Recently, speeches were made from the throne in Canada on the importance of data security and cyber breach, but Faye Lyons being the vice-president of government relations and advocacy for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, raised her concern in context to the speech as the importance of privacy protection was not stated for Canadians and their businesses.

Canada’s current privacy regulation was enacted two years before Google and four years before Facebook. The Internet was defined as a “series of tubes” by lawmakers at that time. Since the pandemic, the business and digitalization of consumers are increasing rapidly. As a result, Internet usage is widespread throughout Canada. With the election of a new Parliament, it was decided that a modernized privacy framework would be implemented. However, this didn’t seem to be a major priority for the Canadian Parliament to inculcate this framework for the current government. Canada’s privacy framework does not reflect the actual reality of the digitized world, and it’s sad to hear that it is not even concerned about the need to protect the private information of Canadians from rapidly increasing cybercrimes and cyber threats in the world. Parliament does not seem to be listening to these concerns where the stakes are very high.

For the past one year, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been calling for a privacy framework to protect consumer privacy and support the company’s ability to innovate. Several provincial legislations have led to a patchwork of privacy rules which got rejected by the 200,000 strong chambers of commerce because they thought it would undermine the ability of businesses to address the privacy issues of consumers. Despite such evidence of rejection, a new patchwork that emerged was stalled on Bill C-11 throughout the year 2021. Bill 64 was adopted by Quebec, and Alberta and Ontario gave feedback regarding privacy consultations.
Thus, creating different privacy legislation without even overarching federal direction will create huge confusion for all Canadian businesses and customers. The government should reintroduce privacy reform legislation and set a single national standard for privacy protection. It will protect the consumers from the increasing digital threats; thus, they will feel secure. This is a priority thing for all Canadians, and it’s high time Parliament should make it a priority.

-Sharanya Chakraborty

Content Writer, WCSF

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