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 Privacy statement

Government of Nova Scotia’s privacy information practices across government websites and online services.

The Government of Nova Scotia has a legal duty to protect your personal information, whether you are browsing for information or conducting business with the government through electronic channels.

Government’s handling of personal information is governed by legislation, including the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) Act as well as regulation and policies.

By using Government of Nova Scotia websites and online services, you accept the terms of this Privacy Statement. You also accept the Government of Nova Scotia’s use of Google Analytics.

If you do not wish to use the internet to provide personal information to the government for an online service, you might be able to contact the organization in person, by phone or by mail depending on the service or program.

What government collects online

Personal information means recorded information about an identifiable individual, as defined in the FOIPOP Act. It includes information such as your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, email address, credit card data and other information that identifies you.

General information (for example, type of web browser you use and what website pages you visit) is not considered personal information.

Government of Nova Scotia organizations collect your personal information only if it’s necessary to operate government services, programs or activities or if a specific law allows it. Some public sector bodies may also collect your personal information for law enforcement purposes.

Why government collects personal information

Government collects your personal information online, if you choose to provide it, to:

  • respond to your email inquiries, comments or requests
  • allow you to subscribe to information online
  • identify you
  • contact you as needed, in relation to providing government programs and services
  • process your application or renewal request for certificates, licences, permits, rebates and programs offered by the Government of Nova Scotia
  • enable you to register for and receive products or services online
  • get your feedback and allow you to participate in consultations or surveys
  • allow you to complete transactions and pay for government services

Privacy notices

When government asks you to provide personal information, it provides you with a notice so you are aware and informed. The notice explains the law that allows your personal information to be collected. It also outlines the purpose of collecting, using and disclosing your personal information. Privacy notices also explain how to contact someone in the government if you have questions about how your personal information is handled.

How government handles your personal information

Government uses or discloses your personal information for the same purpose or compatible purpose for which it was collected. Government may also use or disclose your personal information for other purposes outlined in the FOIPOP Act, such as complying with a court order, collecting an amount owing to the Government of Nova Scotia, making a payment or complying with another law. Government needs to get your consent before using or disclosing your personal information for any other purpose.

Payment card information

Personal information you provide during a credit card transaction may be stored, accessed from or disclosed outside Canada for payment processing. When you complete a credit card transaction, you consent to this use and disclosure of your personal information. For information on how credit card companies protect your information, refer to their card holder policies and privacy policies.

When you complete an Interac® Online transaction, your financial institution collects personal information. Refer to your financial institution’s privacy policies for information on how it protects your information.

If a service requires that government send you payment through direct deposit or cheque, your banking information is handled by the Department of Internal Services for processing and payment. Access to your personal banking information is restricted to specific individuals who need access to this information to process your payment.

External service providers

Some functions within the Government of Nova Scotia, like online payment processing services, are provided by service providers external to government. All external service providers that work with government must comply with this Privacy Statement and meet the applicable security and privacy policies of the Government of Nova Scotia.

Communicating with the Government of Nova Scotia

If you send the Government of Nova Scotia an email, submit an inquiry or provide feedback online, government will use or disclose your personal information as needed to provide you with a response. For example, government may share necessary personal information with another government organization if your inquiry relates to that organization. Government will only share your personal information with the individuals who need it to respond to you.

Information about you

The Government of Nova Scotia collects some information automatically when you visit government websites and when you use government online services.

IP Addresses

The Government of Nova Scotia considers the IP address to be personal information.

IP addresses are unique numbers assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to all devices used to access the internet. Web servers record the IP addresses of visitors to their sites. The IP address, on its own, does not identify an individual. In certain circumstances, it could be used, together with other information available to government, to identify an individual using the site. For example, an ISP may co-operate with government in a criminal investigation by providing extra information to use for this purpose.

Web Server Logs

When you access Government of Nova Scotia websites, government servers collect some information about your internet connection and your browsing experience in their logs. This includes the IP address of your internet connection and information about what you access on the websites.

Government uses this information only to fulfill your requests. Government does not attempt to use this information to identify individuals visiting the websites, unless it detects an attempt to damage or violate the site, or if a law enforcement investigation requires it. Government protects and restricts access to this information.

How cookies are used

Government websites use cookies, which are small pieces of data stored on your computer that allow government to remember certain pieces of information about your visit.

Cookies don’t allow government to identify individuals. You may adjust your browser settings to reject cookies, if you choose. However, it may affect your experience when you interact with government online.

Google Analytics

The Government of Nova Scotia uses Google Analytics to help government understand how you use government websites. This helps government improve online services and make the websites more useful.

Google Analytics stores information about:

  • the pages you visit
  • how long you spend on each web page
  • how you got to the website
  • what you click on while you’re visiting the website
  • type of browser or device
  • date and time
  • Google Analytics does not collect or store your personal information (for example your name or address) so this information can’t be used to identify who you are. Data collected by Google may be stored outside of Canada.

We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

You can opt out of Google Analytics.

Links to other websites

Government of Nova Scotia websites may include links to websites managed by other public and private sector organizations. The Government of Nova Scotia is not responsible for the protection of any information you give to these websites or the content on these websites.

Protecting your personal information

Email messages

The Government of Nova Scotia cannot guarantee the privacy and security of email messages sent from your computer to government’s because this information might be transmitted without encryption. For your protection, carefully consider the type and the amount of personal information you send to government organizations by email.

How government safeguards your information

The Government of Nova Scotia takes reasonable security steps to protect your personal information. Government uses a variety of security measures to protect your information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure or disposal. For example, we:

  • have policies and physical security measures to limit access to our information systems and personal information to the employees and service providers who need access to the information to provide the services
  • use technical measures, such as firewalls, passwords and strong access controls, to secure access to government information systems, servers and infrastructure
  • use industry standard web browser certificate and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology to encrypt the information contained within electronic transactions completed using government digital services

Personal Information International Disclosure Protection Act

The Government of Nova Scotia complies with the Personal Information International Disclosure Protection Act. This act requires the Government of Nova Scotia and its service providers to store, access and disclose your personal information within Canada, unless:

  • you consent to the storage, access or disclosure or
  • the law requires or permits the government to do so

Information access and privacy questions

Contact Information Access and Privacy Services if you have questions about the Privacy Statement, FOIPOP Act, how to access your personal information or how to correct your personal information.

Related legislation

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (PDF)