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New Privacy Law Amendments will be a Win for Consumers

In a post last fall, we were contemplating when the federal government would introduce amendments to the privacy law. We pointed out that modernizing this legislation is important for Canada to keep pace with other countries, but more importantly to ensure there are appropriate safeguards for consumers as technology continues to advance.

Not long after our post the government tabled Bill C-11, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, which introduced the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Data Protection Tribunal Act. This legislation, when passed into law, will bring the most significant changes to Canada’s federal privacy regulation in 20 years.  

At Rogers, we are committed to a strong privacy culture. We welcome the new legislation and would like to take a moment to highlight a few of the many amendments that we believe to be a step in the right direction.

Greater Transparency: there is a proposed requirement for organizations to create more transparency for their customers about how personal information is collected, used, or disclosed. This also includes transparency around the use of algorithms and automated decision making. 

We believe that we need to be clear about how we handle customers’ personal information, and to make that information easily accessible and understandable.

We’ve taken many steps in recent years to be more transparent with our customers, including updating our privacy policy to make it easier to understand and to follow the guidelines established by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Meaningful Consent Guidelines. We’ve also launched a privacy information centre for our customers here. For the past eight years we’ve released an annual Transparency Report, which outlines our personal information disclosure practices. As well, we’ve worked with organizations like the Canadian Marketing Association, which established the CMA Guide: Transparency for Consumers in 2019, which can be found here.

More privacy focus among businesses: another proposal will require organizations to formalize robust privacy management programs. This will include setting out policies and procedures for protecting personal information, addressing privacy complaints, training employees, and developing material that explains policies and practices. Practically speaking, we will see more and more organizations taking privacy into consideration at the beginning of a product or service lifecycle, rather than as a compliance requirement after the fact.

At Rogers, we’ve been doing just that for quite some time. Beyond following all federal privacy laws, we also have a Privacy Policy that explains to our customers how we are handling their data. We have also implemented robust security safeguard practices, which add layers of security measures to ensure private information is protected at all times.

We strive to foster a culture that values privacy and security through awareness and guidance to all our teams. This means that privacy and security are key components of our Business Code of Conduct and all our teams are required to take both privacy and security training each year.  We are continuously reviewing and evolving our privacy management program to ensure it keeps pace with technology changes, but more importantly so that it matches the expectations of our customers. As stewards of our customers’ valued personal data, we want to make sure that they are the basis for all decisions we make, including how we handle and protect their information.

These privacy law amendments, among others are important for both consumers and organizations. We will continue to be part of this conversation with elected officials and policy makers to ensure that as the legislation proceeds it is easy to understand and will allow companies to continue to innovate and deliver world-class customer experiences and technologies for Canadians.

We applaud the Canadian Government for taking a step in the right direction to ensuing that Canadians can confidently adopt new technologies and, Canada remains a leader in digital innovation and adoption, all while protecting personal information of consumers.

Deborah Evans is Chief Privacy Officer at Rogers.