• Stephen Lecce, MPP

Strengthening Privacy Protections for Ontario’s Digital Future

June 18, 2021

TEESWATER — Today, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, issued the following statement: “Today, our government released a white paper for private sector and public input that outlines Ontario’s proposals to implement a fundamental right to privacy, protect Ontarians from unjustified surveillance, and promote responsible innovation. Currently in Ontario, businesses are subject to a decades-old federal privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Non-profits, trade unions, and other non-commercial organizations that often deal with sensitive information aren’t covered. Recently, the federal government tabled Bill C-11, The Digital Charter Implementation Act, to update PIPEDA. While the bill may appear to be modernizing outdated legislation, it has stripped away key protections that Canadians expect to have and has been recognized as a “step back” by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. While a comprehensive, harmonized national privacy regime would be the best outcome for Ontarians, the federal bill is fundamentally flawed and, as it is currently written, will not keep our people safe. 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 organizatio