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Updated October 29, 2014

Privacy Commissioners formalize cooperation

Commissioners responsible for enforcing three private sector privacy laws in Canada have signed a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining how they will continue to work together on private sector privacy issues. The MOU also provides greater clarity on how they will share information in undertaking their duties.

The offices of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia recently formalized their approach to cooperation in a number of areas: enforcement; policy; public education and compliance resources; and information sharing.

There are circumstances where the Offices have concurrent or overlapping jurisdiction over organizations operating across Canada.

Businesses operating across Canada are looking for harmonization and clarity in their responsibilities to protect personal information. Canadians are looking for effective privacy protection across the country.

All three privacy commissioners are guardians of privacy and the protection of personal information rights of Canadians.  The federal Commissioner is statutorily mandated to oversee compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA, while the provincial Commissioners oversee the Personal Information Protection Acts in Alberta and British Columbia.

The plan to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding was set out in a broader OPC Statement of Intent on Collaboration with Provincial and Territorial Privacy Commissioners and Ombuds Offices on Public and Private Sector Matters, which was presented at a Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting in Victoria, B.C., in February 2008.

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