Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Summary for the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings (CRDP)

Section 1 - PIA Overview:

  1. Name of program or activity:

    Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings
  2. Institution responsible for delivering the program or activity:

    Department of Justice Canada
  3. Government official responsible for the privacy impact assessment:

    Director of the Family Law Assistance Services
  4. Head of institution/delegate:

    Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Sector
  5. Description of program or activity:

    The CRDP was established at the Department to detect duplicate divorce proceedings and assist provincial/territorial (PT) courts in determining if they have jurisdiction to hear a divorce proceedings by taking into consideration the jurisdiction provision set out in the Divorce Act. The CRDP carries out its role by searching through its records to determine whether any other proceedings are pending across Canada between the spouses or whether the divorce has already been granted to those spouses in respect of the marriage for which the application for divorce was filed.

    The information retained in the CRDP's databank is collected from court officials through:
    • A Registration of Divorce Proceeding Application when a divorce proceeding is filed with the court or when it is being transferred to that court; and
    • A Disposition Report at the conclusion of the divorce proceedings or when a file is being transferred from the court to another court before the conclusion of the divorce proceedings in question.
    The information collected from PT Courts for the purposes of administering this program is limited to the information required to fulfill the CRDP's mandate as prescribed by the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings Regulations.
  6. Description of the class of record associated with the program or activity:

    Family Law Assistance Services
  7. Personal information bank:

    Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings (JUS PPU 005)
  8. Legal authority for the program or activity:
    • Section 26(1) (a) of the Divorce Act
    • Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings Regulations
  9. Summary of the project/initiative/change:

    Changes were made to the CRDP in order to:
    • Modernize the Regulations by streamlining the registration application form, making it available online and readable electronically as well as simplifying the Disposition Report;
    • Provide online access to the CRDP databank to provincial and territorial court officials; and
    • Provide for the capacity of the electronic exchange of information through a secure File Transfer Protocol process (FTP) between the CRDP and provincial and territorial courts.
    These changes will provide more flexibility to the registration of divorce proceedings by reducing the amount of information required, bringing efficiencies to the process and minimizing the risk of human-based error. Measures have been put in place with respect to online access and the FTP process to ensure the protection, security and integrity of the CRDP process and the personal information that is maintained in the CRDP databank.

Section 2 - PIA Risk Area Identification and Categorization

The following section summarizes risks that were identified in the PIA regarding the changes made to the CRDP.

A risk scale has been included for each section. The numerical risk scale is presented in ascending order, the first level (1) representing the lowest level of potential risk for the risk area and the fourth level (4) representing the highest level of potential risk. Please refer to Appendix C of the TBS Directive on Privacy Impact Assessments to learn more about the risk scale.

  • Type of program or activity:

    Compliance/Regulatory investigations and enforcement

    Risk Scale: 3
  • Type of personal information involved and context:

    The nature of the family justice system prevents direct collection by the CRDP from individuals. Individuals or their legal representatives must apply to a PT court in order to proceed with a divorce proceeding since PTs are responsible for the administration of the justice system. Once a divorce application has been filed with the court, the court registrar submits the registration application form to the CRDP using the information provided by the party filing for divorce.

    Risk Scale: 1
  • Program or activity partners and private sector involved and context:

    Federal, provincial and territorial governments

    Risk Scale: 3
  • Duration of the program or activity:

    Long term program

    Risk Scale: 3
  • Program population:

    The program affects certain individuals for external administrative purposes.

    Risk Scale: 3
  • Technology and privacy:

    Does the new or modified program or activity involve the implementation of a new electronic system, software or application program including collaborative software (or groupware) that is implemented to support the program or activity in terms of the creation, collection or handling of personal information?

    Does the new or modified program or activity require any modifications to IT legacy systems and / or services?

    Does the new or modified program or activity involve the implementation of one or more of the following technologies:
    • Enhanced identification methods?
    • Use of surveillance?
    • Use of automated personal information analysis, personal information matching and knowledge discovery techniques?
  • Personal information transmission:

    Personal information transmitted through federally approved secured methods

    Risk Scale: 1
  • Risk impact to the institution:

    Reputation harm, embarrassment, loss of credibility

    Risk Scale: 4
  • Risk impact to the individual or employee:

    Reputation harm, embarrassment

    Risk Scale: 2


With enhanced safeguards and procedures put in place, the risks associated with the CRDP have been mitigated and are now minimal. The Family Law Assistance Services, responsible for the administration of the CRDP within the Department, is prepared to accept and manage any residual risk.

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