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The Privacy Advisor | Book review: 'Privacy in the Workplace' Related reading: Book review: 'So You've Been Publicly Shamed'

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The fourth edition of 'Privacy in the Workplace' by Eloïse Gratton and Lyndsay Wasser, CIPP/C, published by LexisNexis in May 2017, is a great resource guide for every Canadian professional dealing with employee privacy issues and laws.  The book is organized into 10 chapters, making it quite easy to cross-reference the key discussions and find relevant resources. 

It starts with a well-laid-out introduction to the Canadian privacy laws and framework. It also covers cross-border transfers of personal information, a highly relevant topic for large companies, employers, management and legal professionals these days. An entire chapter focuses on identifying and monitoring employees via such activities as video monitoring, GPS tracking, computer monitoring and even collecting personal and biometric information (which is a controversial issue making the headlines this year). The authors also devote separate chapters to such useful topics as best practices for online marketing and behavior, social media policies, and information management and security. 

For employers who are attuned to privacy issues triggered by hiring, retention and termination cycles, 'Privacy in the Workplace' lays out the framework for properly managing employees’ and job candidates’ personal information throughout the entire life cycle of the employee-employer relationship. Perhaps the key chapter — when it comes to its resourcefulness and everyday utility — is the chapter addressing how to develop a privacy infrastructure within the organization. 

Because privacy laws and data protection are a relatively new and developing area, many helpful resources and strategies can be easily overlooked by organizations. What this book offers is the how-to guide on many critical steps toward a privacy-compliant environment, such as how to draft comprehensive privacy policies; how to implement a privacy plan and procedures; how to properly implement and conduct privacy training for key employees, including HR, IT, executive, management and legal personnel; reporting mechanisms; employment agreements; and privacy audits, to name a few.

For those readers who are searching for practical advice rather than merely theoretical implications of privacy laws, the book goes even one step further.  Following a "sample privacy plan" is a comprehensive "appendix." It offers the readers concrete, specific problem-solving tools that will be particularly handy for small- and medium-size organizations. The appendix includes strategies on cloud computing; bring-your-own-device programs, as well as strategic considerations and practical tips relating to same; guidelines for cross-border data processing; and more.

This book is the best, most practical guide available to date on private-sector employment privacy laws in Canada. It can serve as a handy reference for human resources personnel, managers and executives; those tasked with managing employees’ personal information; and lawyers, professionals, and other individuals involved in cross-border hiring.

As the authors readily acknowledge, this book is geared toward the private sector and is not a comprehensive guide on public-sector laws. Nor can it be. In nearly 600 pages, the authors have managed to compile a detailed and useful go-to resource that is targeted and focused toward a more narrow audience. And this is what makes this book so useful.

'Privacy in the Workplace' is a how-to guidebook that you will want to keep in your office for a number of years. From a quick introduction to Canadian privacy laws and an intricate discussion of policies and best practices, it is a comprehensive volume of everything you need to know about Canadian workplace privacy laws before resorting to hiring lawyers with this expertise.

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