Private property

Payroll professionals need to know privacy laws because of their access to sensitive data
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/02/2009

Payroll professionals, whether working in-house for an employer or for an outsourced payroll provider, handle sensitive information as part of their job. They often have access to information on salaries, bank account numbers, addresses and other tidbits that appear in an employee’s file.

However, not all of this information is necessary for payroll to have, so it’s important to know the limits of privacy policies and legislation to avoid getting into hot water for mishandling personal information.

Payroll professionals must determine the difference between what they have a right to know, as someone with access, and what they need to know to do their job, says Ian Turnbull, executive director of the Canadian Privacy Institute and managing director of Toronto-based consulting firm Laird & Greer.