Privacy policy

Brief summary

  • Athabasca University (AU) complies with Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Legislation (FOIP), Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and the European Union/United Kingdom’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Any personal information you provide through our website will be used only for the purposes for which it was collected, as described below.
  • AU does not use cookies in any manner which is not authorized by applicable privacy legislation, and ensures your privacy is protected.

For more information, see the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy website.

What information is collected and used by AU on our external websites?

  • Browsing information: includes information about how you use our website, information and services.
  • Marketing and communications data: includes your preferences in receiving marketing from us and our third parties and your communication preferences.
  • Identity data: includes first name, last name, phone number, email, or similar identifiers provided on forms.
  • Technical data: includes internet protocol (IP) address, your login data, browser type and version, time zone setting and location, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform, and other technology on the devices you use to access this website.
  • Login credentials: includes your student ID number when you log in to identify you from an external user.

All personal information related to student applications, registrations, and financial data resides within our secure portal, myAU. For more information, see the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy website.

For what purposes does Athabasca AU use your information?

  • To communicate effectively with you by mail, email and phone, including the distribution of relevant newsletters and notices.
  • To promote relevant programs, courses, and products through advertising, email, or text messaging.
  • To compile statistics and conduct research for internal and reporting purposes.To enhance, improve, and personalize your digital experience on our websites.

Privacy details

Athabasca University's websites (under the domain of provide information about the university and its programs and services. Athabasca University (AU) respects the privacy of its online visitors and does not sell or rent any information obtained from its website to any other organization or third party.

When you visit Athabasca University websites, the server automatically collects a limited amount of information essential for the site's operation and security. This information includes your IP address, the name of your internet service provider, and information concerning your browser and operating system.

When you use Athabasca University's websites for program or services purposes, such as participating in online courses, requesting services, completing a questionnaire, or making payment, the personal information you provide for that program or service will be in compliance with section 33(c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be used only for the purpose it was collected. The information will be disclosed only in accordance with the provisions of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Regulation.

AU’s websites have links to outside web pages. Please be aware that the university is not responsible for site content outside our websites, or the privacy policies of outside websites. We encourage you to read the individual privacy statements on each website you visit.

All AU web pages should be treated on an “as is” basis unless they contain the phrase “This is an official publication of Athabasca University”. This privacy statement is intended to reflect the sites maintained by Athabasca University, and it is subject to change.

Use of cookies

AU does make use of cookies on its websites. Cookies are small text files placed in your browser that tracks information about your visit to our website. AU uses cookies to ensure our website can function, to measure traffic and to support marketing and communication activities, along with improving your experience of our site. By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies.

We receive non-identifiable aggregate information about visits to the website from third-parties such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, Siteimprove and Semrush. We also use [24] and Site Search 360 as the providers for our knowledge base and search applications. Privacy policies for these third-parties can be viewed on their websites. If you provide your information in a contact form, our customer management system HubSpot will aggregate data such as AU site browsing and email engagement so that we can help serve you better.

You can set your browser to refuse all or some browser cookies, or to alert you when websites set or access cookies. If you disable or refuse cookies, please note that some parts of this website may become inaccessible or not function properly.

We will get your cookies consent before we share your data with any company outside AU for marketing purposes.

SMS/text notifications

On occasion we may use this information to manage our text messaging program, including to send you text messages to remind you to apply or register for a program or course. Your wireless carrier may collect data about your wireless device usage, and its practices are governed by its own policies. We take measures to protect your sensitive personal information but cannot guarantee its security in transit or storage.

Information changes

This version was last updated on May 4, 2022

It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us. If you do not know who to contact for routine changes or wish to make a request under the FOIP Act for a correction to personal information, contact for further information.

Who do I contact for questions about website privacy?

