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Those looking to prove proficiency in Canadian law by taking the CIPP/C exam may notice some changes when they sit down for the test this year. The IAPP introduced an updated version as of Jan. 1 to reflect changes in the Canadian privacy landscape.

Because those changes happen at such a rapid pace, IAPP exams undergo annual updates to ensure that new topics, legislation and other information deemed important make it onto the test pages in order to keep IAPP-certified privacy professionals ahead of the proverbial curve.

To ensure exam content reflects the privacy's legal landscape, each exam has an Exam Development Board that meets annually. The EDB reviews content in light of policy developments and decides if the exam appropriately reflects those developments. 

IAPP Certification Operations Manager Bridget Morang, CIPP/C, CIPP/E, CIPT, described the update as “the biggest adjustment the IAPP has made to CIPP/C in three years,” adding, while all exam updates don’t result in significant changes, the new CIPP/C is deserving of such distinction.

At this year’s EDB meetingit was obvious that changes were needed.

While healthcare policies were already integrated into sections through the exam, the EDB decided that with healthcare increasingly important in Canadian privacy law, the topic deserved to be its own entity. Morang said, “Now we think healthcare has the attention it deserves.”

Not only is the exam now properly set up to reflect the privacy landscape in Canada, but with healthcare on its own, she added, it is better suited by design to include policy changes that are coming down the pike.

Chris Klein, IAPP's managing director, Canada, CIPP/C, CIPM, FIP said "All in all, it’s a very dynamic industry and the IAPP is the one place that is doing a good job at staying on top of it all."

What will this mean for future CIPP/C exam takers?

Healthcare is a new section in the CIPP/C Blueprint and the Body of Knowledge — but what does that mean? The CIPP/C BoK outlines all the concepts and topics that privacy pros need to know to become certified. The exam blueprint  indicates how many questions from each topic area to expect on the exam.

What’s clear is that anywhere between nine and 16 questions will stem from Canadian privacy laws and practices. Topics include statutes, application and scope, key concepts and issues, health information organizations and genetic testing – with each having at least one devoted question and at most, four.

Klein said, "Things in the privacy world in Canada are constantly changing so it makes sense that our exam is keeping pace. We see policy changes all the time."

The BoK now includes sections covering the Digital Privacy Act’s updates to PIPEDA, Canada’s anti-spam legislation, genetic testing, health information privacy updates and health information organizations. 

Overall, the content focus remains the same as earlier iterations of the exam, with only about 10 percent affected as a result of the update. 

An updated study guide is in the works and until then, the IAPP has identified material to keep privacy pros covered.  Additionally, the IAPP, in conjunction with its Canadian certification advisory board, compiled a reading list  of information covered in the BoK. 

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  • comment Sandra Woods • Jan 23, 2018
    My primary field is bioethics  (biomedical ethics), and several years ago I saw a growing need for knowledge of patients' privacy protection within healthcare. That led me obtain a CIPP/C, specifically because privacy has become such an important facet of healthcare - in Canada - in the past few years. Excellent initiative from the IAPP!