Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
November 7, 2019

Joint Resolution of the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Information and Privacy Commissioners – Effective Privacy and Access to Information Legislation in a Data Driven Society

The Newfoundland and Labrador Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael Harvey is proud to announce the issuance of a joint resolution external link endorsed by all of Canada’s Information and Privacy Commissioners. Canada’s access to information and privacy guardians note that along with its many benefits, the rapid advancement of technologies has had an impact on fundamental democratic principles and human rights, including access to information and privacy. They further point out that Canadians have growing concerns about the use and exploitation of their personal information by both government and private businesses.

The resolution notes that privacy and access to information are fundamental to self-determination, democracy and good government. It calls for:

  • a legislative framework to ensure the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies
  • all public and private sector entities engaged in handling personal information to be subject to privacy laws
  • Enforcement powers, such as legislating order-making powers and the power to impose penalties, fines or sanctions
  • the right of access should apply to all information held by public entities, regardless of format

While there have been legislative advances in some Canadian jurisdictions, work is still required to ensure modern legislation is in place across the country in order to better protect Canadians. Our legislation, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015 is in fact one of the best Acts in the country but we look forward to opportunities to further review it as part of the scheduled 2020 review. We have contributed submissions as part of the 2016 statutory review the Personal Health Information Act, and look forward to government’s next steps.

Commissioner Harvey states that “access and privacy are now being understood as quasi-constitutional and play a significant role in our democracy. We need to have conversations as a society about these topics that can inform our laws and how they work in practice through our regulations, policies and programs. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner looks forward to participating in these conversations with government, other public bodies and the public.”

Canada’s Information and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudspersons reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate, make recommendations to government, and to continue to study and make public how access and privacy laws impact all Canadians.

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Media contact
Sean Murray
Director of Research and Quality Assurance

2019 11 07                              2:45 p.m.