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Blinds and Blinders: Open or Closed?

May 13, 2021

If you close your blinds completely, no one can see in, but you can’t see out. You are literally shuttered from the world.  If you open the blinds all the way up, your life and self is on view for everyone who chooses to look.  And so, you fiddle with the blinds, trying to get the right blend of sunshine and seclusion, looking for balance.

The federal legislature introduced Bill C-11 in 2020, which will create a new Consumer Privacy Protection Act, in addition to other legislation designed to update the current federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and other federal privacy-related legislation.

Canada is trying to adjust its blinds to keep up with our new digital and consumer-focused economy.  We have seen similar legislative change in Europe (the General Data Protection Regulation) and parts of the United States (the California Consumer Privacy Act).  Underpinning the Canadian privacy initiative are the 10 principles of Canada’s Digital Charter, which are strongly rooted in genuine consent, control and democracy.[1]

Yet, simultaneously, COVID-19 is changing how we collect, use and disclose some extremely personal information.  Have you been vaccinated? Let me take your temperature.  Have you traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days?  Is anyone in your household awaiting COVID test results?

Personal questions that we would have scoffed at answering 2 years ago are now part of everyday life, working and running organizations. The reality, at least for now, is that doing business in Canada requires the disclosure, collection and use of sensitive personal information. The foundational forces of Canada’s Digital Charter are tugging the window coverings in one direction as COVID-19 realities are pulling it in another. What is the ideal angle for the shutters in your organization as we enter yet another ‘new normal?’

At Inhaus, we believe in being intelligently proactive by developing right sized, practical approaches to your challenges that are borne from understanding the law and working in organizations. Reach out to us if you need pragmatic support setting your blinds.

[1] The 10 principles are: (1) universal access, (2) safety and security, (3) control and consent, (4) transparency, portability, and interoperability, (5) open and modern digital government, (6) level playing field, (7) data and digital for good, (8) strong democracy, (9) free from hate and violent extremism, (10) strong enforcement and real accountability.

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