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Letter from Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian, sent the following letter to the Honourable David Collenette, Minister of Transport, supporting the position of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada on Bill C-55.

May 16, 2002

The Honourable David Collenette, PC, MP
Minister of Transport
Room 104, East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

Re: Bill C-55, Public Safety Act, 2002

I am writing to express my grave concerns regarding section 4.82 of Bill C-55, the proposed Public Safety Act. I also wish to support the views of my federal colleague, George Radwanski, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and request that section 4.82 of the bill be amended.

As currently worded, this section would empower the police to seize information from private sector businesses without prior judicial authorization, thereby placing the travelling public under unnecessary and unwarranted surveillance.

While not opposed to legitimate and justified measures required to enhance public safety and security, I do not think the need for this unprecedented power has yet been established. In addition, the proposed power for the RCMP to seize information regarding persons for whom certain warrants have been issued extends clearly beyond anti-terrorism activities and into ordinary law enforcement activities.

I urge you to reconsider the scope of section 4.82, and to amend it in the manner recommended by the federal Privacy Commissioner.

Sincerely yours,

Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D.

cc: George Radwanski, Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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