Canada Privacy

OpenMedia calls for government to introduce improved privacy law reform on one year anniversary of failed bill

Canada is even further from increased privacy protections today than when C-11 was introduced a year ago.

NOVEMBER 17, 2021 — Today marks the one-year anniversary of Bill C-11, the federal government’s attempt at reforming private sector privacy legislation, currently covered by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Although initially branded as a groundbreaking step towards finally protecting individual privacy concerns in Canada, C-11 failed to address major areas of privacy concern and saw significant criticism from privacy advocates. The Bill never moved beyond first reading, and officially died when the federal election was called this past summer. 

Bill C-11 had many shortcomings, including that the bill failed to classify privacy as a basic human right. Without this protection in place, the government is sending a clear message that business interests supersede individual rights. Bill C-11 was ripe with loopholes, yet the government refused to engage with stakeholders to introduce the necessary reforms, instead letting it die on the table. 

OpenMedia is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Minister François-Philippe Champagne to address the deficiencies of the Bill and to reintroduce legislation that has adopted the widespread critiques. The Canadian public must finally be protected from corporate privacy violations and ubiquitous data collection. If the government is serious about reigning in big tech, privacy law reform should be the number one item on their agenda when the house resumes next week.

“The need for privacy law reform has never been more urgent,” said OpenMedia Privacy Campaigner Bryan Short. “It took years to get C-11 introduced. But instead of doing the work to fix it, the government just abandoned it. Our politicians have failed us – and it’s time for them to make things right. One year later, people in Canada are no closer to increased online protections from corporate interests. We can’t afford to wait. Minister Champagne must revisit federal privacy law reform and introduce enhanced powers for the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The rules in place in Canada are inadequate to protect us, and we need the tools necessary to protect the privacy of Canadians.” 

There have been no updates on Bill C-11 since November 2020. With Minister Champagne’s recent reappointment to the position, it’s up to him to determine if the government will finally tackle privacy and bring forward real policy change. 

Over the course of the last year, more than 12,000 messages have been sent to federal MPs by members of the OpenMedia community, urging lawmakers to strengthen Bill C-11 by assigning human rather than commercial rights to personal information; and nearly 7,500 members of the OpenMedia community have signed a petition calling for greater enforcement powers for the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. 

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.

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