Given global trends in the development of privacy laws and enforcement, Canada and several provinces are looking at modernizing their respective privacy regimes. Ontario's new proposed privacy law, which would govern commercial activities more broadly than current legislation (i.e., our federal legislation, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and Ontario's health privacy legislation, the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)), is intended to enhance the public's confidence in Ontario's digital economy by recognizing individuals' fundamental right to privacy and imposing strict compliance obligations and financial penalties on organizations doing business in Ontario.

On June 17, 2021, the Government of Ontario released a white paper outlining its proposals and requesting public feedback. It suggests that the proposed new legislation would be in addition to PHIPA. This was partially in response to Bill C-11 (the federal government's new proposed private sector privacy legislation), which even the Privacy Commissioner of Canada described as "a step back overall from our current law" and as requiring "significant changes if confidence in the digital economy is to be restored." The white paper outlines proposals that aim to:

  1. implement a rights-based approach to privacy;
  2. ensure safe and transparent use of automated decision-making/AI technologies;
  3. enhance the process of obtaining consent;
  4. improve data transparency;
  5. protect children and youth;
  6. establish and maintain a more fair, proportionate and supportive regulatory regime; and
  7. support innovation in Ontario.

Click here to read the full update on proposals 1 through 3.

Click here to read the full update on 4 through 7

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