Statistics Canada Requesting Financial Information of Canadians

MEDIA RELEASE

November 5, 2018

Statistics Canada Requesting Financial Information of Canadians

VANCOUVER, November 5, 2018 – The recent media reports of Statistics Canada seeking to collect the financial information of Canadians in order to build a personal information bank—and the report that Statistics Canada has already received personal financial data from one of Canada’s two credit bureaus—exposes issues around how government agencies collect, store, and use the sensitive personal information of Canadians.

While the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association of BC supports Statistics Canada ability to provide a valuable service to Canadians, the government agency needs to find a balance between fulfilling its mandate and respecting the privacy of its stakeholders.

“It is untenable to give absolute trust and authority to a government agency in today’s technological landscape,” says Sara Neuert, FIPA’s executive director. “Given the regularity that personal information is breached, Statistics Canada has an ethical responsibility to inform Canadians about access to their sensitive financial information, and to seek their consent before doing so.”

As Statistics Canada only sees value in this data if it can be connected to the identity of a person, consent is needed to collect this information. In order to enshrine this privacy principle in law, the Privacy Act should be revised to include provisions that requires government agencies who seek to collect identifiable personal information from third-parties to first seek consent from those individuals.

In addition, the Statistics Acts needs to be updated to account for the digital transformation that has occurred since its inception. There are no longer the same kinds of physical limitations that once restrained the amount of sensitive information about Canadians that could be collected, stored, and used. Therefore, the Statistics Act should reflect this transformation.

Contact:

Sara Neuert, Executive Director

BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Email: fipa (at) fipa.bc.ca

Phone: 604-739-9788

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USMCA Puts Privacy at Risk

MEDIA RELEASE

October 17, 2018

USMCA Puts Privacy at Risk

VANCOUVER, October 17, 2018 – The pending free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States (USMCA) conflicts with existing provincial legislation around data localization and puts the privacy of British Columbians at risk.

The Freedom of Information and Privacy Association of British Columbia continues to support the data localization provision within BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

The data localization provision, section 30.1 of the act, protects the privacy of British Columbians by mandating that the personal information collected by public bodies must be stored and accessed only in Canada, with some limited exceptions.

“Controlling where personal information flows, and who has access to it, is an essential tool in the ongoing and evolving process of protecting the privacy of British Columbians,” said FIPA executive director, Sara Neuert.

While data localization has been and continues to be an important step in maintaining and enhancing personal information protections that are in accordance with our Canadian values, Article 19.12 of the USMCA prohibits computing facilities from being located in a specific place.

The domestic data storage provision within FIPPA is a matter of political consensus within in British Columbia. We are calling on the provincial government to reaffirm its commitment to section 30.1 of FIPPA in light of the recent USMCA trade agreement.

Contact:

Sara Neuert, Executive Director
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
Email: Sara (at) fipa.bc.ca
Phone: 604-739-9788
Cell: 604-318-0031

NEWS RELEASE: Recommendations for Canada’s Digital Transformation

MEDIA RELEASE

October 4, 2018

Recommendations for Canada’s Digital Transformation

VANCOUVER, October 4, 2018 – The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association submitted a paper to the department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development for their consultation on digital transformation.

The national digital and data consultation, including the roundtable discussions that took place across Canada from June to September of this year, were an important step to ensuring that government is taking all the varied and diverse stakeholders involved this process into account.

“We’re encouraged by government’s willingness to receive outside feedback and optimistic that Canada’s digital transformation will instigate much needed improvements to our privacy and data protections,” said FIPA executive director, Sara Neuert.

Our submission compared Canada’s existing privacy and data protection framework to international regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Based on this analysis, we created a list of recommendations, which include:

  • Increased funding for education and awareness around risks related to digital transformation and privacy breaches
  • The creation of a proactive reporting culture around privacy in government
  • An accessible complaints process for individuals who are reporting privacy breaches
  • Increased funding and investigative and enforcement power for the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Office of Privacy
  • More research on the impact of privacy issues on marginalized groups in a digital transformation
  • Further study on the impact of public utilities being transferred to a digital platform
  • The creation of a new data protection and privacy framework that complies with digital transformation and sufficient time for interested groups to provide feedback prior to implementation.

The Innovation, Science, and Economic Development department will be issuing a report based on these consultations in the near future.

Contact:
Sara Neuert, Executive Director
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
Email: Sara (at) fipa.bc.ca
Phone: 604-739-9788
Cell: 604-318-0031

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UPDATE Election 2017: BC Party Leaders’ Responses to FIPA’s Election Questionnaire

 

This Just In: Liberals, NDP and Greens respond to FIPA’s election questionnaire.

Just in time for next week’s vote, we are pleased to reveal the responses we received from all three major parties to our election questionnaire.

This is the detailed statement of positions on information, privacy, and other issues that have not had much exposure in the leaders debate or in the parties’ main platforms.

If FOI and privacy are important to you in choosing who to vote for, check out what the parties themselves have said, in their own words. We have also prepared a concise summary of what each is promising.

We thank all three parties for taking the time to set out what appear to be carefully considered responses to these important questions.

To see our questions, click here.

Click here to see the BC Liberals’ response.

Click here to see the BC NDP’s response.

Click here to see the BC Green Party’s response.