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The Trudeau government is poised to introduce legislation aimed at better safeguarding the privacy of Canadians in the digital era report says. The bill which is to be tabled as early as this week would be a step toward realising commitments set out in the mandate letter of Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains.
The law will flesh out the 10 principles — from control over data to meaningful penalties for misuse of information — that make up the federal digital charter.
The federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien has made repeated call for the modernization of Canada’s aging privacy laws and the plan for this legislative overhaul is directly connected to the call. He said Canada’s information-protection laws lag behind many other country laws around the globe. He has pressed for new authority to issue binding orders to companies and to levy fines for non-compliance with privacy legislation. Therrien also wants powers to inspect the information-handling practices of organizations.
The Liberals have signaled their intention on the parliamentary notice paper to introduce a bill that would create the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act. It is not immediately clear how the new legislation would mesh with existing federal privacy laws. The Privacy Act covers government agencies and federally regulated industries such as banks and airlines. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to private-sector organisations.
Furthermore, John Power, a spokesman for Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, said last month that Canadians are understandably anxious about how their data is being used in an increasingly digital world, adding the government was moving to strengthen the private-sector privacy law.
‘Our government will ensure respect for the privacy of Canadians, support responsible innovation and enhance reasonable enforcement powers,’ he said.
‘We expect to have more to say on this soon.’
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.
They are to include: the ability to withdraw, remove and erase basic personal data from a platform, such as Facebook or Twitter; knowledge of how personal data is being used, including through a national advertising registry; the ability to review and challenge the amount of personal data that a company or government has collected; a means of informing people when personal data is breached, with appropriate compensation; and the ability to be free from online discrimination including bias and harassment.
On her part, Rachel Rappaport, a spokeswoman for Justice Minister David Lametti, said last month the government is committed to reviewing the Privacy Act to ensure it keeps pace with the effects of technological change and evolving Canadian values. The government has already solicited the views of experts and interested parties, and it plans to consult the broader public soon, she said.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK