Trudeau government ready to usher in new privacy legislation

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 20, 2020

Following the rise in security breaches in Canada, the federal government is expected to introduce a bill to confront Canada's privacy law at the beginning of this week.

The Canadian Pres reports that the legislation would flesh out the 10 principles-from control over data to meaningful penalties for misuse of information-that make up the federal government's so-called "digital charter".

By comparison, the maximum fine levied under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is up to 4 per cent of a company's global revenue.

The bill, to be tabled at the House of Commons on Tuesday, could be a step toward achieving obligations set out in the analysis correspondence of Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains.

"We hope to have more to say about this shortly".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Bains to work with other ministers to advance the digital charter and beef up the privacy commissioner's powers with the overall goal of establishing a new set of online rights.

Canadians are invited to share their views on key issues, such as the rules on when federal institutions can collect personal information, how they can use the information entrusted to them, when they can share it with other federal institutions, and the right of individuals to access personal information held by federal institutions. In general, conservatives have assured to review the legislation to protect the Canadians privacy without imposing oppressive rules for small companies who are still struggling amid the COVID-19 era. The letter also calls for "enhanced powers for the Privacy Commissioner".

Bains said the Digital Charter Implementation Act - created to update regulations that are 20 years old - was needed at a time when the coronavirus epidemic was increasing Canadians' reliance on digital technology.

The new compliance requirements largely codify what businesses have already been encouraged to do, Joli-Coeur said, but the privacy commissioner's ability to issue orders is "something new and something significant".

Bergen said certainty around the government's plans would be welcome by the tech community, which has been asking for an updated privacy regime for years.

"For example, the bill falls far short on its proposals to ensure responsible innovation by seemingly limiting its regulation of (artificial intelligence) to algorithmic transparency", Balsillie wrote in a statement to the Star. Therrien also needs powers to scrutinize the information-handling clinics of associations.

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