-2.1) were required to establish a committee on access to information and the protection of personal information (an “AIPPI Committee”) (s. 8.1). The AIPPI Committee’s purpose is to help organizations fulfill their privacy responsibilities, which includes approving governance rules for personal information (s. 63.3). Organizations have the further duty to consult their AIPPI committee “from the outset of any project to acquire, develop or overhaul an information system or electronic service delivery system” involving personal information” (s. 63.5).
However, the Act does provide that the government may exempt certain public bodies from the obligation to from such a committee by adopting exemption regulations. Case in point, under the Regulation published on May 17, 2023, in the Gazette officielle du Québec, any public body that employed 50 or fewer employees in the previous calendar year is exempted from this obligation for one calendar year. The number of 50 employees is based on the average number of employees during the previous calendar year.
An employee is defined as any natural person who undertakes to do work for remuneration under the direction or control of an employer, with the exception of certain students, trainees or people in employment assistance programs to whom minimum wage provisions do not apply.
Therefore, effective June 1, 2023, professional orders with 50 or fewer employees are now exempt from the requirement to establish an AIPPI Committee. In the absence of a committee, their duties are performed by the person in charge of the protection of personal information.