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Canada Dashboard Digest | Notes from the IAPP Canada Managing Director, Nov. 6, 2020 Related reading: A conversation on protecting children's privacy

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I wonder if, by the time the digest gets published this week, we’ll have an answer as to who won the election south of the border. Who knows, with all the lawsuits out there, we might not have a definitive answer for weeks or even months.

If you were watching (who wasn’t?), one of the things CNN reported on was how different ethnicities voted in the election. Did you notice their creative use of “something else” to capture those ethnicities that didn’t fit into a certain category? Even my kids were chuckling and started to identify themselves as “something else.”

Ethnicity is on my mind this week because we’ve been helping clients for the past little while who are delving into the tricky research associated with trying to ensure they are encouraging diversity in the workplace. This necessarily involves collecting, using and analyzing ethnicity and other types of sensitive personal information. There’s no question that there are many positive things that come from this work to ensure a workplace is more diverse and inclusive. But there is potential for misuse, as well. The devil is in the details in terms of doing this stuff properly — and ethically.

Ethnicity and similar sensitive personal information are also used by our emerging AI systems. In an article this week (that we summarize below), a reporter with The Canadian Press writing for the Toronto Star outlined a number of uses of AI technology where, in sketchy fashions, they were used for things like predictive policing. The article goes on to state that Canada’s legal framework for dealing with these issues is pretty weak, and I agree.

I was, however, encouraged by the one quote from Minister Bains in which he said the plan to introduce legislation is moving forward, and we should see something “in the coming weeks.” I’ve also heard rumors that the Liberal government will table something the week of Nov. 16. That’s just around the bend!

So, let's place a wager: Will we see meaningful movement on privacy law reform in Canada before or after our American neighbors have settled the presidency?

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