Digital and Web Operations, Office of University Relations

Storage of personal data

The majority of your personal information processing and storage happens in Canada; however, if AU uses a third-party service provider that is has servers in another country, AU may be required to access your data using their infrastructure. We will never sell or redistribute your data to third parties for financial gain or profit. Your data will only be transferred where absolutely necessary for our lawful basis of processing as outlined above.

AU takes suitable safeguards to protect the privacy and security of your personal information so that it is only used in a manner consistent with your relationship with the university and this policy.

How long do we keep your information for?

AU keeps your personal Information as required by law, and no longer than necessary to perform our legitimate interests. See the AU’s Office of the Chief Governance Offer and General Council for details of the current university record and data retention policies. If you have specific questions concerning how long a certain type of personal data will be retained, please contact

What rights do you have with respect with to your personal information?

If you are a Data Subject pursuant to the GDPR, you have certain rights. This GDPR Privacy Notice summarizes what these rights under the GDPR involve and how you can exercise these rights. More detail about each right, including exceptions and limitations, can be found in Articles 15-21 and 77 of the GDPR.

Right of access
You have the right to request that AU confirm whether it is processing your personal information. If AU is processing your information, you have the right to access the data, and we will provide you with a copy of any personal information unless prevented by applicable law.

Right of erasure
If you are a data subject pursuant to the GDPR, you have the right to ask for the deletion of personal information that AU maintains about you in most cases. These circumstances are identified in Article 17 of the GDPR and include that the personal information is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose(s) for which it was collected or otherwise processed.AU will make efforts to extend this right to all individuals regardless of the applicability of the GDPR. Please note, there are exemptions where the AU can refuse to erase your data, for example, where AU still needs your information for compliance with a legal obligation or where the information is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of a legal claim, in which case AU will retain the information until no longer needed.

Right of correction
You have the right to request that the AU correct any inaccurate personal information that it maintains about you.

Right to restrict processing of personal information
If you are a data subject pursuant to the GDPR, you have the right to request that AU limit the processing of your personal information when one of the reasons stated in Article 18 of the GDPR apply. These reasons include that your personal information is inaccurate, the processing is unlawful, or AU no longer needs the personal information. At all times, continued use or disclosure of personal information will be in accordance with applicable legislation, including the FOIP Act.

Right to data portability
Where the basis for processing is either consent or performance between you and AU, and where the processing is carried out by automated means, you have the right to receive any personal information that you have provided to us. We will provide your personal information in a structured, commonly used, and machine-readable format.

Right to withdraw consent
If the basis for processing your personal information is consent, you may revoke your consent at any time. Upon receipt of your notice withdrawing consent, and if there are no other legal grounds for the processing, AU will stop processing the personal Information unless the processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise, or defense of legal claims. Revoking consent does not affect the lawfulness of processing that occurred before the revocation.

Right to object to processing
In certain situations, you may have the right to object to processing of your personal information:

  • Public interest or legitimate interests. If the basis for processing your personal information is public interest or legitimate interests, you have the right to object to processing the information. AU will cease processing unless it demonstrates legitimate grounds for processing or the processing is necessary for operations, or defense of legal claims.
  • Direct marketing. If AU is using your personal Information for direct marketing purposes such as fundraising or to promote programs and courses, you have the right to object at any time, and AU will stop using your personal information for that purpose.

Right to file a complaint
If you are a data subject pursuant to the GDPR, you may have the right to submit a complaint with the supervisory authority, the one in the member state of your habitual residence, place of work, or place of the alleged violation, if you believe that AU’s processing of your personal information violates the GDPR.

For more information on the process for submitting a complaint under the GDPR, consult the relevant EU supervisory authority.

All individuals have the right to make a complaint to Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner where they feel their personal information has not been protected in accordance with the FOIP Act. More information and processes for making a complaint can be found at

Time limit to respond
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within 1 month. Occasionally it may take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated. Any request for information made formally under the FOIP Act will be in accordance with its provisions.

