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Strategic approaches

Now some of you may find these goals to be ambitious. Indeed they are—

as are we

about what our Office will

be able to accomplish over the next few years. But we are also concrete and realistic. In order to have any

chance of succeeding and achieving real positive impact, I believe we will have to be highly strategic in our


First, to be clear, our objective is not to stop innovation, but in fact, to help enable its progress in a manner

which is responsible and respectful of people’s privacy. We are mindful that a thriving Canadian economy

must remain globally competitive and Canadians want to benefit from new products and services and efficient

government services. But so too are we mindful of the need to keep privacy costs down. In order to keep step

with innovation and to help shape and influence its direction through credible and helpful advice, the OPC too

has to be innovative. We ourselves need to stay at the cutting edge and think ahead to explore innovative

ways of protecting privacy—be they through creative concepts and ideas, or novel technological solutions.

Second, in order to successfully deliver on these four goals, and ultimately, our overarching vision of

enhancing Canadians’ control over their personal information, the OPC will have to take a broader approach to

promoting good privacy governance. While “individual control” may conjure up the concept of informed

consent—which is certainly a key part of it—we do not believe consent can solve it all. We have heard time

and again, that consent forms are sometimes used unfortunately as a means of waiving away rights and

protecting against liability, rather than achieving true individual agency. Or when it comes to government,

there is no possibility for consent at all. Yet, despite this, individuals can have—and feel—greater control over

their personal information, if they themselves play a more active role in protecting their own privacy wherever

possible, or if they can be confident in the overall accountability and governance measures organizations put

in place to protect their personal information.

Third, we are also fully aware that to succeed in achieving our four goals, we simply cannot do it alone. It may

be trite to say that personal data knows no boundaries in today’s global world. Particularly since the advent of

the Internet, personal data cannot be simply contained and regulated in bubbles. While most Canadians may

intuitively understand that personal information is permeable and may cross borders, our focus groups

revealed that not all Canadians fully appreciate just how far it may travel. As the courts have told us, our

Office’s job is to protect Canadians’ privacy, whether their personal information resides in Canada, or in some

cases, elsewhere in the world.

Exploring innovative and technological ways of protecting privacy

Strengthening accountability and promoting good privacy governance

Protecting Canadians’ privacy in a borderless world