New privacy bill promises greater control for consumers, stiff fines for companies

Navdeep Bains

On the other hand, Therrien's spokesperson Vito Pilieci said their office had always been calling for federal privacy laws better suited to protect Canadians in the digital age.

It'd also flesh out the 10 fundamentals - from management over information to significant penalties for abuse of data - that compose the national virtual charter. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians can interact in this digital space trusting that their personal information is safe and secure and that their privacy is respected.

Trudeau said the new law would stipulate the highest fines imposed among Group of Seven nations for privacy violations.

The plan for a legislative overhaul follows repeated calls from federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien to modernize Canada's aging privacy laws. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to private-sector associations.

But Bains suggested more reforms aimed at large tech and internet companies are coming, including a promised tax on multinational companies operating in Canada on their sales of online advertising and profits from Canadian user data.

The new compliance requirements largely codify what businesses have already been encouraged to do, Joli-Coeur said, but the privacy commissioner's ability to issue orders is "something new and something significant". Therrien also wants powers to inspect the information-handling practices of organizations.

John Power, a spokesman for Bains, stated last month that Canadians are understandably anxious about the way their information is used in a electronic world, including the government was going to fortify the private-sector privacy legislation.

Conservative MP James Cumming, the party's innovation, science, and industry critic, said he'd closely examine that letter to ensure it protects Canadians' privacy without being unreasonable for small businesses.

"We expect to have more to say on this soon".

The Liberals are billing the legislation as a way to enshrine into law the principles of a "digital charter" outlined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019.

- and the ability to be free from online discrimination including bias and harassment.

Rachel Rappaport, a spokeswoman for Justice Minister David Lametti, stated last month that the government is dedicated to reviewing the Privacy Act to make it keeps pace with all the ramifications of technological change and expanding Canadian values.

This report from The Canadian Press was initially released November 16, 2020.

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