Conditions of use

Brief summary

  • While every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of pages on our websites, pages should be treated on an “as is” basis, rather than as official documents, unless they explicitly state “This is an official publication of Athabasca AU.”
  • Hyperlinks from the Athabasca AU website to other sites have been provided in good faith, but do not indicate an endorsement by the AU of those sites, which are subject to change over which the AU has no control.
  • Short extracts from the site may be reproduced for personal and non-commercial services. All other republication requires the explicit consent of the AU.
  • Trademarks appearing on the AU website may not be copied and used without explicit permission from the AU.
  • Full details on conditions of use are given below.

Conditions of use details

The Athabasca AU website consists of information made accessible at the domain (“our sites”). Our sites are subject to the terms of use below. If upon reviewing the terms of use below, you do not agree with these terms of use, you should leave our sites now.

Terms of use

The terms of use that follow may change without prior notice and it is the user's responsibility to review for such updates.

General use

The information provided on our sites are meant for educational and reference purposes only and should not be used in replacement of official documents provided by AU, unless clearly provided for. Also, the information provided on our Sites are not intended to be a replacement for professional advice of any kind and the user should not act or rely on any information at our sites without first seeking the advice of a professional.

As a user of our sites, you are granted a limited licence to use (display or print) the information for your own personal, non-commercial use and you are responsible for any outcome resulting from such use. Except for short extracts, used for personal and non-commercial purposes, none of the information provided at our sites may be altered, republished or re-distributed in any way, shape or form without the explicit prior consent of AU.

Intellectual property rights

AU owns the intellectual property rights, including copyright, in and to our sites, or has obtained the necessary licenses. Therefore, AU will take any appropriate legal action to enforce its rights. A number of words, phrases, names, designs or logos used on our sites may be trademarks, service marks or trade names of AU or of other bodies. AU's trademarked designs or logos may not be used by other parties without prior explicit consent.

No warranties

Although the information provided on our sites is thought to be correct when communicated, there is no obligation on AU to update this information or advise on further changes. There may be misprints or other errors on our sites, and AU does not guarantee the quality, correctness, completeness or timeliness of the information provided on our sites. AU makes no warranties, representations and conditions regarding use of our sites or the information provided, including any implied warranties or conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, whether express or implied, or arising from a course of dealing, usage or trade practice. AU is not responsible for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages or any other damages, however caused, arising out of your use of this website or from the information provided, including the loss of use, lost data, lost business profits, business interruption, personal injury, or any other personal or pecuniary loss, whether the action is in contract, tort (including negligence) or any other tort action.

Web pages and links

AU team members and students may create and maintain pages contained on, or linked to, from our sites. The creation, maintenance and responsibility for these pages is entirely the responsibility of the parties who create and maintain such pages. AU shall have no responsibility for such pages and is not responsible for any content or information that you may find distasteful or offensive.

Also, our sites have links to other websites. This does not mean AU is associated with, or is legally allowed, to use any trademark, trade name, logo or copyrighted symbol that may be shown in the link (or in its description). These other sites were independently created, and AU does not assume responsibility for the content of these other websites. By providing links to these other websites, AU does not endorse, act as a publisher or distributor of the content on those other websites.

Computer viruses

Most material available from the AU website is in a “text-file” form which cannot contain or transmit computer viruses. Some pages, however, such as Word files, are in “binary” form, which can, like downloadable executable files, transmit viruses. Although AU makes every effort to exclude computer viruses from its materials, you should take measures to check for computer viruses, execute due caution when downloading executable files, and make certain you have a comprehensive and recent backup of the information stored on your computer.

Governing law

The laws of the Province of Alberta and the laws of Canada applicable shall govern any dispute or action regarding our Sites or any content present on the Site. You hereby consent and submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of the Province of Alberta in any action or proceeding established under or related to your use of our Sites or document. Please address comments and questions regarding this privacy policy to:

Digital and Web Operations, Office of University Relations 

Updated June 20, 2024 by Digital & Web Operations (