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Page Background

As part of our priority setting exercise,

the ever-broader authority and capacity of

government agencies to collect and share

Canadians’ personal information was raised

time-and-again during our engagement

with stakeholders and in focus groups with

individual Canadians. The concerns they

expressed, together with our own concerns,

assured that government surveillance would

be one of our four strategic priorities.


Certainly, no one would argue the need to

protect public safety, whether the threat

is terrorism or the risk that our children

will be subjected to online bullying and

harassment. Canadians want to be and feel

secure, but not at any and all costs to their

privacy. In short, they want both. It is worth

2 asp

noting that, in focus groups we conducted

in 2014, participants told us they were

generally comfortable with government

surveillance for protecting national security

and crime prevention. But, when asked

about surveillance being applied to their

communications, many did not like the idea

of being profiled without their knowledge

and were concerned about how surveillance

might infringe on basic rights and freedoms.

Several legislative initiatives drew the

attention of the Office over the course of

the past year. The Office, in turn, made

its concerns known to parliamentarians

through submissions and appearances before

committees of the House of Commons and

the Senate.

Before Parliament:

A focus on surveillance issues


s noted in the Commissioner’s Message, this past year saw considerable

developments in the area of government surveillance. The potential

impact of these changes on Canadians’ privacy is a matter of profound

importance to this Office.