On January 30, 2023, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) announced that it had provided the Joint Chairs of the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency with a brief (the Brief), which outlines the key principles for government institutions to follow during an emergency to ensure that privacy rights are respected.
In the Brief, the OPC recognized that emergencies evolve rapidly and may require swift and effective response. However, the OPC noted that even in an emergency, public institutions must still operate under lawful authority and act responsibly, especially when handling sensitive information. To assist with this matter, the OPC outlined seven principles that government institutions should consider when evaluating measures proposed during an emergency that may impact the privacy of Canadians:
The OPC concluded by highlighting that it is important for a clear privacy governance framework to be developed and implemented during any emergency to ensure government institutions and private sector entities can effectively meet their obligations under the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Summary By: Victoria Di Felice
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