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

Laveta Brigham

OTTAWA — Companies would have to obtain consent from customers through plain language, not a long legal document, before using their personal data if newly introduced privacy measures become law. © Provided by The Canadian Press The Liberal government bill is designed to flesh out the 10 principles — from […]

OTTAWA — Companies would have to obtain consent from customers through plain language, not a long legal document, before using their personal data if newly introduced privacy measures become law.



Navdeep Bains wearing a suit and hat


© Provided by The Canadian Press


The Liberal government bill is designed to flesh out the 10 principles — from control over data to meaningful penalties for misuse of information — that make up the federal digital charter.

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The government says the legislation would give consumers the ability to more easily transfer their data from one business to another. For example, people could direct their bank to share their personal information with another financial institution.

The proposed Digital Charter Implementation Act would give the federal privacy commissioner order-making powers, including the ability to demand that a company stop collecting data or using personal information.

In addition, the privacy commissioner would be able to recommend that the planned Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal impose a fine. 

The legislation would provide for administrative monetary penalties of up to three per cent of global revenue, or $10 million, for non-compliant organizations. 

Video: Bains explains how fines would be laid if companies contravene the new privacy legislation (cbc.ca)

Bains explains how fines would be laid if companies contravene the new privacy legislation

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It also contains an expanded range of offences for certain serious infractions, including a maximum fine of 5 per cent of global revenue, or $25 million.

“The fines are there to provide accountability,” said Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains.

“If we want Canadians to feel confident online … they need to make sure that their privacy is protected, and that they have greater control over their data.”

The government says the law would also ensure that Canadians could demand their information on social-media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, be permanently deleted.

To reinforce this, the privacy commissioner would have the ability to order a social-media company to comply, it adds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2020.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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