Consultation on consent under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

Improving the current consent model under Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is part of our work on the Economics of Personal Information, which was identified as one of the Office’s four strategic privacy priorities.

In May 2016, we launched a consultation on the issue of consent under PIPEDA. The goal of the consultation was to identify improvements to the current consent model and bring clearer definition to the roles and responsibilities of the various players who could implement them.

On September 21, 2017, we published our Report on Consent in our 2016-17 Annual Report to Parliament. The report outlines recommendations to address consent challenges posed by the digital age and indicates actions we will take.

What we are doing now

In our Report on Consent, we committed to updating key guidance on online consent and developing new guidance that would specify areas where collection, use and disclosure of personal information is prohibited, for example, situations that are known or likely to cause significant harm to the individual.

In the fall of 2017 we solicited feedback on these two draft guidance documents:

The feedback period is now closed. We are currently reviewing the feedback received.

During the consent consultation, we heard again and again that privacy education is critically important. In our consultation report, we urged provincial and territorial governments to integrate privacy education in school curricula in order to ensure that the next generation of Canadians is well informed of their privacy rights. We, along with our provincial and territorial counterparts, have since followed up with a letter to the Council of Ministers of Education.

Background on our consultation on consent initiative

Where we started

In May 2016, we published a discussion paper and asked interested parties for their comments.

What we heard

We received 51 written submissions in response to the paper, with roughly half coming from businesses or associations representing businesses. We also held five stakeholder roundtables across the country and solicited the views of individual Canadians through focus groups held in four Canadian cities.

Our results and recommendations

On September 21, 2017, we published the results of our consultation in our 2016-17 Annual Report to Parliament. The report outlines actions and recommendations to address consent challenges posed by the digital age.

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