GATINEAU, QC, May 11, 2021 – A bill aimed at modernizing Canada’s outdated private sector privacy law would be “a step back overall” from the current law and needs significant changes if confidence in the digital economy is to be restored, the federal Privacy Commissioner says.
At the request of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI), Commissioner Daniel Therrien has shared his submission on Bill C-11, the federal government’s proposed new private sector privacy law. In the submission, he notes, the bill is frequently misaligned and less protective than the laws of other jurisdictions.
“The bill would give consumers less control and organizations more flexibility in monetizing personal data, without increasing their accountability,” Commissioner Therrien says. “Furthermore, the penalty scheme is unjustifiably narrow and protracted.”
The Commissioner also noted the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) would be subject to several constraints when it needs more flexible tools to achieve its mandate in a difficult and rapidly changing environment.
“Privacy is not an impediment to innovation. On the contrary, legislation that effectively protects privacy can contribute to economic growth by providing consumers the confidence that their rights will be respected,” he says. “Many countries with strong privacy laws are also leaders in innovation.”
The submission sets out some 60 recommendations aimed at ensuring the Bill enhances privacy protections for Canadians while enabling responsible innovation for businesses.