May 23rd, 2013

New Democrats part of a growing consensus on privacy law reforms

OTTAWA – New Democrat Digital Issues critic Charmaine Borg (Terrebonne-Blainville) welcomes today’s call from the privacy commissioner to reform Canada’s privacy law – on the day her bill C-475 is up for debate at Second Reading.

“There is a growing consensus about what needs to be done to protect the personal information of Canadians – which my bill’s reforms reflect,” said MP Charmaine Borg. “The privacy measures proposed in Bill C-475 have long been called for by key experts and citizens groups. It’s time to act to meet the challenges of the digital age not just for today, but for tomorrow as well.”

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart released a position paper this morning on the modernization of Canada’s private sector privacy law. In it, she calls for stronger enforcement powers including statutory damages to be administered by the federal court and providing the commissioner with order-making powers. She also calls for breach notification requirements to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals.

Bill C-475, an Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, would create mandatory data breach reporting in the event that a data breach causes a risk of harm to an individual. The bill would also increase the enforcement powers of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that organizations comply with PIPEDA when handling the personal information of Canadians.

“With data breaches on the rise and some major websites disclosing personal information without the individuals’ consent, Canadians are already onside with privacy reform,” said MP Borg. “Recent studies show that 97% of Canadians want to know when their personal data is breached and 80% support stronger enforcement of our privacy law. It’s clear now more than ever that it is time to bring Canada’s privacy law into the digital age. Bill C-475 will do this.”