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Privacy Commissioner launches $200,000 contributions program

Ottawa, June 1, 2004 - The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, officially launched today a new $200,000 Contributions Program, which will support research into, as well as the promotion of, the protection of personal information.

"We are extremely pleased to announce a new privacy research program," said Ms. Stoddart. "We are confident it will further the development of a national privacy research capacity and help us to foster greater public awareness and understanding of privacy as a core Canadian value, essential to the well-being of our democracy and vital to the health of our civil society."

The Program will focus on two key priorities. The first is to examine how and to what extent emerging technologies affect our privacy. Video surveillance, radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs), location technology, biometrics and other technologies aimed at making our lives safer or more convenient need to be assessed for their potential to invade privacy and their impact on our society, as they continue to develop and expand. It is important for Canadians to understand the potential privacy encroachments of these new technologies and to be able to weigh these against the potential benefits they offer.

The second priority relates to the implementation of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada's new privacy law which covers the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities. New sectors of the economy became subject to the Act in January, raising new and challenging implementation issues. The Contributions Program will focus on awareness and promotion of good privacy practices as a key component of responsible commercial practices.

According to David Flaherty, a leading international privacy expert and member of the Office's External Advisory Committee, the Contributions Program is a positive step forward.

"I am delighted that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has taken this step in promoting research," said Dr. Flaherty.

The research Contributions Program was presented at the federal-provincial-territorial meeting of privacy and information commissioners and ombudsmen in late May in Victoria, BC, and received enthusiastic support from the privacy community in Canada.

Organizations eligible for funding under the Program include not-for-profit groups, including education institutions and industry and trade associations, as well as consumer, voluntary and advocacy organizations. The maximum amount that can be awarded for any single research project is $50,000 and organizations are only eligible to receive funding for one project. The deadline for applications is August 16, 2004 and projects must be completed within the 2004-2005 fiscal year. An Applicant's Guide is available on the Privacy Commissioner's Web site at

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Media contact:

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

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