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Message from the Commissioner

This is a very positive development. Once the

Arrangement is fully operational, organizations

will be able to conduct privacy investigations

with international implications through a

coordinated process, rather than duplicating

one another’s efforts in a series of investigations

at the national level. Findings and outcomes

of investigations could in many instances be

issued faster – leading to clearer and stronger

messages to organizations and the public.

Going forward, it is safe to say that whenever

an incident arises that has an international

impact, data protection authorities will be

looking to determine which partners they can

best work with, and how.

In short, this is the new normal.

This wider collaboration should make possible

the enforcement of privacy rights on a broader

scale than ever before. And this will provide

greater recourse to individuals who may be

concerned that they have no control over their

personal information in a borderless, digital

world.

PRIVACY’S RISING PROMINENCE

In many ways, within Canada and around

the world, privacy itself has never been in a

brighter spotlight. Data breaches by major

retailers attract widespread media attention.

The growing interplay among law enforcement

and national security organizations, and

commercial organizations holding consumer

data has aroused public curiosity. And the

increasing capacity to track and analyze

consumer behaviour—both while on-line

and on mobile devices—has led people to

wonder exactly who is collecting their personal

information, where it is going, how it is being

used and how they can exert greater control

over it.

This increased interest among consumers

translated partly into a significant rise in

enquiries and complaints to our Office under

PIPEDA in 2014.

MEETING CONCERNS AND MANAGING

GROWING DEMAND

While complaints under PIPEDA jumped by

50 percent between 2013 and 2014

1

, I am

pleased to note that the service we provide

to complainants is becoming more efficient.

Since 2012, the average time it takes to

investigate new complaints has been reduced

by 3.5 months.

This resulted from our Office adopting a

calibrated approach to managing complaints

and focusing our resources by choosing the

appropriate tool to address specific privacy

1 We accepted 402 PIPEDA complaints in 2014. When

discounting the 170 complaints received about Bell’s

Relevant Advertising program in 2013 which were treated as

one, new complaints increased 55 percent in 2014 compared

to 2013.

3