Ontario Ministry Of Government And Consumer Services Launches Consultation On Modernizing Ontario’s Privacy Protection Framework

This article was previously posted on E-TIPS™ For Deeth Williams Wall LLP on July 6 2021. 

M. Imtiaz Karamat is an IP Osgoode Alumnus and Licensed Lawyer in Ontario

On June 17, 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) announced the launch of public consultation on the MGCS’ white paper, which outlines proposals for reforming Ontario’s privacy protection framework. 

Ontario is considering implementing its own provincial privacy and data protection law that is aimed at giving individuals more control over the collection, use, and safeguard of their personal information; protecting vulnerable populations like children and youth; and increasing trust in the digital economy. To achieve these goals, the MGCS’ white paper outlines proposals in seven key areas that should be considered for the new law:

  1. introducing a rights-based approach to privacy for individuals, including the right to ask for their personal data in a digital format and the deletion of collected personal information;
  2. addressing the safe use of automated decision-making and artificial intelligence to prevent unjustified surveillance;
  3. improving on current methods and creating modern rules for the safe collection and use of personal data;
  4. introducing new data-transparency rules for Ontarians;
  5. protecting vulnerable groups that have higher risks associated with the use of modern data practices;
  6. providing more oversight and enforcement powers to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario; and
  7. working with Ontario innovators to strengthen privacy protections.

To increase the impact of the above proposals, Ontario is also considering expanding the scope of privacy requirements beyond the limitations of the federal government’s current privacy regime. The federal privacy regime is limited to organizations that conduct commercial activities, which allows many private sector organizations that collect and use Ontarians’ personal information for non-commercial purposes to not be covered by privacy requirements. To address this gap, the province is considering including non-commercial organizations under its privacy framework, such as charities, trade unions, and not-for-profit organizations.

MGCS is seeking feedback on its white paper from stakeholders and the general public until August 3, 2021. Details on how to participate can be found here.

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