So, I could write about the federal budget, which was tabled earlier in the week, and express my curiosity about the government’s plans for a data commissioner, but I’m not going to do that today. I will flag that it’s the first time a woman finance minister tabled the budget. Geez. It’s about time! This got me thinking about women in privacy and the fact that our industry is filled with many great female leaders. What’s also pretty special is that the privacy industry has many Canadians in influential positions. Put these two together and, yes, we have many great Canadian women doing great things in our profession.
Today I’m just going to mention four, but we could actually write a whole book on this topic. And maybe I should have done this blog on International Women’s Day, but I personally think we need to point these things out way more often than that.
So let’s get started with Liz Denham, the information commissioner for the U.K. and chair of the Global Privacy Assembly. She was interviewed by J. Trevor Hughes this past week as part of the IAPP Global Privacy Summit Online 2021 Keynote series, and it was a great conversation. Her mandate is ending in October, and she had lots of insights to share as she is now reflecting on her time at the helm of, arguably, the most influential DPA in the world. From Brexit to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that there is at least one daily headline involving how the ICO is advancing privacy rights.
Then there’s Patricia Kosseim. Or, just Pat. She’s the newly appointed information and privacy commissioner of Ontario. Do you follow her on LinkedIn? If not, you should. She’s proving to be really adept at this commissioner role, which is no surprise, of course. She seems to be taking a modern, accessible approach to running the office, and she has a strong team supporting her. I’m trying to catch up on her very cool podcast series today.
I’d also like to do a shout-out to Anne-Marie Hayden. For nearly 20 years, she worked as the head of communications with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. At a time when I would argue the most effective enforcement tool for that office was directly related to its ability to communicate and leverage the power of public persuasion, she pioneered privacy communications. I’m super thrilled that she is back in our sector and helping nNovation clients with the privacy and communications challenges they are dealing with.
Last on this list today, but definitely not least, is Barbara McIsaac. I just learned that a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) was presented to Barb, one of Canada’s preeminent experts in privacy law and access to information law. The Law Society awards honorary doctorates each year to distinguished individuals in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. This is no small feat in the legal profession. Barb has been a tremendous colleague and mentor over the past decades, and I will forever be grateful to her for the opportunity, at the start of my career, to write a little book with her, still popular today because we’re always updating it, called "The Law of Privacy in Canada."
I’m sorry to end my list at just these individuals when there are so many more to highlight, but like I mentioned, I need to get going on listening to Kosseim’s podcast. I’m sure, however, that you’ll agree with me that these four great Canadian privacy pros have done a ton and continue to rock it out in our profession. Meanwhile, what you might not know is that the IAPP has created a Women Leading Privacy section because even if there are as many women in privacy as there are men, there are still unique challenges. I hope you’ll check it out.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and don’t forget … it’s time to start reminding the kids to think about what they’re doing to commemorate Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner.
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