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What Canada’s New Digital Privacy Act Could Mean For Businesses

Canada ParliamentYesterday, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act. The new act, officially called an "Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts," represents one of the biggest shakeups in Canada's privacy law in decades.

Canada currently has two laws that govern privacy in Canada. The Privacy Act covers government agencies and federally regulated industries, while the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to private-sector organizations.

If the new Digital Charter passes into law, the following sets of online rights will be available to Canadians:

  • the ability to withdraw, remove and erase basic personal data from a platform, such as Facebook or Twitter;
  • knowledge of how personal data is being used, including through a national advertising registry;
  • the ability to review and challenge the amount of personal data that a company or government has collected;
  • a means of informing people when personal data is breached, with appropriate compensation;
  • and the ability to be free from online discrimination including bias and harassment.

The Digital Charter will have more teeth than the current Canadian privacy laws and will be similar to GDPR. Companies could face fines of up to five per cent of global revenue or $25 million — whichever is greater — for the most serious offences. The legislation provides for the heaviest fines among the G7 nations' privacy laws.

While still too early to know what the ramifications of such a law could mean for businesses, expect that greater accountability to be placed on businesses to protect consumer data and privacy. The fines that could be levied if your business is found in breach of the Digital Charter are large enough that it could close your business. To ensure that your business is able to keep up with changing regulations, contact Uzado today to help you ensure you stay compliant with Canada’s changing privacy laws.

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