Stronger Privacy Rights Proposed in Canadian Digital Charter Implementation Act

22 May 2019; Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Government of Canada, on Centre Stage during day two of Collision 2019 at Enercare Center in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Collision via Sportsfile

In Canada Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains has introduced the proposed Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 which aims to bring the framework up to date for the security of private data in the corporate sector.

The proposed Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 is focused on building a base of trust and transparency in relation to the management of private data between citizens without impacting business.

The aim of the Act is to introduce a range of important measures to safeguard Canadians, and businesses operating in that jurisdiction, with the best possible legislation that can be amended with the evolution of technology. They include:

  • Enhancing management and transparency when Canadians’ personal information is processed by firms
  • Allocating citizens the right to transfer their information from one entity to another while completely protected
  • Enshrining the power to have private data destroyed
  • Giving the Privacy Commissioner broad order-making powers, including the power to make an adhere with the legislation
  • Giving the Privacy Commissioner the power to direct a company to stop processing data or using personal data
  • Introducing the heaviest financial penalties in the G7 countries —with fines as high as 5% of revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater, for the most serious breaches

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how Canadians live, work, access information and connect with each other, making digital technology more important than ever. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians can interact in this digital space trusting that their personal information is safe and secure and that their privacy is respected.

The new law is seen as the first part of an in-depth reform of privacy legislation in Canada. Along with this the Government of Canada is focused on updating the Privacy Act, which is applicable  to the federal public sector and which the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is responsible for management of.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry commented on the new legislation saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation which is changing how Canadians work, access information, access services, and connect with their loved ones. This transformation is making concerns about privacy, and how companies handle Canadians’ data, more important than ever.

“As Canadians increasingly rely on technology we need a system where they know how their data is used and where they have control over how it is handled. For Canada to succeed, and for our companies to be able to innovate in this new reality, we need a system founded on trust with clear rules and enforcement. This legislation represents an important step towards achieving this goal.”