Privacy Act Reform Recommendations

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Recommendation Number 1: Create a legislative “necessity test” which would require government institutions to demonstrate the need for the personal information they collect.

Recommendation Number 2: Broaden the grounds for which an application for Court review under section 41 of the Privacy Act may be made to include the full array of privacy rights and protections under the Privacy Act and give the Federal Court the power to award damages against offending institutions.

Recommendation Number 3: Enshrine a requirement for heads of government institutions subject to the Privacy Act to assess the privacy impact of programs or systems prior to their implementation and to publicly report assessment results.

Recommendation Number 4: Amend the Privacy Act to provide the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada with a clear public education mandate.

Recommendation Number 5: Provide greater discretion for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to report publicly on the privacy management practices of government institutions.

Recommendation Number 6: Provide discretion for the Privacy Commissioner to refuse and/or discontinue complaints the investigation of which would serve little or no useful purpose, and would not be in the public interest to pursue. 

Recommendation Number 7: Amend the Privacy Act to align it with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act by eliminating the restriction that the Privacy Act applies to recorded information only.

Recommendation Number 8: Strengthen the annual reporting requirements of government departments and agencies under section 72 of the Privacy Act, by requiring these institutions to report to Parliament on a broader spectrum of privacy-related activities.

Recommendation Number 9: Introduction of a provision requiring an ongoing five year Parliamentary review of the Privacy Act.

Recommendation Number 10: Strengthen the provisions governing the disclosure of personal information by the Canadian government to foreign states.

Recommendation Number 11: Introduce a provision for proper security safeguard requiring the protection of personal information.

Recommendation Number 12: Enshrine Treasury Board’s breach notification guidelines into legislation.

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