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Canada Dashboard Digest | Notes from the IAPP Canada Managing Director, June 15, 2018 Related reading: Australia and Chinese Taipei join APEC's Cross-Border Privacy Rules System

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There’s a news story this week that reports on a recent OPC-commissioned survey, which consisted of a 13-minute phone conversation with business executives and owners. A number of the businesses surveyed were small- to medium-sized enterprises (defined as having fewer than 100 employees).

The numbers are shocking. Remember that your personal information is floating around a marketplace where small- and medium-sized businesses comprise more than 90 percent of the business activity. While the large internet giants often catch the majority of headlines for privacy blunders, in some ways, they only broker in a small percentage of the personal information in the marketplace. Small businesses are increasingly involving — and even basing their business models on — the collection of personal information. 

Of businesses, 75 percent have not sought out help or information about how to comply with Canada’s privacy laws. Twenty-nine percent of them have done absolutely nothing to ensure that their company complies with our laws.

About half of them expressed low or no concern about experiencing a data breach. C’mon. Really? How is this possible, with breaches making the news every week? What are we doing wrong to have such a large proportion of our market be so completely unaware of the damage that can be done if privacy is not done properly?

Over the years, I must admit that my own client base is not largely made up of small- or medium-sized businesses. They must be seeking legal or regulatory advice on other issues. Why not privacy? If I knew how to get in on this crowd better, I suspect I’d be busy for years to come.

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