On August 11, 2022, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) published a report on its survey of Canadian businesses regarding privacy related-issues (the Survey). This is the first survey of businesses published by the OPC since the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic – allowing for comparisons to be made with the pre-pandemic landscape.
The OPC commissions a survey every two years with the last survey conducted in 2019. The Survey findings are used by the OPC to provide privacy guidance to the public and improve outreach efforts with businesses. The Survey was conducted over telephone between January 12 – February 18, 2022 and involved representatives from 751 companies across Canada.
The Survey highlights several key findings on how Canadian businesses currently view privacy compliance. For example, the Survey found that businesses are well aware of their responsibilities under privacy laws with 86% of survey respondents indicating that their company is at least moderately aware of their privacy-related responsibilities, and 74% stating that their company has taken steps to ensure compliance with Canada’s privacy laws. The remaining key findings compared the privacy practices of companies in 2022 with their pre-pandemic counterparts:
In interpreting the results, it is noted that the context of the business landscape during the data collection process may have affected the findings. The Survey was conducted at the height of the fifth wave of the pandemic after almost two years of pandemic-related restrictions. Businesses’ preoccupation with pandemic-related issues may have meant that “privacy responsibilities might not be top-of-mind” for those surveyed, who may have had a limited recall of their businesses’ privacy practices or not prioritized privacy as high amidst sweeping pandemic-related operational changes. This may have explained the reported decline in compliance between the years.
Summary By: Imtiaz Karamat
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