This statement provides information on our policy and practices with regard to the collection and use of personal information. Utilities Kingston reserves the right to amend this Privacy Statement at any time although changes to the use and disclosure of personal information will be made only with customer consent.
Section 1 – Data protection and collection
What is privacy?
Privacy refers to a legal and moral right of individuals to avoid intrusion into their personal affairs by third parties. It is a major concern for many customers when using online services and an important element of the trust between Utilities Kingston and our customers.
As emerging technologies continue to offer innovative ways to use data, transparency about the way we collect, store, use and protect that data becomes increasingly important.
What laws govern privacy?
Utilities Kingston complies with data protection legislation listed in this section.
Some of the information that is collected is on behalf of the City of Kingston. The collection, retention and disclosure of personal information, online or offline, by municipalities is governed in part by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Utilities Kingston is also subject to the federal legislation known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, as well as, Canada’s Anti-spam legislation.
What is personal information?
Personal information can be found in any part of a record containing information about an identified or identifiable individual. It may include such information as your name, account number, e-mail address, mailing address, financial information, birth date, consumption data relating to your account and other information about you or your utility account, collected electronically, in person or by telephone.
How is personal information used and disclosed?
We use personal information to:
- establish and provide ongoing service
- communicate with you
- verify identity and protect against error or fraud
- manage invoicing and accounting services
- monitor customer satisfaction with our programs and services
- create aggregate information
- comply with legal and regulatory requirements
- tailor recommendations that help customers save water and energy
- report results to funding agencies
- administer our websites
- gather management information to form statistical and trend analysis
Subject to legal and contractual restrictions and reasonable notice, customers may withdraw their consent to the use and disclosure of their personal information. However, a decision to withdraw consent or withhold personal information may restrict or prevent Utilities Kingston from providing you with a product or service.
We may employ the services of third party service providers to help us in certain areas, such as website hosting and maintenance, contact centre operation, credit and collection, surveying, and conservation programming. In some cases the third party may receive your information. When we share information with third parties, it’s in compliance with relevant codes and legislation. The use of personal information by a third party is limited to a specific purpose, and the third party is contractually bound to follow data protection principles.
Customers wanting to withdraw their consent should contact us at the address provided in the section Contact us below.
Disclosing utility consumption information
We sometimes get requests from individuals to access utility consumption information about an account that is not held in their name.
In general, consumption history about a specific account cannot be released to anyone other than the account holder. However, the account holder may grant permission for Utilities Kingston to release this information to other parties. In other cases, consumption data that is released is aggregated in a way that individual accounts cannot be identified.
There are some exemptions:
- The information may be released for the purpose of collecting a debt. This could include to a third-party debt collection agency or a landlord.
- Where we are required to by law.
- Under the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords must provide the previous twelve months data to a prospective tenant if the tenant is responsible for paying for electricity. We release consumption history for this purpose under s. 137(7) of the Residential Tenancies Act.
How is personal information protected?
The Secretary of the corporation fulfils the role of Privacy Officer and protects your personal information.
Security standards and procedures to safeguard personal information are maintained in order to prevent unauthorized use, alteration or removal of personal information. We protect personal information by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.
Employee access to personal information is limited to those who require access in order to perform their assigned duties. Utilities Kingston enforces with its employees and contractors the responsibility to protect personal information.
Utilities Kingston does not sell or rent personal information.
Personal information is not disclosed to any organization outside of Utilities Kingston for any purpose other than those purposes set out above without first obtaining customer consent or unless required by law.
How long is personal information retained?
Personal information is retained only for as long as required to fulfil the purpose for which it was collected or as required by law. Personal information that is no longer required is destroyed.
How is data collected and stored?
At Utilities Kingston, we:
- Identify the purposes for which personal information is collected at or before the time of collection.
- Ensure that we have the informed consent of the individual to collect, use, or disclose personal information.
- Limit the collection of information to that which is necessary for the purposes identified.
- Retain personal information only for as long as necessary to achieve fulfilment of the identified purposes.
- Keep personal information as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.
- You may review, correct, update or change your personal information at any time by contacting us at utilitieskingston.com/ContactUs
Section 2 – Website privacy
The aim of this section is to tell you how we will use any personal information we collect or you provide through our websites (utilitieskingston.com, kingstonhydro.com, my.utilitieskingston.com). Please read it carefully before you proceed with using our website.
What personal information do we collect?
You do not have to give us any personal information in order to use most of our websites.
However, if you wish to open a utility account through our online form, ask us to contact you about water heater rentals, provide a meter reading, request further information, apply for preventative plumbing financial assistance, register for MyUtilities, and so on, we may collect the following personal information from you:
- name, address, phone number and email address
- driver’s license and additional information to confirm your identity
- utility account number and meter data
We will also keep a record of any financial transaction you make with us, but we do not directly collect, process or store your debit or credit card information. Online payments made through this website are processed securely by a third-party payment provider Paymentus. Please refer to Paymentus for how your payment card data is processed by them.
You may also choose to provide additional voluntary information in the course of your use of this website.
In addition, we may automatically collect information about the website that you came from or are going to. We also collect information about the pages of this website which you visit, IP addresses, the type of browser you use and the times you access this website. However, this information is aggregated and is not used to identify you.
Where you have given us the appropriate permissions during the registration process to the website/website services (as applicable), we may from time to time contact you by email, telephone or post about our products and services that may be of interest to you.
If at any point, you would like to opt-out of receiving such marketing communications from us, or would like to change the channels that we use to contact you, please email us, stating your preferences, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to delete any cookies that are already on your computer, please refer to the help and support area on your internet browser for instructions on how to locate the file or directory that stores cookies.
Please note that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our site.
We use the following categories of cookies on our website:
Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the website and use its features. Without these cookies, services you have asked for such as remembering your login details cannot be provided.
These cookies collect anonymous information on how people use our website. For example, we use Google Analytics cookies to help us understand how customers arrive at our site, browse or use our site and highlight areas where we can improve areas such as navigation, shopping experience and marketing campaigns. The data stored by these cookies never shows personal details from which your individual identity can be established.
Social Media Cookies
These cookies allow you to share what you’ve been doing on the website on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. These cookies are not within our control. Please refer to the respective privacy policies for how their cookies work.
External Web Services
We may use external web services on our websites, mostly to display content within our web pages. For example, we use YouTube to display video. These sites are likely to be collecting information about what the customer is doing all around the internet.
At Utilities Kingston, we are committed to protecting the privacy of our customers. If you have questions or concerns regarding your personal information or this Privacy Statement please address them to:
PO Box 790
Kingston ON K7L 4X7
Attention: Corporate Secretary