On December 5, 2018, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (Commissioner) released a letter to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development offering his views on the Government of Canada’s National Digital and Data Consultations.

The Commissioner expressed concerns that longstanding privacy rights and values in Canada are not being given adequate consideration.  The Commissioner noted that the consultation is asking how government should increase citizens’ trust and confidence in data use “while not impeding innovation.” He noted that this suggests to Canadians that their privacy is at odds with innovation.  According to the Commissioner, Canada should strive to achieve both. 

The Commissioner called for stronger privacy laws that are principles-based and technologically neutral, using a rights conferring statute, rather than relying on industry codes of conduct. A modernized privacy law should empower the Commissioner, or another public authority, to issue binding guidance or rules clarifying how general principles and broadly framed rights apply in practice. This proposed legislative enhancement would empower the Commissioner by enhancing their role from ombudsman to regulator.

For more information please see the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s website.

Summary By: Jae Morris


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