Thursday, October 1st, 2020
On August 13, the Ontario government launched a public consultation to solicit input on “creating a legislative framework for privacy in the province’s private sector,” citing longstanding public concern over data privacy intensified by increased reliance on digital platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there have been rumblings of reform at the federal level, including the government’s May 2019 release of an aspirational “Digital Charter” and accompanying proposals for modernizing PIPEDA, it’s not clear how extensive the changes will be, or when Canadians can expect them, especially with the parliamentary schedule having been disrupted by the pandemic. The introduction of an Ontario data protection strategy might thus come as a welcome development to those eager for reform who are understandably frustrated being at the mercy of a slow-moving federal process. But there are more reasons to be wary of further fragmenting privacy legislation along provincial or territorial lines.