Public opinion survey

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Backgrounder

Findings of a 2007 poll commissioned by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Ottawa, October 17, 2007 – The Office of the Privacy Commissioner commissioned EKOS Research Associates to survey Canadians on a number of privacy issues.

Some of the key findings of the poll, conducted in March, are:

  • Privacy continues to mean very different things to Canadians, who increasingly think first of the protection of their personal information.
  • It is difficult to make broad-based assumptions for all Canadians about particular uses of personal information. What is acceptable to one Canadian may be entirely unacceptable to another.
  • Seven in ten Canadians feel they have less protection of their personal information than they did ten years ago.
  • Canadians continue to agree (60%) that health information is one of the most important types of personal information that needs protection through privacy laws.
  • Only a small proportion of Canadians believe the government (17%) and businesses (13%) take protecting personal information very seriously.
  • 77% of Canadians believe that government agencies and affected individuals should be notified if sensitive personal information is compromised as a result of a breach. 66% believe government agencies and affected individuals should be notified if non-sensitive information is compromised.
  • Four in five Canadians place great importance on having strong privacy laws. Despite this, more than half report they are not aware of any privacy laws currently in place.
  • Nevertheless, 69% believe that they are doing a very good or good job at protecting their own personal information.
  • While a large number of Canadians (65%) have memorized their Social Insurance Number, 46% continue to carry their SIN card with them.
  • Half of Canadians (48%) are unaware that warranty cards are not necessary to ensure a legal warranty. A significant proportion of Canadians (40%) are not aware that companies use warranty cards to collect personal information for marketing purposes.
  • 72% of Canadians believe unsolicited junk email (spam) is a significant problem.

The EKOS poll involved a 15-minute telephone survey with a random sample of 2,001 Canadians from March 13th to March 26th 2007. The poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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