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Interim Privacy Commissioner's 2002-2003 Annual Report tabled by Parliament

(Ottawa) September 17, 2003 - The Interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Robert Marleau, today made public the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's (OPC) 2002-2003 Annual Report, which was tabled by Parliament.

The Annual Report discusses the Office's activities under two federal privacy laws. The Privacy Act covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents (PIPED) Act, Canada's new private sector privacy law, began coming into effect in 2001. In 2004 it will extend to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in commercial activities across Canada except in provinces which have enacted legislation that is deemed to be substantially similar to the federal law. This Annual Report covers the period from April 1, 2002 to March 31, 2003 for the Privacy Act, and from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002 for the PIPED Act.

In the Foreword of the Report, Mr. Marleau expresses his expectation of a positive future for the OPC. Despite having undergone a period of intense public scrutiny and organizational disruption as a result of serious problems uncovered by the House of Commons Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and the audits by the Auditor General and the Public Service Commission which have followed, he feels the OPC will ultimately emerge with "a new enthusiasm for the cause of privacy and a centre of excellence for its protection and promotion."

The OPC's Annual Report highlights a number of challenges, as well as important advances achieved for privacy over the past year. It provides details of investigations and audits conducted by the OPC, which can serve as guidance and concrete examples for organizations that are required to comply with federal privacy laws. The Report also discusses the OPC's work with the government on Privacy Impact Assessments of projects, programs and services, and provides an update on federal privacy issues in the Courts.

A full copy of the OPC's 2002-2003 Annual Report to Parliament is available on-line at or by calling 1-800-282-1376.

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For more information, please contact:

Anne-Marie Hayden
Media Relations
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 995-0103

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