Privacy of information

Restricted use

The DNA Identification Act specifies that DNA profiles in the National DNA Data Bank (NDDB) can only be used for law enforcement or humanitarian purposes. The NDDB only shares DNA information with other investigative authorities as permitted by legislation.

The act also states that the DNA profiles in the Relatives of Missing Persons Index can only be compared to DNA profiles in the Missing Persons Index and Human Remains Index.

Separating identity from data

When a convicted offender's DNA sample arrives at the NDDB, their personal information is separated from their genetic information through the use of a numeric bar code to identify the sample. These bar codes are the only link connecting personal information, the biological sample and the DNA profile.

The donor's personal information is kept in a separate registry maintained by the RCMP, which NDDB staff can't access. This process ensures that NDDB staff never know which convicted offender's DNA profile they are processing. Likewise, RCMP staff don't have access to the genetic information of an offender.

DNA profiles in the NDDB don't reveal any medical or physical information about the donor, other than biological sex.

Informed consent

The DNA Identification Act requires informed consent for submissions to the Relatives of Missing Persons Index, the Victims Index and the Voluntary Donors Index. Contributors can withdraw this consent at any time.

At least once every five years, the NDDB contacts the investigating agency to ask:

  • if the person who submitted their DNA profile has withdrawn their consent
  • if the DNA profile will continue to help in the investigation for which it was obtained

If removal is requested or if the investigating agency doesn't respond, the NDDB will remove the DNA profile from the appropriate DNA index and destroy the biological sample.

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