2020 will mark 20 years since the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) became law. Not many updates have been made to the law since its adoption but after years of pressure, steps are now underway that could bring in sweeping changes to Canada’s broader privacy framework.
Whether it’s new technological advancements, the coming into force of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GRDP) in May 2019, or a growing chorus of prominent voices calling for a national digital strategy, it can be expected that PIPEDA and other laws will undergo major legislative reviews within the next few months.
For example, in the Fall of 2019, information and privacy ombudspersons and commissioners from across Canada issued a joint resolution, urging their respective governments to modernize access to information and privacy laws.
This resolution aligned with a number of initiatives launched by the Liberal government in their last mandate, aimed at reviewing the federal digital framework and how it could be modernized to better regulate social media, big data, artificial intelligence and other emerging issues.
On May 21, 2019, the federal Government announced it was launching a digital strategy. The strategy includes a 10-principle Digital Charter that sets out a number of principles for online governance. The Charter, which does not yet have the power of law, is intended to “ensure that privacy is protected, data is kept safe, and Canadian companies can lead the world in innovations that fully embrace the benefits of the digital economy.”