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NB-IRDT

Privacy

Privacy and security of information is our priority.

As a research data centre, NB-IRDT must comply with:

  • the New Brunswick Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (RTIPPA)
  • the New Brunswick Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act (PHIPAA)
  • other appropriate legislation that governs the access and use of personal information and personal health information. 

We take citizens’ privacy and security seriously

Our governance structure, management, oversight and operations are based on other provincial data research centres. This model has been refined and modified in close collaboration with provincial government privacy officers and security officers to reflect our provincial legislation, regulation and data characteristics.

Our secure facility houses a stand-alone closed network of servers and workstations with multiple physical and virtual firewalls. Researchers seeking access to NB-IRDT resources are required to follow a formal application process (see NB-IRDT approval access diagram), which includes:

  • a research ethics board review and approval
  • a peer review process (on request)
  • NB-IRDT Data and research committee review and approval
  • a NB-IRDT privacy officer privacy compliance review.

All data access research work must be completed onsite within the secure environment of the NB-IRDT lab in Fredericton, Saint John or Moncton, New Brunswick.

All direct identifiers are removed or scrambled prior to the migration of data to NB-IRDT.

Data is stored in unlinked form. Project-specific custom data sets are generated only once a research project is approved.

Approved users are given access to an assembled data set containing only the data elements approved for access.

For more information on data protection and the preparation of data for research projects, contact nb-irdtprivacy@unb.ca or read our policies and procedures.

Privacy questions

Data is considered pseudonymous when the personal identifiers (including names and addresses of the individuals who are the subject of the data) have been removed from the data records and any unique identifying numbers (including Medicare number) of the individuals who are the subject of the data have been removed or encrypted.

NB-IRDT receives and holds only pseudonymous data.

NB-IRDT is a designated research data centre that has entered into a signed agreement with the province of New Brunswick under the New Brunswick Personal Health Information Protection and Access Act (PHIPAA).

As a research data centre, our purpose is to make data available for research in a secure environment to conduct evidence-based research to inform public policy, assist in the management, evaluation or monitoring of resource allocations, government service planning or delivery of government services.


We use physical, technical and administrative safeguards to protect the information held in our custody.

The information is held in a highly secure facility and cannot be accessed from outside our labs.

NB-IRDT does not hold data with direct personal identifiers such as names, addresses or Medicare numbers.

Researchers who wish to access these data must go through a rigorous application process to ensure that every New Brunswicker’s privacy is protected. 


We provide a secure central location for researchers to access provincial administrative and clinical data sets.

By accessing this data, researchers support improvements to social policy by conducting evidence-based research that informs policy decisions affecting New Brunswickers.


No. Before we receive any personal information, all direct personal identifiers, such as names, addresses and Medicare numbers, are removed from the data.

After completing a research project, mechanisms are in place for vetting the research results to ensure there is no residual or inadvertent disclosure of identifiable personal information.

No, NB-IRDT will not contact individuals. We do not hold information that could directly identify a person, which means that individuals cannot be contacted.

NB-IRDT was created to facilitate policy-relevant research to support informed and effective government decision-making.

As a data research centre, we provide researchers with access to pseudonymous personal level administrative data in a secure, controlled environment, while protecting the personal privacy of New Brunswickers.

These researchers use these data to support improvements in healthcare, public policy, social progress and prosperity in New Brunswick.


We only permit access to researchers who have obtained approval through a thorough research project application and access approval process.

This thorough process requires researchers to submit detailed research proposals that are reviewed by:

  • the Data and Research Committee
  • the UNB Fredericton research ethics board
  • a scientific peer (on request)
  • a privacy officer

All applicants must also complete criminal record checks and enter into confidentiality agreements.


Data held on the NB-IRDT platform is received from various government departments and public bodies. Following the information protection practices found in legislation, only pseudonymous data may be received by NB-IRDT.

Data research centres exist in most Canadian provinces, such as Health Data Nova Scotia, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario and Population Data BC.

Our governance structure, management, oversight and operations are based in part on the very successful Manitoba Centre for Health Policy with modifications to reflect New Brunswick legislation, regulation and data characteristics.

A similar national resource would be the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) which provides access to Statistics Canada’s administrative data.

You can gain a better understanding of what type of pseudonymous information NB-IRDT may hold about you by knowing your own personal history and reviewing our data set holdings and reference guides on our website.


Everyone has the right to raise questions or concerns about the use and protection of personal information as per provincial legislation.

Concerns regarding the collection or use of data at NB-IRDT may be raised with the NB-IRDT Privacy Officer or with the University Secretary of the University of New Brunswick.

An individual may also contact the Office of the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner of New Brunswick.