On 17 June 2021 the Ontario government released a White Paper - Modernizing Privacy in Ontario seeking feedback on their proposal to move forward with an Ontario private sector privacy law.
Currently in Ontario, privacy in the private-sector is governed by the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). In 2020 the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-11, The Digital Charter Implementation Act, to replace PIPEDA and modernize the federal privacy regime in Canada. This proposed law has been met with some criticism and has been referred to as a “step back” by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. In response to these criticisms the Ontario government’s proposal aims to:
- introduce a rights-based approach to privacy;
- foster safe use of artificial intelligence and automated decision-making;
- enhance consent and lawful uses of personal data;
- ensure stronger data transparency;
- protect vulnerable groups such as children and youth;
- create a fair, proportionate and supportive regulatory regime; and
- support innovators and expand scope to not-for-profits, charities, trade unions and non-commercial activities.
Comments are due by August 3, 2021.
With the release of our government’s Digital and Data Strategy, we are making safeguarding citizen data a priority. My ministry is therefore considering the possibility of provincial legislation that would govern citizen data, set a national gold standard for privacy protection, and correct the systemic power imbalances that have emerged between individuals and the organizations that collect and use their data.