A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will promote greater collaboration between the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia and the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec.
Domestic and international enforcement cooperation in the area of privacy law is increasingly critical in a digitized world where data flows transcend borders. Cross-jurisdictional collaboration helps to ensure better protection of the rights of citizens. It can also benefit organizations by streamlining investigative processes and promoting a greater harmonization in the application of laws.
The MOU between the four privacy protection authorities will promote greater collaboration on private sector privacy issues.
“This agreement is another important step by data protection authorities in Canada to increase collaboration aimed at ensuring the protection of Canadians’ privacy rights in a world of borderless data flows.” – Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien
“This agreement highlights the importance of greater collaboration between privacy authorities in our hyper-connected world. It also promotes harmonization in the application of legislation, allows greater predictability for businesses and, above all, it increases our ability to protect citizens’ personal information.” – Me Diane Poitras, president, Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec
“The need for collaboration to effectively enforce Canada’s privacy laws has never been greater. I am pleased to renew this agreement with my colleagues in our efforts to uphold Canadians’ privacy rights.” – Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta Jill Clayton
“The MOU sends a strong signal to citizens and organizations that Canadian data protection authorities work closely together to ensure a harmonized approach to the application of privacy laws in our highly digitized world.” – Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia Michael McEvoy
This MOU builds on the success of recent federal-provincial collaborative efforts and will allow for more efficient collaboration in future, so that we may deal with new privacy issues of cross-jurisdictional relevance in a more agile way.
Investigations into Clearview AI and a breach at Desjardins are recent examples of collaborative work between the OPC and provincial privacy authorities on issues of joint concern, which were carried out through MOUs specific to those investigations.
The new agreement enables the parties to share information, consult on enforcement matters of mutual interest, discuss policy and develop public education and compliance documents. The goal is to maximize the capacity and impact of oversight activities, reduce duplication and increase knowledge sharing between the offices to ensure consistent oversight of private sector privacy laws.
Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec have provincial private sector privacy laws that are substantially similar to the federal law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
This MOU builds on one previously signed between the OPC and its counterparts in Alberta and British Columbia.