British Columbians want action on privacy protection: Polling results

FIPA-sponsored poll shows BC wants key reforms to privacy laws  

VANCOUVER, June 4, 2020 – Polling results released today indicate that British Columbians want increased public education and enhanced protections to their privacy rights, among other key reforms to privacy laws.  

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) commissioned an Ipsos poll, a leading independent market research company, on public opinion regarding BC’s private sector privacy laws. The questions posed will inform FIPA’s submission to the Special Legislative Committee reviewing BC’s Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA).  

A summary of poll questions and results are posted below. Tables of results can be found here.

The polling results indicate that British Columbians are concerned about the protection for their personal information. 56% of British Columbians either don’t know or feel the current laws and practices are insufficient to protect their personal information. 47% of respondents believe organizations are not open and transparent about how they collect and use personal information. 

In addition, 75% of British Columbians answered that they were concerned about an organization transferring their personal information from BC to organizations outside of Canada. 

Finally, awareness of privacy rights and protections is concerningly low with only 32% of British Columbians aware of PIPA, 31% aware of BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, 40% aware of the right to file a complaint relating to the handling of their personal information, 33% know that they can request access to their personal information from businesses, and 33% know nothing about these topics.  

British Columbians strongly support increasing public education about privacy, including a change in education curriculums. 75% of British Columbians believe that it is important to have a targeted curriculum for K-12 schools relating to privacy rights, with 78% answering the same for post-secondary students. 

“The results of this poll show that British Columbians are concerned about how their personal information is handled by organizations,” said FIPA Executive Director Jason Woywada. “We hope that these results will help inform the Special Legislative Committee and the BC Government’s actions to implement much-needed reforms to PIPA to provide British Columbians’ the degree of protection they deserve and expect.” 

Contact: 

Jason Woywada, Executive Director 
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association 
fipa@fipa.bc.ca | (o) 604-739-9788 


Background: 
Ipsos posed the following questions to 802 British Columbians on behalf of FIPA, and received the following responses: 

1. Existing laws and organizational practices provide sufficient protection of my personal information. 
Yes – 43% 
No – 28% 
Don’t know – 28% 

2. Organizations are open and transparent about how they collect and use my personal information. 
Yes – 33% 
No – 47% 
Don’t know – 20% 

3. How concerned are you about an organization transferring your personal information from BC to organizations outside of Canada? 
4- Very concerned – 34% 
3- 41 % 
2- 19%
1- Not concerned at all – 6% 

4.1. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals regarding personal information and privacy rights 
4 – Very important – 51%
3- 37%
2- 11% 
1- Not important at all – 1% 

4.2. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals learning about how to protect their personal information 
4- Very important – 53%
3- 34%
2- 12%
1-Not important at all – 1% 

4.3. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Resources for individuals on obtaining help, information, and advice related to privacy 
4- Very important – 47% 
3- 40% 
2- 12% 
1-Not important at all – 1% 

4.4. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Targeted curriculum for K-12 schools relating to privacy rights
4- Very important – 35% 
3- 40% 
2- 21%
1-Not important at all – 4% 

4.5. How important do you consider the following items as components of general public education? – Targeted curriculum for post-secondary schools relating to privacy rights 
4- Very important – 37% 
3 -40% 
2- 20% 
1-Not important at all – 3% 

5. Choose the statements that best reflect your knowledge of your privacy rights 
I am aware of BC’s Personal Information Protection Act – 32% 
I am aware of BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner – 31% 
I am aware that I can request access to my personal information from businesses – 33% 
I am aware of the right to file a complaint relating to the handling of my personal information – 40% 
None of these – 33% 

These responses, as well as breakdowns by gender, education, age group, region, income, and household composition, can be downloaded here. The Ipsos Factum can be found here.