On May 11, 2021, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released his submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on Bill C-11 (the Bill), the federal government's proposed new private-sector privacy legislation introduced in November 2020 that would replace the current regime under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (as previously reported by the E-TIPS® Newsletter here).

In his submission, the Privacy Commissioner noted that the Bill as drafted represents “a step back overall for privacy protection” since it is often misaligned and affords less protection compared to the laws in other jurisdictions. The Commissioner stated that numerous enhancements are required to strengthen the Bill and effectively protect the privacy rights of Canadians, while encouraging responsible innovation in digital economy.

The submission introduces over 60 recommendations to improve the Bill, such as:

  • adopting a rights-based framework to better articulate the weight of privacy rights and commercial interests;
  • amending the language around the purposes for which explicit versus implicit consent is required and limiting exceptions to the consent requirement; 
  • addressing cross-border disclosures, not only transfers to service providers, to ensure organizations put in place appropriate protections before disclosing personal information outside Canada;
  • providing access to fast and effective remedies in the form of administrative penalties in cases of violations around consent requirements and the principle of accountability; and
  • empowering the Privacy Commissioner to impose administrative penalties, while disposing of the idea to create an administrative appeal tribunal to review the Privacy Commissioner’s exercise of power.

The Privacy Commissioner emphasized that in order to build trust and confidence in the digital economy, the laws must recognize the fundamental right of privacy of individuals.

Summary By: Anna Troshchynsky


21 05 26

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