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Regulations regarding the use of COVID-19 contact tracing information from open houses

by Baldev S. Gill, Chief Executive Officer

Today’s eMemo contains the following updates:

  • Notification of a public complaint regarding the misuse of personal information collected during an open house   
  • Rules regarding the collection and use of personal information at gatherings during COVID-19

Regulations regarding the use of COVID-19 contact tracing information from open houses

The Board’s Professional Standards Department received a complaint from an individual recently regarding the alleged misuse of their personal information provided at an open house within the Fraser Valley.

In compliance with BC’s Provincial Health Order regarding gatherings and events, sellers’ agents are required to take names and contact information from anyone who attends an open house to facilitate contact tracing for COVID-19 should it be necessary.

Per the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC), the information collected must NOT be used for any other purpose other than to comply with COVID-19 Health Orders.

The complainant informed the Board that they allegedly received a follow-up call regarding real estate services.

Misusing personal information is in contravention of BC’s Personal Information and Protection Act.  

Rules regarding the collection of personal information for COVID-19 contact tracing

The purpose of collecting COVID-19 personal information during an open house is to notify individuals if they have come into contact with someone diagnosed with the illness.

According to the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), REALTORS® need to:

  • Explain why you are collecting the contact information
  • Only collect the minimum amount of personal information necessary: name, phone or email and date of open house
  • Do not use or disclose the information other than to provide to the PHO upon request
  • If you share information with the PHO, keep a record of the transaction 
  • Only keep the information for 30 days
  • Properly secure the information to ensure it is not accessible by others

For more details on each requirement, see the OPIC guidelines.  

In addition, the Professional Standards team will be addressing this issue again in an upcoming NewsReal column on October 8th. (Now published, read it here).

These are challenging times for everyone. As a non-health essential service, REALTORS® have been fortunate to be able to continue to serve their clients during this period.

Let’s all strive to uphold our fiduciary duty to clients to be professional, respectful, and knowledgeable about the rules and regulations governing our profession.