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Canada Dashboard Digest | Notes from the IAPP Canada Managing Director, June 18, 2021 Related reading: Notes from the IAPP Canada Managing Director, June 11, 2021

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What do Canadians think when it comes to privacy? If you work in privacy in Canada, this question is top of mind and I’d encourage you to take the time to read the results of the OPC’s biannual survey of Canadians, which they released earlier this week.

The OPC drew attention to a handful of stats from the survey, suggesting people remain pretty concerned about things like ID theft, the risks associated with social media platforms and decisions that can be made about them by organizations because of information available online.

I did find it interesting that Canadians’ concerns about privacy seemed to have dipped 5% — from the 92% figure we’ve seen over the past few years to 87% in this last round. We have to remember, though, that they were asked about this in the midst of a global pandemic and their concern for privacy is still very high … so we’re definitely not out of a job! I think that combined, the findings show privacy is still very much a thing.

Another bit in the report that piqued my interest was that while most Canadians are comfortable sharing personal health information with health practitioners, they seem to be a lot less comfortable sharing it in other contexts. The government will need to consider this kind of information as they advance their work on vaccine passports.

Canada’s privacy commissioners have already given governments a privacy roadmap for vaccine passports. I’m getting a little worried that if we don’t see some real, visible strides on this, we’re going to be unnecessarily stuck and this will, in turn, affect the Canadian economy, our mobility and some of the great joys in life that have been on pause for way too long.

The latest word seems to be Canada is considering a couple of different things: vaccine passports and vaccine certifications. The vaccine passports would be just that — passports meant to enable us to cross international borders. Vaccine certifications, meanwhile, could help us gain access to events, workplaces and other places. One thing we have seen through this pandemic is there definitely needs to be better federal, provincial and territorial coordination. Let’s hope that’s not the thing that puts us behind on vaccine passports and certifications, while the rest of the world gets back to “normal.”

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