December 02, 2015

New Government in Canada Announces Changes to Privacy Laws

On October 19, 2015, Canadians elected Justin Trudeau, the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, as their new and second-youngest-ever prime minister. When it comes to privacy and technology, the new government has spoken of three actions it might take in its first year.

First, there is likely to be new movement on privacy amendments to an anti-terror bill, C-51, that privacy groups have criticized for granting too much power to the government to collect and store information on ordinary citizens. Second, the new government is likely to pass regulations to implement the Digital Privacy Act, which came into effect on June 18, 2015, and updates the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act (PIPEDA). Privacy experts expect the regulations, covering issues such as breach notification and recordkeeping requirements, to resemble provincial laws already in effect in Alberta. Third, in keeping with Trudeau’s promise of transparency, his government is expected to propose a Transparency Act that would introduce an “open by default” principle to government records and make most government documents freely accessible online.

It remains to be seen if and when these proposals will become requirements in Canada, but companies doing business north of the border should watch for any developments that could impact the handling of private information.

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