On October 6, 2023, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) announced the release of joint resolutions by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial information and privacy authorities (collectively, the Regulators) calling for greater legal privacy protection for employees and young people.  The announcement notes that each group is significantly vulnerable in its own way to the increasing influence of digital technologies.

Resolution for Privacy Protections of Employees

The Regulators’ employee privacy resolution addresses the recent post-pandemic expansion of monitoring technologies used by employers to remotely track employee activity.  While the Regulators acknowledge that some level of information collection for employees may be reasonable, irresponsible use of privacy-invasive technology can negatively impact employees’ careers and mental health.  Furthermore, the Regulators recognize that Canada’s various privacy laws do not currently provide complete protection for all employees.

Therefore, the Regulators are using the employee privacy resolution to ask their respective governments and stakeholders to work on addressing statutory gaps, respecting and affording proper protections for employees’ right to privacy and transparency, and ensuring the fair and appropriate use of electronic monitoring tools along with other technologies in the modern workplace.

Resolution for Privacy Protections of Young People  

The Regulators’ resolution notes that the current digital environment poses certain harms for young people, including documented mental health related harms.  The Regulators also state that certain negative impacts are exacerbated because young people’s information can live online for a long period of time and even become a life-long reputational burden.

To properly protect the privacy of young people, the Regulators call for their respective governments to implement legislative provisions that promote the privacy rights of young people and “put the best interests of young people first”. The Regulators’ resolution focuses on having organizations across all sectors implement responsible measures that will safeguard young people’s data, such as minimized tracking, regulating data sharing, and implementing stringent controls over commercial advertising. The Regulators also call on organizations to safeguard young people’s right to access, correct, and appeal their personal information.

To offer further guidance on this resolution, the Regulators have released the following companion documents:

  1. The first document entitled “Putting best interests of young people at the forefront of privacy and access to personal information”, provides organizations with more information on how they can address the considerations discussed in the resolution.
  2. The second document entitled “How organizations can help protect young people online”, explains the contents of the resolution in plain language for young people and their guardians and outlines steps for organizations to take for protecting the privacy of young people.

Summary By: Imtiaz Karamat


23 11 01

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