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CANADIAN PRIVACY COMMISSIONERS WORKING TOGETHER ON PRIVACY COMPLAINTS

Source: PX NewsFlash

Posted on February 12, 2004

      The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia, David Loukidelis, and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, Frank Work, announced that they will be working cooperatively to develop a harmonized approach to dealing with privacy complaints in the private sector.

      All three jurisdictions face new responsibilities since January 1, 2004 when their respective private sector privacy laws went into effect. Ms. Stoddart, Mr. Loukidelis and Mr. Work met in Ottawa to begin working out an understanding for administering their respective laws and to begin developing fair, consistent and clear rules of enforcement, to help eliminate any confusion about jurisdiction.

      The federal law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), has been coming into force in stages since 2001. At the beginning of the new year, PIPEDA extended its reach to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in commercial activities throughout the rest of the private sector, except in provinces which have enacted legislation that is substantially similar to the federal law.

      In November 2003, Quebec's private sector privacy law, which has been in force for close to ten years, was deemed substantially similar to PIPEDA by the federal government. In January 2004, both the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) in British Columbia and the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) in Alberta came into force.

      These laws contain the same principles and may apply to the same organizations as PIPEDA. This is what the three commissioners will be working together on to minimize red tape and to create a seamless continuum of privacy protection that is both practical for businesses and respectful of citizens' privacy rights.




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