On December 6, 2021, the British Columbia Special Committee to Review the Personal Information Protection Act (the Committee) released its report entitled Modernizing British Columbia's Private Sector Privacy Law (the Report), making numerous recommendations to modernize British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).

PIPA was enacted in 2003 and has been subject to legislative reviews every six years.  The Committee was first appointed on February 18, 2020 and launched two public consultation processes. Overall, the Committee heard 43 presentations and received 57 written submissions.

The Committee concluded that PIPA must be “modernized to safeguard rights for individuals and provide up-to-date provisions to ensure competitiveness for British Columbia’s businesses”. The Committee made 34 recommendations in its Report. Some notable recommendations include:

  • Aligning PIPA with provincial, federal, and international privacy legislation, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation;
  • Introducing provisions to reflect modern information processing practices and their impact on privacy;
  • Adding new rules to ensure that individuals understand how organizations are collecting, using, and disclosing their personal information;
  • Adding explicit protections for sensitive information such as biometric data and information about children and youth;
  • Ensuring British Columbians have meaningful control over their information;
  • Requiring organizations to promptly notify affected individuals and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) following a significant privacy breach; and
  • Enhancing the enforcement powers of the OIPC, including increasing administrative monetary penalties to act as a greater deterrent to violations of PIPA.

Moving forward, it will be up to the British Columbia Legislature to determine the extent to which the Committee’s recommendations will be implemented.

To read the Committee’s full report, click here.

Summary By: Steffi Tran


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