I’ll be brief as I suspect most of the digest readers are in summer mode, and the last thing you want is another drawn-out rant from me.
Bill C-58 received Royal Assent a short while ago. The government’s announcement is here if you wish to read it.
I mention this as news because this bill considerably strengthens the federal Access to Information Act, and I think it if you tinker with that law, it is only a matter of time that you tinker with the Privacy Act as well. Bill C-58 does a number of notable things, like creating a long list of government records that must proactively be made public. But, maybe more relevant to the Privacy Act discussion is that the information commissioner has now officially been given the power to order compliance. The days of the ombuds model are over.
I also got wind recently that the Department of Justice has begun its consultations, albeit in a more limited way, on reforming the Privacy Act. The targeted engagement asks for input by Aug. 30 and is accompanied by five discussion papers entitled:
- Privacy principles and modernized rules for a digital age.
- Transparency and accountability: demonstrating the commitment and respect necessary to facilitate trust.
- Greater certainty for Canadians and government — delineating the contours of the Privacy Act and defining important concepts.
- A modern and effective compliance framework with enhanced enforcement mechanisms.
- Modernizing the Privacy Act’s relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
I have a copy of the email requesting input, so give me a shout if you want me to forward it to you. All in all, it sounds to me that while you’d never be able to accuse the government of moving too quickly, it seems like there is at least some movement afoot.
Enjoy your summer weekend.
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